Hopedale History
    September 15, 2006
    No. 68
    Boarding Houses

    Day in the Park – September 23.

    Milford News article on the report of the Draper Reuse Committee.

    Back on July 15, I mentioned that there was a request for a variance to demolish the house at 11
    Hopedale Street and build a larger home. The zoning board gave its approval to the application. There
    will be a ZBA hearing on October 18 concerning a request for a variance to enlarge the house at 146
    Dutcher and make it into a two family home.

    The Friends of Music will be collecting bottles cans and cell phones at the parking lot across from the
    post office on Saturday, September 16, from eight to two.

    Deaths: George Daniels, 71, September 4, Milford.
    Stephen J. Denaro, 41, September 6.
    Jeanette E. “Betty” (Andrews) Auch, 80, September 7, Sioux Falls, SD. HHS 1944.
    Norman Taylor, 90, Norfolk. HHS 1934.

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    Below is a somewhat condensed version of an article on Hopedale’s boarding houses. Click here for
    the longer version, with pictures.

                                                     Boarding Houses

    Up through at least the 1930s a single working person almost never lived in a house by themselves.
    The work hours were long, and without modern conveniences the jobs of grocery shopping, clothes
    washing, cooking, cleaning, etc. took too much time for a working person to manage. Consequently
    many people were boarders.

    There were four boarding houses in Hopedale: The Brae Burn Inn at the corner of Adin and Hopedale
    streets, the Hopedale House on Dutcher street, across from the fire station, the Park House, on the
    corner of Dutcher and Freedom streets, and an unnamed boarding house across Hopedale Street
    from the Little Red Shop. In addition to these, a look through town directories of the 1920s and 1930s
    shows that almost anyone who could spare a room would take in a boarder or two. The 1927 town
    directory lists 629 people as boarders, in addition to those who lived in the boarding houses. Many of
    that number were adult children, still living with their parents, but many others were not family
    members.

    The Brae Burn, built in 1856, was originally the home of Ebenezer and Anna Draper. For information
    on it in its boarding house days, I spoke to Robert “Zeke” Hammond. The inn was operated for many
    years by Zeke’s in-laws, the Carrons, and their daughter and Zeke’s late wife, Hilda. Mrs. Carron was
    an invalid for many years so Hilda assisted her father with the many chores of running the place. The
    boarders were served twenty meals a week. They were on their own for supper on Sunday nights.

    Zeke recalls that there were three boarders living on the top floor and five on the second. The Carrons
    lived on the second floor also. Across Hopedale Street from the inn, was the Brae Burn Annex. Draper
    Corporation reserved a suite on the first floor for visitors to the company. About seven boarders lived
    on the second floor. They’d go across the street to the inn for their meals. The Annex was eventually
    demolished and the post office, formerly in the town hall, is now on the site where it stood.

    In 1956, nine men were listed as living at the Brae Burn. Five of them were retired and ranged in age
    from 72 to 86. In 1957, the last year it was operating, eight of them were still there. Leon Hammond
    had moved in with Zeke and Hilda by then.

    In December 1957, when the Brae Burn was about to be demolished, the Milford News printed a
    picture of it with the following caption: “Hopedale’s Brae Burn Inn pictured in its heyday. Built in 1856 by
    Ebenezer D. Draper, this Hopedale landmark is headed for oblivion.”        

    An ad in the 1918 Milford-Hopedale Directory tells the following:

    Hopedale House
    Wm. H. Cox, manager
    Permanent and transient
    Nicely furnished rooms
    with steam heat
    Public telephone pay station
    37 – 41 Dutcher

    There were thirty-nine boarders at the Hopedale House in 1920, according to the town directory for that
    year, but by 1929 there were just twelve. (Men only were on the poll tax list through 1920. After women
    won the right to vote, they were included in the book; six women were living at the Hopedale House in
    1922 according to the poll tax book.) I don’t know if it was the Depression, or other factors were
    involved, but by 1930, it appears that there were only two men living there.

    The Park House, built in 1887, was an impressive looking place, but so far, about all I’ve found out
    about it is that seventeen men were living there in 1920, but none by 1927. The lot where it stood was
    vacant for many years.

    I didn’t know about the house on the northeast corner of Freedom and Hopedale streets until Tootsie
    Deletti mentioned it to me a while ago. She remembers that it was operated by Anna Alger. Anna’s
    husband was a fireman. The Algers lived on the first floor, there were about four to six boarders living
    on the second floor, and an English couple and their two daughters on the third floor. The house was
    rented from the Draper Corporation. During a storm with high winds, the house shook so much that
    the Algers reported the problem to someone at Drapers. When the house was inspected, it was
    discovered that the frame had been assembled with pegs and they felt that it was unsafe. All the
    residents had to move (the Algers went to Mill Street) and the building was taken down.

    Firemen often lived at the fire station during the years when others resided in boarding houses. In
    1920, J. Creamer, M. Doxie, Fred Lee and A. Reynolds lived at the Hose House. I believe that would
    have been the long-gone station on Hopedale Street, across from Adin Ballou Park. The Dutcher
    Street station was built in 1916, and in 1930 John Allen, Paul Cox, Alfred Lamb, Fred Lee, Harold Ward
    and Charles Watson recorded it as their place of residence.

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