September 1, 2006
What does the Draper plant look like these days? Here are five pictures taken this month.
Looms at work. Two pictures of large numbers of Draper looms in two mills. One was taken in 1916
and the other in 1917.
The Hopedale Avenger. What was it? See it here.
While looking through the Milford News clippings at the Bancroft Library last week, I came across a
story from 1944. It said that 10% of Hopedale’s population was in the service. 319 out of about 3,000.
Ten percent now would be about 600. Amazing.
Recent deaths: Judith Ruta, 63, Orlando, daughter of Lyman and Virginia Draper. Carol Bray, 78.
Candace Ahern, 57, Milford, daughter of Edward and Elinor Condon. Dr. William Billings, 88, Edina,
Minnesota. Matthew Fino, Sr., 86, Uxbridge.
If you’d like more details on any of these people, email me and I’ll send you what I have. Actually, last
time I heard from three people who were looking for more on Jack Haringa.
One of the many things Betty Butcher does for the Hopedale High Alumni Association is to keep track
of the deaths of association members. I had occasion to drop in on her recently, and while I was there
she gave me copies of her lists for the past ten years. Here they are.
The annual Draper field day was a big event in Hopedale for many years. The first one was in 1901,
shortly after the town park had been established. I haven’t yet found out when the last field day was
held, but it seems that it was probably in the thirties. They were revived in 1975 and 1976 as part of the
bicentennial celebration. Some of the events at that time were the same as they were decades earlier,
but evidently ladies’ button sewing and clothes hanging had fallen out of favor by then.
The program for the Thirty-first Annual Draper Corporation Employees Field Day lists seventy-one
entrants inside the front cover. Several of the names would still be familiar to some of you. Among
many others, the list includes Alfred Alves, Joe Bianchi, Irvine Broome, W.F. Burrill, A. Dalio, Earl
Draper, C.L. Kayberry, Frederick Lescoe, Doris Lutz, Millard Lovejoy, Helen Moore, Raymond Midgley,
Lawrence Peavey, C. Snodgrass, Gus Safstrom, Janet Sadler, Russell Tiffany, F. Volpicelli and R.
Under the heading, Refreshments At Cost, was the following information: Ice Cream cones 5c; coffee
5c; hot frankfurter with roll and mustard 5c; Ham Sandwich 5c; Soft Drinks 5c. Ice Cream cones and
Cracker Jacks will be distributed gratis to children from five to ten years of age by special ticket. Please
return empty bottles to booth.
The Evening Program will take place on Saturday, after the sports.
There will be a Doll Carriage parade for Girls, Float, Express-wagon and Horribles for Boys and Girls,
and a Character and Costume parade which is open to all regardless of age. Residents, those
employed in Hopedale, and the families of those employed in Hopedale are invited to enter.
The Parade, headed by the Hopedale Drum and Bugle Corps and the Boy Scouts, will start at 6:45
from the Union Church Grounds, and finish at the Town Park, where the prizes will be awarded. There
will be special features following the parade.
Hopedale Community House, Inc. has very kindly offered to furnish a moving picture, Buster Keaton in
“The General” to be shown on an out-door screen at the Town Park.
Prizes for Baseball
The first player on either team to make a home run will be awarded a special prize of $5.00. Also, the
player making the longest hit will receive $5.00. (The winner of the home run prize cannot receive the
prize for the longest hit.)
A Merchandise Certificate for $5.00 will be given by the Committee to any contestant who breaks any of
the previous records made at any of the Draper Corporation Field Days
The notice above was followed by a list of the record for twelve events. The records were kept for men
only. The oldest record that had survived up to 1931 was held by F.B. Sweet for the shot put in 1906; 41
feet, 5 inches. Fred Phipps held the records for the quarter mile run (57 1/5 seconds), the half mile run
(2 min, 12 3/5 sec), the mile (5 min), and the three mile run (18 min 36 4/5 sec). C.E. Barrows held the
pole vault record at 9 feet, 2 inches, and W.M. Mitchell, the high jump at 5 feet 7 inches. J. Halloran was
the record holder for the running broad jump at 19 feet 6 inches.
The "Order of Events" pages list twenty-five contests beginning with the 100 yard dash for boys under
15, quoits, and men's singles tennis finals at nine, and ending with a ball game (base ball as they
wrote it at that time) between Hopedale and Whitinsville that started at three. Other events during the
day included a potato race for girls, dashes and runs of various distances, ladies' singles tennis, tug-of-
war (prize - box of cigars), swimming races and diving contests, a kindergarten race and life saving
contests. Boat and canoe races were held in the earlier years but there is no mention of them in the
1931 program. I haven't seen programs for all the years, but of those I've seen, there is no mention of
canoe races after 1914.
The 1913 event had a swimming race, a boat race, a man overboard canoe race, a tail end canoe race
and a double paddle canoe race. In 1914, and for some years after, there was a tub race.
It appears that the first bicycle race was held in 1918.
The program for the 1919 field day lists the donors of sixty-six prizes. Most of them were cash. The
others included pictures, a year's subscription to the Milford Gazette, tennis shoes, cigars, five pounds
of coffee, fountain pen, base ball glove, gold piece, Gillette safety razor, box of candy, Jonteel toilet
combination, one cord shop wood, one years subscription to the Milford Daily News, and an umbrella.
The 1919 program also notes that contestants in the shoe race were to wear high laced shoes. The
year's events also included a spoon and potato race for girls, a three legged race, a relay race between
the town and the shop fire departments, a relay race between several Draper departments, and a rifle
shoot. There were also a number of baseball related events, including throwing for distance, throwing
for accuracy, bunting and running, fungo hitting for distance, base running for time, ladies throwing ball
for distance. The ball game that year featured a team of married men against a team of single men.
In addition to the usual races, the 1922 field day included a walking race, a stilt race for boys under 15,
and a push ball contest. This seems to have involved a ball with a diameter of about five feet being
pushed by teams of five. There was also a pipe and tobacco race, a sack race for girls, a ladies' clothes
hanging contest, a tug of war, hose coupling, an infants' race (under five), a boys' pie eating contest and
a ladies' button-sewing event. The ball game that year saw the shipping department playing the main
Field day pictures (Nineteen photos on four pages, going back to the first field day in 1901.)
Field Day, 1929 Hopedale Field Days on YouTube
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