August 1, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 88
The Pistol Club 

Hopedale in July      

   What was it like to be in the artillery during World War I?
Click here to read what Wickliffe Draper had to say in a talk given at the Hopedale Community House.           


   Hundreds of gunshots are fired in the center of Hopedale every week, but it rarely makes the news. Here's one story about it, written back in 1949. 

Hopedale Pistol Club History 

HOPEDALE - On Nov. 26, 1937, 10 men met in the Community House for the purpose of forming a pistol club.  The club objective was to encourage revolver and pistol shooting. Madison H. Goff was elected president and Burleigh W. Lapworth was elected secretary. 

   A shooting range with four alleys of 25-foot range, was constructed in the basement of John A. Bell's barn. [
The 1939 town directory lists John A. Bell as living at 83 Mendon Street.] A small but faithful group enjoyed many evenings there.

   Later five alleys of 60-foot range were constructed in the basement of the old stable of Hopedale Coal & Ice Co.  More people became interested and through persistent efforts of a few members, the club prospered. A few matches with out-of-town clubs were held. 

   Due to the war, club activity was discontinued until Sept. 25, 1947, when a meeting was held in the new range with President Goff in charge.  The building is owned by the Draper Corp. and rented to the club. It is made of cinder blocks and is 125 feet long, 25 feet wide, and contains six shooting positions with a 50 and 60 foot range. The fluorescent lighting arrangements were designed by the University of Maryland especially for shooting ranges. 

   In addition to the range, there is a clubroom and an observation window, 15 feet by 30 inches, for spectators. Heat is furnished from the Draper Corp. central heating plant.  Open house was held Oct. 8, 9, and 10. People came from near and far and were favorably impressed with the set-up. 

   About this time several ladies developed an interest in shooting. As a result of this, today some of the ladies? scores rate higher than their husbands. 

   Monday and Wednesday nights are reserved for rifle shooting, and Tuesday and Thursday nights are reserved for pistol shooting. Friday is an open night.

   On April 28, 1948, Mr. Goff retired after serving as president for several years. Charles Watson became president. Much activity took place with Tri-State shoot, matches with other clubs, and many holiday parties.  The club is affiliated with N.R.A. and has recently received its charter.

    This year's activities open with dinner and annual meeting at Chicken Pete's, Sept. 28.
Milford Daily News, September 14, 1949 Pictures and more, related to the story above.


   In recent years, all of the old factories of the area have come to be called mills. That wasn't always the case though. The term used depended on the kind of work done. When Draper Corporation was still operating, and even into the Rockwell years, their place of business was almost always referred to as "the shop." Below is a letter on the subject, printed in the Milford News on July 29, 2007. 

   As an aside to the devastating Bernat Mill fire in Uxbridge, I was somewhat disappointed to note your paper is still referring to the former Draper Corp. building in Hopedale as the "Draper Mill."  I thought that Mr. Sparling had explained in a letter that Drapers wasn't really a mill, it was a shop that manufactured textile machinery to service and supply the mills, where cloth was woven.  Perhaps this is a very small point to many today, but for we former employees, and longtime residents of Hopedale, it makes us cringe to read such a misnomer.  I don't think the signs that proclaim Hopedale as being a Mill Town are accurate either.  Don McGrath Hopedale


Recent deaths: 

Wesley L. Tinkham, 84, Springfield, New Hampshire, July 13, 2007, HHS 1941.

Angelo J. Roberti, 89, July 14, 2007

Dorothy M. (Murray) Cornacchia, 81, July 21, 2007, HHS 1944.

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