February 1, 2008
Hopedale History
No. 101
Workingman's Paradise?  

Hopedale in January            Snow day, January 14   

Abby Hills Price and the Free Love Incident of 1853 (Yes, really.)  

Kevin Chambers Returns Home -  Milford Daily News article  

Grand Opening at Rico's Food Center  

Now and Then at the Larches    

Now and Then at the corner of Dutcher and Hope streets   

Pictures of the building of Hopedale's White City neighborhood have been added to the web page with John Chute's memories of growing up there. 

   It's Comcastic! That's what their ads say, anyway. The Comcast problem continues. From what I can tell, Comcast users still aren't receiving my email. A call to them didn't help.


In 1909 a gentleman named Lewis Hovey published a pamphlet titled Hopedale and the Drapers. It summarized the history of the town, starting with the story of the Hopedale Community and going through the Draper years up to 1909, the year of publication. What follows is the final page. Click here to read the entire article.                              

Hopedale and the Drapers 

   Now, is Hopedale a "workingman's paradise," or a despotism, more or less benevolent, varying with circumstances? 

   The answer depends on what the workingman desires. If he is content with an unusually good tenement, good schools, good streets, and good public conveniences generally, together with the common, or in some cases, low, wages, it is a more than ordinarily good location for him.

    If he desires to assert himself, rather than to accept what is given him, either in wages, conditions of labor or the local government, he will be happier elsewhere. 

   I refer to the streets, schools and local government because public, as well as business affairs, are, under present conditions, controlled by the ruling corporation. Lists of public officials and delegates to Republican conventions are said to be prepared in the Draper Company office, and then ratified by caucuses and town meetings; and the feeling prevails that any employee making public opposition to them would be obliged to seek some other field of usefulness. 

   The Drapers have always opposed labor unions, and do so now. They have not only refused to recognize them, but have in several cases broken them up temporarily, by learning who the officers were and discharging them. Not that any many is discharged for being a union man. Far from it. They simply wait for an excuse on some other ground, which can generally be found, and if not, a slackness of work permits the objectionable ones to be removed. 

   Politically, too, there is always more or less pressure, and while the present ballot protects the vote, there is felt to be danger in any organized opposition to "the powers that be," and democratic local committees are anything but active. 

   There have been recently some cases of interference with personal liberty in other lines, but it is not necessary to go in them in detail. Suffice it to say that if a workingman is satisfied with paternal government, in which he has little or no influence, Hopedale is today a good place to find it. I say "today" because under the elder members of the family, while the same principles prevailed to some extent, they were modified by the personal acquaintance between employer and employed, which has latterly been reduced to a minimum, as the younger Draper brothers are not "mixers" at home, however it may be elsewhere. 

   This is intended to be a dispassionate, unprejudiced view of the situation. The abuse expressed by the word "Hopelessdale" is unfair, but the reply to it by calling attention to the comfortable tenements, with little patches of green lawn in front, is by no means complete. The real question raised goes to the foundation of society and government; but it seems fairly answered above, as far as Hopedale is concerned. It is evident that between the Hopedale of the Community and the Hopedale of the factory, as at present administered, there is an absolute divergence of ideas and principles.
Lewis R. Hovey, 1909.  

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