June 15, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 86
John Stanas

Boy Scout Troop 1 will be collecting returnable cans and bottles at the high school parking lot on Saturday, June 16 from eight until noon.

Hereís a question for you. A couple of months ago I added a few more stories to the veteranís section of my Hopedale website. One was about
Douglas DíOrsay, who was killed in Vietnam in 1965. A short while later I received a question that asked why he wasnít listed on the Vietnam Wall. I took a look at a website with all the names, and I couldnít find him either. If you know anything about this, Iíd like to hear from you.

Progress is continuing on preparation for the Little Red Shop Museum restoration. Tom McGovernís work on this project continues to bring in support. Among other items in the last week, one of his customers has agreed to do any custom picture framing with museum glass and mattes at no charge. I hope Iíll soon be able to tell you that a contract has been signed to do the work on the shop.


Many times over the last five decades or six, Iíve heard stories about Hopedaleís greatest swimmer, John Stanas. They were usually about a race with Johnny Weissmuller, aka Tarzan. Iíve been unable to get anything on that, but hereís an article on Stanas that was in the Milford News a few years ago.

Stanas Was Pride of Hopedale

                                                    By James Buckley

A Hopedale boy became the talk of the town in August 1931, due to the superb swimming expertise he manifested that summer. A novice swimmer, John Stanas began his career as a swimming competitor in Mendon a few months before. One of the swim coaches in the area observed that Stanas was competition material and encouraged him to seriously consider competing in the forthcoming meets. This proved to be very wise advice. In the 800-yard event that season, he placed second. Subsequently, he captured the National Junior 800-yard title. Then he went on to win the New England 400-yard event. At that time he began to compete under the colors of the Whitinsville Community Center.

Then success prompted his advisors to have him sign up for the NEAAU Senior Long Distance Championship competition to be held at Revere Beach on August 30, 1931. Some observers commented that such a decision was unrealistic. First, although Stanas had won the national junior competition and the New England competition, he was nonetheless a novice swimmer. Secondly, competing in a swimming pool was quite different from competing in the ocean.

These comments were taken into consideration by his advisors, but after some discussion, Stanas began training for the August 30 competition.

In order to keep in shape, on August 27, John competed in the Whitinsville A.C. 100 meter freestyle handicap event at the pool at Revere. He came in third. While this was a respectable prize, it gave the naysayers some ammunition for their argument that he was just not ready for the ocean competition being held three days later.

There were 11 competitors that August day. In order to win first prize, a swimmer had to be the first to negotiate a triangular two and a half mile course. The ocean did not cooperate. Although the sun was shining, the sea was choppy and as a result, the first leg of the competition was brutal. Also, the water was unseasonably cold.

As for his competitors, Stanas was aware before he began the race that he had at least one formidable opponent. William Nolan had led the pack for most of the day during the Boston Lighthouse swim the week before. And sure enough, during the first quarter mile, Nolan was right behind Stanas. But then Nolan made a mistake. Instead of swimming around the outside of the marker, he veered into the triangle, causing him to have to swim 70 extra yards in order to be allowed to continue.

Meantime, Stanas completed the course in the extraordinary time of one hour, four minutes and 38 seconds. This broke the previous record for that event. Nolan came in second, almost 200 yards behind Stanas.

He proved that his performance to date was not a flash in the pan. On September 7, 1931, he went on to win the 100-meter freestyle event at the open swimming meet at Pout Pond, Uxbridge. He nosed out Arthur Broadhurst of Whitinsville by completing the distance in one minute and seven seconds.

As a result, Johnís spectacular record provided Hopedale residents with another reason to be proud of their community that summer during the second year of the Great Depression.
Milford Daily News

The 1930 Hopedale list of poll tax payers records John Stanas as living at 4 Jones Road. (That being the street now called Lower Jones Road.) His age was 20 and his occupation was machinist. His parents lived at the same address.


Recent deaths:

Constance M. (Moore) Porter, May 30, 2007.
Antonio A. Porzio, Onset, June 5, 2007.
M. Beverly (Markham) Johnson, 77, Brandenton, Florida
Gladys M. (Wood) Kimball, 94, June 7, 2007.

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