June 1, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 85
Soapbox Derby

The third grade at Memorial School has been studying Hopedale history recently. Elaine and I spoke to them last week and they presented us with $700 that they had raised for the Little Red Shop. I hope that by the next year, the restoration project will have been completed and they’ll be able to visit it. We’re still in need of more money, however, before we can proceed with the job. Donation checks can be made out to Friends of Historic Hopedale and mailed to Friends of Historic Hopedale, Box 7, Hopedale, MA 01747.

Hopedale in May.

Milford area Florida reunion

Wildflowers blossoming in the Parklands during the last couple of weeks include Canada Mayflower, starflower, wild geranium, and lady’s slipper. See them there and/or
see them here.

Tom Malloy, Chateau Thierry 1918.   


As I recall, soapbox derby races, sponsored by the Hopedale post of the American Legion were held on Freedom Street for two years in the fifties. I was interested in getting in to one, but in those days very few parents would go out and buy the parts for such an event, so it was usually up to the kids to find them. I went to the dump quite a few times, hoping someone would have discarded a baby carriage so I could get the wheels, but I didn’t have any luck. I don’t know for sure why the event was discontinued, but very likely the committee in charge decided it was too dangerous after one fast car didn’t make the turn at the bend in the road near Prospect Street, and crashed into the house at 63-65 Freedom, and another car rolled over. (Thanks to Leigh Allen for those details that I had forgotten. His memory of the crash was perhaps aided by the fact that he lived at 65 Freedom Street.) Here’s the Milford News article about the 1950 race.

Many Take Part in Hopedale
                             Soapbox Derby Over Weekend

Hopedale – Fifty-two boys and girls participated in the colorful Hopedale Soapbox derby down Freedom Street hill over the weekend.

   The event sponsored by the Walter G. Tillotson Post, A.L., got underway Saturday morning but was halted by a downpour of rain. The races were continued yesterday.

   Wayne Kearsley posted the fastest time of the derby breezing to a victory in the Junior High division in 35 seconds.

   Each contestant received a pass to the State Theater and either a baseball or three tennis balls. Special prizes were awarded to the winners.

   The winners were: Fifth and Sixth Grade race, Ronald Hazard, in 53 seconds, first, and Owen Dow, second; Fourth Grade race, Henry Stenberg, Jr., in 53 seconds, first, and Frank Cardarelli, second.

   Second and Third Grade race, Ronald Kimball in 53 seconds, first, and Bradford Crosby, second. Junior High race, Wayne Kearsly in 35 seconds, first, and James DiSabito second; Girls race, Susan Kaiser in 1 minute 18 seconds, first and Jennie Gray, second.

   Cub Den race, Edward Daige of Den 8, first, Phillip Roberts of Den 4, second, and John Strapponi of Den 6, third.

   Carl Rose was awarded a special prize for the best constructed vehicle. The committee in charge of the derby consisted of Carlton Miner, C. Victor Pepper, Herbert Picard, George Lunt, Ernest Tetlow, John Driscoll, Vincent Rubeo, and Charles Watson.
Milford Daily News, June 19, 1950

The paper also printed photos showing the winners and Wayne Kearsley in his car. The caption under the Kearsley picture mentions that his time was “15 seconds faster that any other, and the speed of his racer carried him across the stop line, across Hopedale Street, over the bridge and to the railroad tracks where he turned and continued back to the bridge before coming to a halt.”   See article with three pictures.   


Recent Deaths:

Bertrand Guindon, 80, May 7, 2007, Cumberland, Rhode Island. (Draper project engineer)

Lucile F. (Remillard) Damon, 90, May 14, 2007.

James F. “Bullet” Callery, 66, May 18, 2007, HHS 1963.

Millard Lovejoy, 89, May 20, 2007, Venice, Florida, HHS 1935.

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