The American Legion Home, at the corner of Hopedale and Depot streets - now the site of the police station.
September 1, 2008
Hopedale History
No. 115
The Home School

Hopedale in August  

Moving the loom and display case donation

Growing up in the Seven Sisters in the 30s and 40s, working at Drapers, the great Roosevelt prank, dealing with "the man," the union, and much more.
John Cembruch's memories of life in Hopedale.

Cookout at the Daniels Farm

More on the flu epidemic – A link to a Boston Herald article on the 1918 epidemic, sent by Dick Grady. Dick’s grandfather was one of the Hopedale flu fatalities.

Another discovery by Peter Metzke - pictures, including a slide show, of
Hopedale’s 1926 Ahrens Fox fire truck at the 2006 rededication of the fire station.   Peter also sent a link to a site with three photos of the rather impressive entrance hall at the George Albert Draper mansion. And wait, there’s more, as they say on the infomercials. He also sent a site with two old Hopedale maps. (1870 and 1899) They'll look rather small when they first come up, but you can enlarge them.

Day in the Park will be held on September 13. Rain date, September 14.


   While Hopedale Community (1842 – 1856) children were entitled to be educated by the town in which they lived, Milford at the time, the Community members preferred to provide their own education. Soon after the commune was established, a school was built. There was hope of establishing something more ambitious however, and the story of that venture is told below in an excerpt from Edward Spann’s book, Commune to Company Town.

The Home School

   In 1854, the village welcomed a new and important venture that promised to partly fulfill Ballou’s long-deferred dream of a great Educational Home. Although Ballou had discussed it at length in his Practical Christian Socialism, he was too busy with his missionary work to start the school himself, but probably paved the way for its establishment by Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Bloom, newcomers, who had not even seen Hopedale until 1853. In October 1854, the Blooms – previously associated with the Five Points Mission in New York City – opened their Hopedale Juvenile Home School, a boarding and day school for boys and girls between five and seventeen.

  In their advertising the Blooms emphasized the moral order and healthful environment of the village. It would, they promised, compliment their efforts to give each child “a healthy body, a well toned mind, and a loving heart,” preparing him or her “to detect and combat evil, and discern and desire to follow good and truth.” At the school the young Christians would become well equipped to deal with the ways of the world, since they would learn not only habits of productive labor but the value of money and the art of keeping accounts; all students were expected to do some work, for which they would be credited on the schools accounts.

   The Juvenile Home School was a rather bare shadow of Ballou’s ambitious Educational Home; it opened in one of the larger houses in the village rather than in the great academy building of which he had dreamed two years before. Moreover, the Blooms had trouble attracting boarding students – at forty dollars per quarter – perhaps because they were strangers in New England. In 1855 they attempted to expand their enrollment by adding an adult department to their renamed Hopedale Juvenile and Collegiate Home School, striving to make it “a well ordered HOME, in which youth, middle-aged and elderly people should compose the family, and unite in instructing each other.” This experiment apparently did not help, however, since in April 1856 they sold the school to William and Abbie Heywood [Ballou’s son-in-law and daughter]; the Blooms’ last reported activity at Hopedale was an attempt to run a boardinghouse for summer vacationers.

   The sale opened the way for what proved to be the more successful Hopedale Home School, the accomplishment of Ballou’s daughter and son-in-law. William was principal and teacher of ancient languages, higher mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, and English literature, while Abbie served as associate principal and teacher of French, phonography, history, botany, physiology, painting, drawing, and penmanship. With the assistance of a few part-time teachers, the two attempted to provide a “thoroughly Reformatory and Progressive” academy and pre-collegiate education for older youth, especially for those who favored “the better tendencies and movements of the age.” Although they maintained the Blooms’ emphasis on moral and physical culture, the Heywoods gave particular emphasis to the development of disciplined reason and intellectual self-reliance. They announced that they conducted their classes “in the spirit of inquiry rather than dogmatism,” in accordance with the method Abbie had learned in normal school.

  Oral teaching is mingled freely with that derived from text-books. Mere book knowledge is of comparatively little value. An accumulation of facts…does not constitute the wealth of the intellect…Hence the importance of the analytical method of instruction, which investigates the reasons and uses of things, unfolding “the why and whereof” of every operation and assertion. This method is rigidly adhered to, in order to the revealment and elucidation of great principles and general truths. The Liberator, 1859

   Until the Civil War disrupted its enrollments, the Heywoods’ Home School seemed well on its way to becoming a successful educational enterprise. Beginning with 28 full-time residents in 1856, it increased its enrollment to over 50 by 1858. In the two years from 1857 to 1859 the Heywoods educated at least 167 different students on a coeducational basis. Most were boarders, the children of progressive parents from as far away as Boston [
More distant than that, actually. Lilla Joy of Nantucket attended the school. She and William F. Draper met there and were married in 1862.] who were willing to pay sixty dollars per term; but more than 25 of Hopedale’s own children were able, for nine dollars a term, to get at least some academy education without leaving home. Beyond its contributions to Hopedale’s income and culture, the Home School promised to satisfy the provision in Ballou’s Constitution of the Practical Christian Republic for an education that would “develop harmoniously the physical, intellectual, moral and social faculties of the young,” including not simply sound morals and good habits but a sound mind “capable of inquiring, reasoning and judging for itself” and a healthful, vigorous body. Spann, Edward K., Hopedale From Commune to Company Town, 1840 – 1920, pp. 121 – 123.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, the success of the school was disrupted by the Civil War. It closed in 1863.

   Where was the school? An old map shows that the lot at the corner of Adin and Dutcher streets, where the Dutcher mansion has been undergoing renovation for the past several years, was owned by the school. However, according to other sources, the school was in the house that eventually became the American Legion home, on the present site of the police station. In some situations such as this, the students lived at the school, but it’s hard to imagine that there was enough room for that in this case. Perhaps there was a house on what is now the Adin-Dutcher corner where they lived.

   Some years ago, when the home faced demolition, it was purchased by the Mallard family. They moved it and attached it to their house, located behind the post office.

Photos of the (probable) Home School.

   From Hopedale Reminiscences,
recollections of the Home School by one of its students, Imogene Mascroft.


Recent deaths:

Virginia S. (Moore) Cicchetti, 83, Milford, August 19, 2008, HHS 1943.

William F. Seller, 74, Milford, August 19, 2008.

Barbara M. (Noferi) DiVitto, 74, August 21, 2008.

Donna Hayres, 61, August 21, 2008.

Kurt P. Areano, 45 August 26, 2008, HHS 1981

Robert A. “Zeke” Hammond, 87, August 29, 2008, HHS 1942. From the Milford Daily News obituary, “’Zeke’ was well versed and a frequent lecturer on the history of the Town of Hopedale throughout the community.”
Click here to read a few of Zeke’s memories of life in Hopedale years ago.

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