Hopedale History
    August 1, 2006
    No. 65
    Attack Goat of Freedom Street

    Tom McGovern has a container for donations for the Little Red Shop at his place of business, TWM
    Systems (computer sales and service) on Elm Street. He just sent us another $24.25. Thanks Tom
    and donors. We hope to have more information about the restoration project soon.

    Here’s something I’ve been wondering about lately. Maybe one or more of you can satisfy my curiosity.
    It’s about an article I ran across while going through scrapbooks at the Bancroft Library for the Billings
    story. “December 7, 1944 – T-Sgt Charles Clarence Stewart, 23, turret gunner and engineer, foster son
    of Mr. and Mrs. Louis J. McVitty, 50 Greene Street, has officially been reported killed in action, Sept. 14,
    by the War Department and his parents were so notified this morning. A telegram, listing him as
    missing over Germany, was received Sept. 27 and today’s news confirmed his foster parent’s worst
    fears.” That, in part, was the Milford News article on the matter. So…why isn’t his name on the war
    memorial at Hopedale Village Cemetery?

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    A while ago I mentioned that Don McGrath had written a history of the early days of Sacred Heart
    Church, which I put on the Hopedale history website. A little later, I asked if he could write some
    memories of his neighborhood years ago. I grew up about a hundred yards from Don’s house, but his
    memories go back a bit more than mine. Actually, his parents were the first people to live in the house
    at the intersection of Northrop and Freedom. A week or so later, he sent me the following story of the
    area, and also a couple of paragraphs about old-time horse-drawn milk wagons.  (Don’t blame Don for
    the title; that was my idea.)

                                        Attack Goat and Other Stories
                                   From the Five-Corner Neighborhood

    Until 1923, there weren’t any buildings where the former Sneiderman house is now, or where my son
    lives now. [21 Freedom – Sneiderman; 25 Freedom – Eddie McGrath] There was a house about right
    across from where Judy Oldfield lives now [28 Freedom Street]. It set facing the street about the same
    as the small house that is there now. At that time there was some kind of farm building that set kind of
    sideways, just about opposite the end of Oak Street. In those days Oak Street ended at Northrop Street;
    it didn’t go through Northrop to Freedom. After they ran Oak over to Freedom, we always called that “the
    new road.”

    The older house on Freedom Street was occupied by Walter Durgin and his family. I’m not sure just
    what Walter Durgin did; he may have had something to do with being a caretaker for one of the Draper
    estates; he was also a constable or part-time police officer. [The 1927 town directory lists him as being
    a gardener for Clare Draper] They moved to South Hopedale [105 Greene Street] and the youngest boy,
    Lawrence, was in school about the same time we were. When we [Don and his twin brother, Dan] were
    about three or four years old, the Durgins had a billy goat which we were very scared of. He’d chase us
    up onto the porch and then pin us up against the wall of the house with his horns. Our mother would
    hear us hollering for help and would come out and drive him back across the street. She wasn’t afraid
    of him.

    The Sneidermans acquired the land at the corner [of Freedom and Williams] and I can remember
    seeing the house jacked up on some kind of logs, about half way to where it sits now. I guess they
    also moved the farm building right up front next to the corner, to be the store. At first (I’ve see pictures of
    a larger barn, and I can see the foundation still today) it was managed by the oldest Sneiderman son,
    Nathan; the one they called “Snookie.” They sold bottled cold soda, bread, Drake’s cakes, Bushway ice
    cream and other foodstuffs. It was supposed to be a handy neighborhood store, and perhaps they
    visualized it as cutting into the Patrick’s Store trade in downtown Hopedale. I guess the chain grocery
    stores in Milford weren’t good for any Hopedale grocery store. I think Nathan had an old Model T
    delivery truck for a while. Before they came to Hopedale, I think the Sneidermans lived on West Pine
    Street in Milford. He was already in the rag and junk business and continued it in Hopedale, having a
    little junkyard behind the house.

    Sneiderman kept a horse and wagon behind the house somewhere for several years, and did quite
    well in the junk business, especially at the Hopedale dump during World War II. Later on, the crippled
    son, “Kivy,” took care of the store. At one time the back room was used for a taxi stand office.

    In about 1930, there were still about five milk wagons around Hopedale and Milford; Maple Farm and
    Walter Beal from Mendon, Dan Glennon, and Frank Rummo from Highland Street, Milford, and Tim
    Cronan from Eben Street, off Purchase Street in Milford. Dan Glennon seemed to wear out all the old
    milk wagons, and one he had was marked “Willowbrook Dairy, Geo. L. Taft, Mendon.” That was the
    forerunner of Lowell’s Dairy, and they plan to name the restaurant when they reopen it on Routh 16,
    “Willowbrook.”

    Dan Glennon had a few customers on Inman Street and Soward Street; mostly Irish Catholic, I think.
    The 1938 hurricane blew down his barn; his best horse ate too much grain and died; he didn’t peddle
    much longer after that; maybe a few months or a year. Walter Beal was the last horse and wagon man
    in the area. He delivered milk in Hopedale and part of Miford from 1907 to 1947.  Don McGrath, June
    2006.

                                             
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