No, not Hopedale. Since the subject this time is the Depression, I decided to start
with a pictue that gives an idea of how bad things were in some places. This was
taken in California.. Below is the caption for the picture from the University of Illinois
The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of
photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo,
California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor
around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange
gave this account of the experience:
I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I
do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do
remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and
closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her
age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables
from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the
tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children
huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she
helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb.
January 15, 2010
The Depression in Hopedale
Hopedale in January
Milford Daily News – Stanas House Razed
Milford Daily News - G&U Railroad
Draper shop organization chart, c. 1950. Lots of familiar names for those of you who remember Drapers at
G&U Railroad – G&U Menu The Hopedale Yard More on the caboose houses
Here’s a link, sent by Peter Metzke, of a blog from the Outer Hebrides, with pictures of a sock weaving
machine, looms, guinea hens, sheep, etc.
Paul Hutchinson of Douglas took a tour of Hopedale last July, and he put up a web page about it. It has lots
of pictures, comments, observations and links. Take a look.
The Hopedale Jr.-Sr. High School Media Center is sponsoring a Book Fair at Barnes and Noble, Bellingham
on Thursday January 28th during business hours. Student artwork and explore projects will be displayed at
the store. After 3 pm, there will be performances by our band and chorus students as well as informational
materials supplied by the Unified Arts Department All proceeds will support the Media Center print collection
and the Unified Arts Department. Please stop by to talk to members of the Unified Arts Department and
support our Media Center.
The Depression Era in Hopedale
While browsing through the scrapbooks at the Bancroft Library recently, I decided to try putting together a little
something on the Depression era in Hopedale. I had heard years ago that Draper Corporation had been
able to provide more employment than most other companies, and the Milford Daily News stories of the time
that I’ve been looking through confirmed that. However, pay and hours were cut and people who were already
living in what would nowadays be considered primitive conditions, found they had to make do with even less.
Also, not everyone in Hopedale worked at Drapers, so there would have been some families who were no
better off than the rest of the country.
None of the articles I found for 1929 gave any indication of economic problems. Here are some headlines
and excerpts from 1930 and 1931 that were printed in the News.
January 30, 1930 – Draper Buys Controlling Interest in Milford Water Company
March 21, 1930 – Draper Corp’s Earnings Over 2-Million Mark
In the textile industry, as in all others, there is the need of keeping equipment up-to-date, and while there has
been almost no building of new mills, Drapers have done a good replacement business, particularly in
substitution of automatic for old type looms.
September 4, 1930 – Draper Largest Taxpayer in Milford (This was the result of the purchase of the Milford
Water Company and the fact that Drapers owned many houses in Milford. In addition to those they had built
in Prospect Heights, they owned many more, scattered all over town.)
September 17, 1930 – Primary Election – Record Vote of 752 Ballots Cast
Republican ballots, 739; Democratic ballots, 13. (No, I didn’t forget a digit; it was 13. )
October 23, 1930 – Mrs. Ayer Gives $5000 To Aid Needy Families
Forwards Check For $3000 to Milford Board of Public Welfare – Gives $2000 to Hopedale to Tide Over Needy.
The gloom which the current economic depression has cast over hundreds of needy families in Milford and
Hopedale was pierced by a ray of light today, when announcement was made that two gifts, totaling $5000,
had been contributed by Mrs. Helen Draper Ayer, prominent society woman, towards alleviating the distress
of such families. (Helen was the daughter of George Albert Draper. )
October 25, 1930 - 20 Tons of Coal Added to Carload
Since the carload of coal donated by Mrs. B.H. Bristow Draper of Hopedale for distribution among the needy
families of Milford proved to be a small carload containing only 40 tons, instead of the large carload ordered,
Mrs. Draper today informed M. Bernard Sweeney, chairman of the (Milford) Board of Welfare, that she had
purchased 20 additional tons from the Hopedale Coal & Ice Co., which would be delivered free of charge by
that company. (Other articles on more coal donations by Mrs. Draper were in the paper on December 19 and
December 22. The 40-ton load was delivered free of charge by the Barney Coal Company. )
December 20, 1930 – No Idle Reported in Town of Hopedale
Hopedale is one of 108 towns in the state where there are no idle workers and therefore no reason why an
unemployment committee should be created according to an announcement of the state committee on
January 2, 1931 – Plant and Office to Close on Saturday
In the past, the main office and some departments worked on Saturday. This (Saturday closing) will continue
for an indefinite period.
February 5, 1931 – Anonymous Donor from Hopedale Makes Donation of $2000 to Milford Board of Public
Welfare for Milford’s Needy
March 13, 1931 – South Main Street work to be done as a “federal aid road.” (The Draper family was
strongly opposed to New Deal programs. This is the only thing I’ve seen about work done in Hopedale with
federal funds in that era. It probably happened because it was a state road.)
July 28, 1931 – Draper Corp. Builds New Service Station (The company built the station on Dutcher Street
for $15,000. )
July 28, 1931 - Tax rate $22 - ($2 less than 1930 because “total appropriations made by the voters at the
March town meeting were much less than those of 1930.” )
December 28, 1931 – Draper Corp. Bids $400,000 for Property of Stafford Co. (Two days later another
article stated that the Draper bid had been successful. )
December 29, 1931 – Draper Corporation Announces Cut Effective Jan. 1
Salaries and Weekly Rates to Be Reduced 10 to 15 Per Cent
No Reduction in Wages of Employees Paid By Hour Or Piece Work
In many ways, the newspaper articles indicate that life in Hopedale went on much as before the crash. The
Winter Dancing Club still met and the summer field days continued to be big events. The Knights of Pythias
and the Pythian Sisters were active. There were swimming meets, doll carriage parades and golf
tournaments. John Stanas won some national swimming meets and Madeline Smart signed with the Whitin
Community Association to compete in its AAU sanctioned events. The Dillon family gave the Boy Scouts the
use of five acres of their land near Saltbox Road and they met there frequently. The Roundabout Club met
monthly to discuss the vital issues of the day, and plays, and yes, even minstrel shows were held on the
stage at the town hall. At some point I'll do another story or two to cover the rest of the thirties.
The Depression, Wikipedia
Depression photos – Wall Street, squatter’s camp, pea pickers, Dust Bowl, sharecropper’s cabin, Migrant
Mother and much more. Don’t miss it.
More pictures at About.com
Five Causes of the Great Depression – About.com
Great Depression timeline
Jack Midgley, California, November 2009, HHS 1947.
Donald P. Arkerson, 58, December 31, 2009.
Raymond J. Fiske, 79, Mendon, January 3, 2010.
Richard E. Hauge, 62, January 3, 2009.
Sharon A, (Ghetti) Giroux, 56, January 5, 2010, HHS 1971.
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