Historic Harrison Block In Hopedale
Has Many Firsts
HOPEDALE - Harrison Block at 60 Hopedale Street, now owned by George A. Mongiat, proprietor of
the Hopedale Pharmacy, one of the oldest business blocks in town, was erected more than 70 years
ago by the late Gen. William F. Draper and named in honor of President Benjamin Harrison, 23rd
president of the United States.
The property was owned by Draper Corporation many years and was rented by many and various
types of businesses. The first drug store was located there under the ownership of Lucius A.
Lamson, who came here from Milford where he conducted the drug store, later owned by Charles
Collins, at Exchange and Main streets, now the site of the Soda Shop. Another first tenant on the
street floor was Almon Andrew, who conducted a men's furnishing store, later owned by William L
Beals, who also sold women's shoes. At the rear of the store, his father, the late William P. Beals, had
a cobbling shop.
The first watch and clock repair shop and jewelry store in town was situated on the second floor,
under the management of Frank H. French. Later this room was leased as a barber shop, and was
conducted by Harry Nichols, only barber in town at that time. On the second floor there was a tailor
shop and a hall, where the Maspenock Social Club met for card and billiard games. The hall was also
used for rehearsals by various musicians, among them being the late Joseph Marsh, violinist, and
Elmo Simpson, drummer and pianist. George Draper Lodge, Knights of Pythias, met in the third floor
halls, as did the Pythian Sisters. Later the Mr. and Mrs. Club held bi-monthly dances there.
The Lamson Drug Store was purchased by Josiah J. Gibbs and still later by Milton Bishop, druggist,
who sold to the present owner, Mr. Mongiat.
The first bowling alley in town was erected at the rear of the block many years ago by James
Quimby, who also served lunches at the site.
Tenants of the block now have garages where the alley once stood. These were erected when two
of the top floors were converted into modern apartments. The building has many firsts in its long
history, such as first drug, shoe, jewelry, barber shop, tailor shop, men's furnishing store and
cobblers shop in town, as well as the first apartment block. There are six tenants situated on the
second and third floors. Milford Daily News, February 17, 1960
The Harrison Block, 1984
Buildings Menu HOME
asked about the names of the men in the picture. Nothing happened until Renee Ruggiero Oliviera
brought the matter up again in December. Renee, Shari Deiana (with help from her mother, who worked
at the drug store lunch counter for 20 years), and Fred Oldfied contributed and came up with the
following names: left to right - Duino Ruscitti, Vascen Boggigian, Stenson Hattersley (Fred's grandfather)
and Elmer "Snap" Bradley. Bill thinks the car belonged to Tyke Small.
The paragraph above is from the National Register Nomination.
Stella Williams - For many years one of the best known people in town. Now
if someone can send me a picture of George Mongiat I'll add him here.
In 1991, the Hopedale Pharmacy
moved from the Harrison Block to
Route 16. See article below.
Hopedale Landmark Restored
By Virginia Cy
The Harrison building, more well-known to long-time residents as the "drug store," has taken on a look
which makes passersby stop and study its beauty. The building, constructed in 1889, is sporting a green
and off-red striped awning covering the entranceways to the two businesses located on the first of its three
Above the awning, the familiar Coca-Cola sign is gone and two wooden hand-carved signs indicate the
location of the Hopedale Pharmacy and Anniballi's, a restaurant which took occupancy on one side of the
building. The cream colored trim on the brick building has been replaced with green trim. The brick, covered
with dirt from its years of existence, has been washed at a cost in excess of $10,000. The second and third
floors of the building, which consist of eight apartments has also undergone extensive work.
Last March, Pat and Thomas Chiacchia, former Natick residents, became the owners of the building. The
pair saw its potential and began working of the property with a goal of embellishing its attributes. Working
toward this goal, they removed boards which had been installed in the late 1940s to cover the elegant arch
windows featured in the apartments. The windows, which front Hopedale Street, now gleam in the sun's rays
and add to the original beauty.
The apartments were always fascinating to visitors because of their Murphy beds. Many a curious child
asked, "Where is the bed?" and were answered with a fascinating demonstration. The bed, tucked inside
what appears to be a closet door, comes out with a slight tug when the door is opened. Just as quickly, it
can be hidden away when visitors ring the door bell. Practical in their day, and practical in this day of a
The Murphy beds were taken out some ten years ago and stored outside the building where they rusted. The
Chiacchia brothers realized their value and went to work with wire brushes and steel wool, returning them to
their original condition. The brothers noted that the quality of the metal from which they had been
manufactured was high which made restoration and re-installation possible.
Oak flooring was refinished to bring out its beauty, and ceiling fans, a feature of the studio apartments, were
also reinstalled during the renovation. Metal ceilings were redone, giving the building another touch of
antiquity. Pat Chiacchia, a financial analyst by profession, has spent recent years developing real estate in
Connecticut. Cosmetic remodeling and restoration has caught his interest and has become a hobby with
Pat, who is now a resident of the Harrison Building, spoke at length about some of the work he and his
brother did and of their research. Pat stated, when discussing the choice of trim, "In our research, we found
that when rose-colored mortar was used in brick construction, green trim was required. The paint used on
the trim is a match of the original paint."
Telling about the awning, Pat noted, "A tall building needs an awning to make it more eye-appealing. The full-
length awning features a rigid frame and it is pitched at such an angle that snow will be not problem and will
not cause it to rip."
Pat was strong in praise of Milford Savings Bank officials who displayed an abundance of interest and
cooperation in helping the new owners restore the building. In fact, Pat and his brother, who had only
passed through the area until they purchased the Harrison Block, have become advocates of the Hopedale
and Mendon sections. Thomas Chiacchia moved here from Natick, purchasing a home on Taft Avenue in
The brothers purchased the building from George Mongiat, owner of Hopedale Pharmacy. Mongiat opened
the pharmacy in 1947 and purchased the building in the 1960s. Long-time residents remember that Josiah
Gibbs operated a drug store in the building before Hopedale Pharmacy came into existence. One resident
spoke of a shoe repair shop having been located there at one time, also.
The restored and refurnished apartments are fully occupied and according to Chicchia there is a long list of
people waiting for vacancies to occur.
The building, thanks to the interest in restoration which the brothers have, is properly attired and waiting for
the celebration of the town's 100th birthday which will be observed in 1986. Milford Daily News, 1984.
Thanks to John Butcher for this article.