September 15, 2007
Hopedale History
No. 91
The Parklands - 1899 -- 1905

   Yes, it's finally happening! Thanks to the taxpayers of Hopedale and the rest of Massachusetts, town officials and employees, the Friends of Historic Hopedale, and private and corporate donors, work to restore the Little Red Shop has begun. The estimate is that it will be completed in about three months. I'll be taking pictures of the job as it moves along.
You can see them here

   Day in the Park - Saturday, 10 to 2. 

Hopedale in September    
.  Hear author-historian Edward Lodi discuss ghosts, mysteries and other curiosities about King Philip's War at the Bancroft Library, Wednesday, September 19 at 7:00 PM. Lecture is free. Refreshments will be served.                                               


   It's hard to say what is the best time of the year to take a walk in the Parklands, but there should be a lot of beautiful days coming up in the next few weeks. If you read the excerpts from the park commissioner's annual reports below, it will be a reminder that this wonderful area didn't just appear on its own. It's the result of the foresight and hard work of many people for more than a century.  

The Parklands - 1899 - 1905  

   The large area bordering on the edge of the pond was taken rather in reference to a probable distant future use, than with intent of spending any large amount of development in the near present. As access at the present time is rather difficult, the inhabitants of the town can hardly appreciate the natural beauty of the scenery included in this tract; but when a system of park roads and bridges can be afforded, they will undoubtedly prove that the voters showed wisdom in their anticipation of future necessities. 

   In the area bordering on the pond a notable improvement has been made, by taking advantage of the situation when the pond was drained by the Draper Company. A force of laborers was enabled to remove the projecting snags and tree limbs, which formerly made the upper tract unsightly, and interfered more or less with boating. Several large boulders, which were dangerously situated with relation to the usual river channel, were also removed by blasting. 

   The Maroney grove, which includes the best tract of pine timber in town, has been cleaned up, and put into attractive shape for use by picnic parties. We have also started a roadway commencing at Hazel Street and continuing over the new bridge, and through the woods to the Grafton & Upton Railroad. With the trolley cars running on the Grafton & Upton road, the public can easily reach this new territory from the western side. There are three good springs in the vicinity, and the general attraction of the environment can only be appreciated by investigation. 

   The old brookway between Dutcher Street and the pond has been covered in by a very substantial and permanent stone drain, at a considerable expense. 

The park commissioners wish to call attention to the fact that the upper part of the Park property is now well cleared and adaptable for use by picnic parties and others. It can be reached by team from Hazel Street, the cross street leading from the Upton road north of the connection of the Upton road with the extension of Dutcher street. The electric cars will stop by request, and an entrance on the west side of the property. The whole territory is, or course, available by boats, and a boat landing has been built near the bridge. While Park property is intended for advancing legitimate pleasure, it is not the purpose of the commissioners to encourage its use for questionable purposes. A region intended for use by all citizens, including women and children, is not the place for drunken carousels, and after noting several violations, the commissioners succeeded in arresting four out of six parties who had brought intoxicating liquor on the premises, and they were served by the court with the maximum penalty for such offense. 

   We are continuing trimming and thinning on our wood properties during the winter months, the sale of the wood about balancing the expense. The upper end is now well reached from Hazel Street, but the lower end of our property is somewhat swampy in places, necessitating more in the way of culverts and filing to even allow a proper foot-path to be laid out. 

   During the year we have arranged a complete system of pathways on the eastern side of the pond from the bath house to the "second bridge" so called, with a branch from Dutcher Street and connection side path loops. Care has been taken to provide dry footing through the swamps and brooks, and this whole region is now available for foot passengers at any period of the year. We find many availing themselves of the opportunity to use these paths, and thereby for acquaintance with a very interesting portion of the park reservation. 

   The Park Commissioners during the years covered here were Charles Roper, Frank Dutcher and George Otis Draper.

A Walk Through the Parklands          Park Department History           Parklands History  


   Here's some Hopedale trivia sent by Dick Orff.  Did you know that Roy E. Westcott served the Town of Hopedale for 125 man years from 1920 until his death in 1960 ??   Inspector of Kerosene for 18 yrs. Police Officer for 41 years Public Weigher for 25 years Measurer of wood & bark for 41 years       
Recent deaths: 

Arthur Cornacchia, 83, September 5, 2007
Margaret P. (Baker) Concannon, 98, September 7, 2007.
Mary C. (MacNeil) MacDougall, 91, September 10, 2007.
John F. Power, Jr,. 80, September 12, 2007.