Hopedale History
    December 1, 2006
    No. 73
    The Harrison Block

    I just added another Lilliputian wedding story to the Hopedale history website. If you lived in Hopedale
    in the forties or fifties, you’ll see lots of familiar names in this article.

    Since posting the story of Wilfrid Midgley, the Midgley brother who spent most of World War II in a
    Japanese POW camp, on the website, I have heard from his granddaughter, Margaret Swanson. She
    sent me a picture of him, and a “cartoon” drawn of him during his POW days. See them here.  

    South Hopedale Cemetery vandalism update.

    The Unitarian Church

    The Driftway

    Doors of Hopedale, a poster created by Laura Williams, is available at the Community House and
    also by mail. Click here to see it and for more information.

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    Every now and then, when I’m in the center of Hopedale, I look up at the building that now houses a
    hairdressing place and a pizza restaurant (although those of you who haven’t been here in a long time
    will remember it as the drug store) and notice the words, “Harrison Block” on a stone just below the
    roof. I assumed that it must have been built by a man named Harrison, but learned otherwise when I
    read the article below.

                       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.

                                        
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