December 1, 2007
The Harel House
What happened to No. 95? I know there are a few of you who notice such things. Somehow I followed No. 94, Sand in the Attic, with No. 96, The Ballou Farm. There was no 95. Oh, well, on with 97.
Friends of Historic Hopedale holiday house tour.
Hopedale in November
The Little Red Shop Renovation Project Menu
Silent auction, Hopedale PTO, December 1, 7:30 PM, Myriad Ballroom, Mendon.
Can and bottle collection, Hopedale High School, December 1, 9 to 1, for Cooperstown trip.
Sacred Heart Church fair, December 1, 10 to 2.
Breakfast with Santa, Union Church, December 1, 8 to 11. Admission, $4 per person. Free all-u-can-eat pancake breakfast. Free pictures with Santa, and kids crafts. Huge raffle.
Kris Kringle Fair, Unitarian Church, December 1, 10 to 2.
In the December-January issue of Journeys, the Blackstone Valley paper available free at many locations in the area, there's an excellent article on Adin Ballou and the Hopedale Community. It's titled, "Peace on Earth." You can read it online. To go to the Journeys homepage, BlackstoneDaily.com, click here You'll find lots of useful links and there.
You had to go a bit out of your way to get to it, but those of you who lived in Hopedale in the last half of the twentieth century would remember the Harel House. Located well off of Greene Street, near the railroad crossing, it had been the home of Dana Osgood, son of Edward Louis and Hannah Thwing Draper Osgood. His land extended down to where Dana Park and McVitty Road are now. Dana Park was named for him. The reincarnation of Osgood's estate as the Harel House is detailed in the following Milford News article. (The story below is a condensed version. Click here for the complete article, with photos.)
The Harel House
By Nick J. Tosches
Daily News Staff
Surrounded by a woodland and far from the noise and bustle of a business district, an exclusive mail order manufacturing company has been operating in Hopedale nearly unnoticed the past 14 months. The company's patrons are artistically minded people from all over the world.
This young but already nationally known business is situated on the 15-acre former Osgood property off Greene Street, about a half-mile from the roadway. The office and several art rooms are located in the nearly 50 year-old mansion that is presently having its face done over. The hand-blocking, printing, and sewing rooms are located in a building not far from the home
How such a business came to Hopedale is a short story. Harry Lacey, an artist, decorator and designer for about 20 years, and his artist-designer wife, Elizabeth, became fed up with the rush of city living and tending to the many tasks involved in operating a retail shop in Boston's Back Bay. After a search of nearly a year for a country home and land which would enable them to further develop the mail order line of their business, the Laceys were introduced to their dream spot in Hopedale on the afternoon of April 1, 1946, and bought it 10 minutes later from Louis McVitty.
They have no regrets in choosing their new home and business site. Four months after the purchase the new firm began operating under the name of Harel House, a name derived from Harry and Elizabeth. About the same time they became the parents of a daughter, who was named - you guessed it; Harel.
Among the items that are manufactured there are unique lamps, wastebaskets, cigarette boxes, angora lambskin rugs, copper and brass items, cocktail napkins, card table covers, hand printed wallpaper, picnic mats and cloths, "glamorous" clothes hangers, personal cases for shirts, neckties, handkerchiefs, shoes and bottles and many other unique hand made items that are not to be found in retail shops. The success of the business depends entirely on the approval of goods by an exclusive clientele. An exquisitely painted wastebasket sells for $15, a monogrammed pure wool shirt container is listed for $12. 50, and card table covers are priced as high as $40 each.
The advertising matter in pamphlets, catalogs and notices that appear in magazines such as Parents, Vogue and Vanity Fair, House and Garden, House Beautiful and others, carry a sketch of the old Osgood mansion.
Kearsley's studio handles all the photographic work for the business, and Forbes Press, also of Hopedale, does much of the printing work.
All workers at the plant are from Hopedale, Milford, Millis and other surrounding towns. Mr. Lacey expects to have a payroll of about 50 employees when his plant enters full-scale operations. He is still searching for skilled help for fine embroidery, art and other work of this nature. Harold Moran of the Milford High School faculty has assisted Mr. Lacey in procuring students to aid in packaging catalogs for mailing and doing other work in the plant.
One special operation is the hand printing of various designs on linens and other fabrics. This process involves the use of a silk screen into which a design has been cut. When the proper inks are pressed over the pattern, it is transferred to the linen in fine detail. Some designs have several colors and many operations are required to complete a single item. Wallpaper is printed in this manner. The cutting of some silkscreen designs requires 250 hours of painstaking work.
With the fall and winter seasons getting into full swing, Mr. Lacey fears that the Hopedale post office will be burdened even more with additional outgoing packages and incoming letter orders. In one busy day as many as 200 letters are received and 100 packages are sent out. An order for 25,000 envelopes has already been placed to handle the mailings of catalogs this fall.
Harry Lacey, although enmeshed in the labor of his new undertaking, is still a decorator. He is affiliated with several large chain organizations as a consultant designer. At present his is working on the Berkeley Store in Milford, under a working plan signed several years ago with the chain firm. His is not taking on additional work of this type, but merely carrying out work for which he was hired years ago.
Thus in 14 months the red-headed man, who has a liking for checkered bow ties and long type cigarettes, which he smokes in chain fashion, has laid a firm foundation for a national business in Hopedale that promises to make the little town well known to an exclusive class of people throughout the nation and in several foreign countries.
This man Harry Lacey and his wife Elizabeth tossed aside a profitable but nerve-shattering business in Boston's Back Bay just for peace and quiet in a country surrounding. From all indications they have received more than their anticipated reward. Their combined ingenuity, decorative ability and business logic, has put the Hopedale firm will on the road to permanent success. Milford Daily News, October 18, 1947.
Roy Nutting, 83, November 14, 2007
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