March 1, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 79
Hopedale Community Historical Society

Thanks to Bill Creasia of Hope Street for the donation of a 1911 baseball (or base ball as they wrote it then) poster advertising a game between the Draper team and Whitinsville at the town park. Tickets, 25 cents. Ladies, 10 cents.  
See it here. Thanks also to Richard and Patty Callery of Dutcher Street for the donation of Extra! The War Years, a book containing copies of Milford News stories from 1939 to 1945. These items will be kept at the Little Red Shop once the restoration job there has been completed. Ads have been published for bids on the project during the past week.  I’ll keep you updated on future developments.

Pictures from the Historical Commission’s annual
Hopedale Pond skating party. We had a little snow Sunday night and Monday morning (Feb. 25 – 26). If those of you in Florida and other warm places would like to see a few pictures of the center of Hopedale on Monday, click here

During and after the Crystal Ball, Tom McGovern was asked by quite a number of people if they could get a copy of the DVD he had made that was shown that night. It included both the Red Shop fund-raiser promotional program and several hundred old Hopedale pictures. He now has it ready, even bigger and better than it was at the ball. It has a musical background, some of it by the Fantasy Big Band, and pictures taken during the ball. If you were there, you’re probably on it. There are also pictures taken around the pond and Parklands and other parts of Hopedale in the last couple of years. The DVDs are $20 and can be purchased at the Bancroft Library or at Tom’s place of business, TWM Systems on Elm Street in Hopedale. (phone 508 478 6010)


As far as I know, Historical Commissions exist in all towns and cities in Massachusetts, but not all have historic societies. Hopedale had one, the Hopedale Community Historic Society, founded in 1957; it lasted until about ten years ago. The newspaper clippings of the fifties and sixties in the Bancroft Library indicate that for some years it must have been one of the most active organizations in town. Here is a condensed version of one of the Milford News articles.

   Mortimer Dennett Is Elected
                                 President of New Association

HOPEDALE – After several weeks of inquiry and preparation by a small local group interested in the historical aspects of the community, the Hopedale Community Historical Society was formed this week.

The response to a public invitation was enough to warrant the formation of the association, a group of 20 originators stated.

An election was held, and the following officers were seated; president, Mortimer C. Dennett; vice president, Mary M. Foster; secretary, Constance L. Clark; treasurer, Winfield S. Lapworth, and directors, Frances J. McQueen, Marjorie E. Henry and Gordon L. Norton.

Mrs. Bates, president of the Hopkinton society, and Mrs. Strong, a past president and one of the founders, were present, and they contributed much valuable advice and assistance in getting this venture started. The Hopkinton society, they said, started with eight members, and in only six years has how a paid membership of over two hundred.

Arrangements have been completed for affiliating the Society with Hopedale Community House, Inc., which assures not only the very best in facilities for meetings and social affairs, but puts under it the solid foundation of an established institution. A dual membership will be required; one in the Community House, and one in the society. The adult fee is one dollar for each membership. Provision has been made so that non-residents may participate in the historical society membership. Persons now having membership in the Community House need only to pay the society dues.

Another matter of great interest is the offer by Draper Corporation of a portion of the old Red Shop for some proper use in the Society’s activities as they may develop in the future. This is one of the few remaining original buildings in Hopedale, and its ancient atmosphere is a most appropriate setting for such exhibits as can be safely kept there, as well as being a point of interest for visitors.

The first meeting of the Hopedale Community Historical Society is to be held in the Community House on Monday evening, April 22, at 7:30 o’clock. After disposing of business, two short papers will be presented, one by Miss Lucy Day on the subject of The Underground Railroad, which was one of the escape routes to Canada for fugitive slaves a century ago and had a station in Hopedale, and another by Charles Merrill on The Four Hopedales in America.

Discussion will follow, and tape recordings will be made for later transcription. Light refreshments will be served after the meeting during and informal social half-hour.

By presentation of papers, and especially by the discussion that follows them, many valuable facts will be brought to light and enrich knowledge of the reservoir of information that will some day be helpful to future students of local history.
Milford Daily News, March 9, 1957Click here to read the complete article above (instead of the “digest” version given here, and two more news stories on the society. Those of you who were living in Hopedale in the fifties and after will see many familiar names.


Gone. They’re all gone. The street signs. The original street signs, that is. I’ve heard that because the Drapers thought they gave a cluttered appearance to the town, no street signs existed in Hopedale until the post office insisted on them. The signs that were put up were almost certainly cast in the foundry, made to last for centuries. Evidently the reason for their replacement is that state regulations on street signs weren’t met by the old ones in Hopedale. Knowing that there were only a few left, I took pictures on the one at the corner of Draper and Hopedale streets a couple of months ago. Last week when I went out to take a photo at the intersection of Hope and Cemetery, and another at the southern end of Bancroft Park, I found that the originals that I had seen there not long ago had been replaced. Back to Draper and Hopedale and I found that one replaced also. As far as I know, those were the last of them. I put the picture of the Hopedale/Draper sign at the top of the
street and place name web page.

When Susie Thwing was delivering the mail in the 1840s, she didn’t need street signs to help her get the job done. She would have known the names of the few streets without the help of any signs. In face, I suppose she knew the names of everyone in town.
Click here to read Susie’s story from Hopedale Reminiscences.


Recent deaths:

Eleanor Mae (Congdon) Allen, 90, February 13, HHS 1934. Eleanor was a member of the Hopedale Community Historical Society for many years.

Richard B. Gannett, 62, Cambridge, February 19; son of the late John and Martha Gannett and brother of John D. Gannett, Jr. of Mendon.

Nello F. Ripanti, 88, Marblehead, February 21, HHS 1936.

Brian Weeks, 52, Milford, February 22; husband of Ellen (Clark) Weeks.

Hopedale History Email Menu                       HOME