November 1, 2005
Chenot Associates has been selected to draw up the architectural plans for the work on the Little
The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor recently promoted a program called
Footsteps in History, in which historical sites in the valley were encouraged to open during the
Columbus Day weekend. We opened the Little Red Shop on each of the three days, and, because of
the publicity for the event, we had more people from outside of Hopedale than any other time in the
past. We had visitors from Uxbridge, Milford, Grafton, Westboro, Millbury, Upton, Douglas and
Weymouth. One couple made a $20 donation to the Red Shop fund.
Tom McGovern has done a great job of putting together a DVD of the My Kind of Town show. In
addition to the show itself, it includes scenes from around town, pictures from the pizza party and the
trip to New York. Tom had hoped to make the DVD available to an organization in town that could
have sold it as a fundraiser, but due to restrictions from ABC this couldn’t be done. Our thanks go to
Tom, not only for the work he did putting the DVD together, but also for suggesting a donation to the
Red Shop fund.
If you live out of the area and are interested in getting a copy of the DVD, email me (danm41@verizon.
net) and I’ll arrange for you to get it.
Thanks go to Christine Packard of Hope Street for her donation of two very old items from the Grafton
& Upton Railroad. One was a book of check stubs and the other was a book containing financial
Thanks also to Sara Sartori of South Main Street (and of the library) for the donation of a table loom. It
looks like new and we expect to put it to good use when the shop reopens.
Thanks to Phil Roberts, formerly of Bancroft Park, now of Maryland, for a 1966 newspaper article titled
“Adin Ballou’s Magnificent Failure.”
The latest demolition victims in Hopedale were the Hopedale Coal & Ice building and the barn at the
former Henry farm on Dutcher Street.
In his History of Milford, published in 1881, Adin Ballou wrote of industry in the little village on the west
side of town, Hopedale. Here’s what he had to say.
We come finally to the manufacture of cotton and woolen machinery at Hopedale. This bright and
beautiful village is situated a mile and a half westerly from the town center on Mill River, toward the
frontier of Mendon. In its whole length and breadth it must have nearly one hundred dwelling-houses
and six hundred inhabitants. It was founded in 1842 by the Hopedale Community, grew thriftily till that
Community relinquished its unitary arrangements in 1856, and still more thriftily from that time to the
present. From the beginning, its leading people have distinguished themselves more and more by
mechanical genius and manufacturing enterprise. Here are four strong firms operating, besides their
minor subsidiaries, - all more or less connected in their pecuniary interests and co-operating in their
industrial results. These firms are: (1) George Draper & Sons, whose special province includes a
host of valuable improvements in cotton and woolen machinery, such as temples, Sawyer spindles,
Draper’s filling spinner, double spinning-rings, steps and bolsters, patent motions for looms,
Thompson oil-cans, shuttle guides, etc. (2) The Hopedale Machine Company, manufacturers of
improvements in cotton machinery, special machinists’ tools, patent warpers, spoolers with patent
steps and bolsters, etc.; George Draper, president; William F. Draper, Treasurer; Joseph B. Bancroft,
superintendent. (3) Dutcher Temple Company, sole manufacturer of Dutcher’s patent temples,
Kayser’s patent temples, Murkland’s carpet temples, etc.; George Draper, president; F.J. Dutcher,
treasurer and secretary; W.W. Dutcher, agent. (4) The Hopedale Furnace Company, whose business
is to manufacturer and furnish to order iron castings of all descriptions.
The Hopedale Machine Company occupies the most northerly of the water-privileges, and has a
principal shop 220 feet in length by 66 feet in width, and three stories in height. Its machinery is
driven by a motor-force derived from a Leffel turbine wheel, and when scarcity of water requires it, by
a steam-engine of 50 horse-power. The next privilege below is occupied by the Dutcher Temple Co.
and its adjuncts, with ample buildings, water and steam power, and many ingenious contrivances
(some of them wonderfully constructed) to facilitate the operations. The foundry, with all its
appurtenances, stands closely adjacent on the west side of the canal, and the ring-shop only a few
feet south of the temple-shop. Nearly a mile further south is another valuable privilege, with a
capacious shop chiefly devoted to the elaboration of the famous Sawyer spindle, owned by Dea. A.A.
Westcott, and managed in connection with the interests of Geo. Draper & Sons. The dams, ponds,
canals, anti-fire apparatus, offices, supplementary shops, outbuildings, and manifold conveniences
up and down the river, can be appreciated only by judicious observers.
A vast majority of the cotton-mills in the United States, and many woolen-mills, have adopted these
Hopedale improvements to a greater of less extent; and their proprietors are reaping therefrom a rich
harvest of profits. Foremost among them are the temples, Sawyer spindle, the Rabbeth spindle, and
the adjustable spinning-rings, - three notable patents. The temples are in universal use in the United
States, Mexico, South America, and to a considerable extent in Europe. Leading manufacturers have
demonstrated to their satisfaction that the spindle yields an enormous saving in power, labor, cost,
etc. The number of these spindles already introduced and in use is over 1,200,000. The rings, too,
have proved a great success. The number of these furnished and in satisfactory use exceeds
1,500,000. But the multitude of less conspicuous articles sent forth from these Hopedale
laboratories are distributed far and wide over the country, and roll up a formidable aggregate of
mechanical production, usefulness, and wealth. In good times all these establishments together
employ nearly 350 hands, meet a monthly payroll of $12,000, and make aggregate sales to the
amount of more than $500,000 per annum. The different kinds of machines and appliances
manufactured here, with and without patent securities, must number at least 100. Since the
foregoing was penned, these Hopedale manufacturers have vastly increased with improvements
made by new inventions, large structures erected, and a continual expansion of operations. Adin
Ballou, History of Milford, pp. 365 – 367.
Note that there’s no mention of looms. Up until the sale of its first Northrop loom in 1894, the
companies in Hopedale made parts for spinning machinery and parts for looms, but not complete
looms. The introduction of the Northrop resulted in a dramatic growth of the Draper Company through
the 1890s and early twentieth century.
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