June 1, 2010
The Town Park
Hopedale in May
Now and Then in Hopedale Center .
Francis Wallace – Wallace was killed in action in World War II. The National Honor Society at Hopedale High
School is named for him.
Here’s a copy of the paper by which Princess Boncompagni donated her parents mansion to be used as a
site for a high school.
Bear seen in the Parklands
The history of the Hopedale town park below is a condensed version. Click here to go to the complete article.
Hopedale Town Park Has A Long History
By Gordon E. Hopper
HOPEDALE – Almost since the incorporation of the town, the residents were interested in the subject of a
In order for the town to take land for park purposes, if necessary, the following act in the town warrant was
voted on favorably:
Nov. 5, 1898 – Art. 5 “Shall an act passed by the legislature in the year 1882 entitled: ‘An act authorizing towns
and cities to lay out public parks within their limits’ be accepted.”
At the March 1899 town meeting, George Otis Draper, Charles F. Roper and Frank J. Dutcher were chosen as
Park Commissioners. This board employed Warren H. Manning as an advisor. Following this, another town
meeting voted $12,000 to be used in acquiring a 187.54-acre tract of land to be used for park purposes.
The Park Commissioners determined that the first necessity was a public playground for sports like
baseball, football, etc. Preparation of an unoccupied field at the corner of Freedom and Dutcher streets was
started after an additional appropriation of $2,500 had been obtained. This area was swampy and barren
and had never been cultivated. Installation of an extensive system of sub-draining, with catch basins was
done by Solon M. Allis. During this construction work, a large amount of loose rock was encountered. Rather
than haul it away, it was utilized in the building of a wall along Dutcher Street. The remaining large tract of
land eventually became known as the Hopedale Parklands. During the year 1900, the grading, draining, and
fencing of the playground was completed. A border of trees and shrubs were set out around the playground
during 1902 and it was surveyed for two ball grounds, fitted with home plates and bases, and a tennis court
was laid out and furnished with posts and nets.
Seats for the park were purchased in 1901 and a temporary bandstand was placed on the playground lot.
School children made daily use of the playground, the tennis court was well patronized and ball games were
Employees of the Draper Company held their annual Field Day activities on the playground for many years.
[The first was in 1901.] Nearly 3,000 people attended these affairs.
Another tennis court was laid out in 1902. A dozen additional seats were purchased and a faucet for drinking
water was added. In 1909, there was a new layout made for the baseball diamond and the area was
regarded. A comfort station was erected and opened during 1913 and a grandstand was erected in 1914.
During 1917, the tennis courts were rebuilt, the baseball diamond was regraded, and a new entrance to the
playground was provided.
Baseball teams from various departments in the Draper Company, which had been formed into the “Twilight
League,” started to use the baseball diamond nightly in 1918. Statistics for the year 1923 revealed that there
were 33 Twilight League games played, five high school games, and six others. The average attendance
was 263 while the largest attendance at these games was 1200 people.
The entire length of the town park that borders Freedom and Dutcher streets is nicely landscaped and
includes several evergreens, trees and a large white birch. A blacktopped basketball court and a baseball
diamond with a wire backstop are on the property along with some metal bleacher sections.
Hopedale’s picturesque bandstand is located at one end of the park. It has been electrified and appears to
still be in very good condition. A very tall metal flagpole has been set near one of the highest corners of the
park.. The corner of the playground located nearest the bandstand contains rides, games, and swings for the
young children. It also includes a very large sandbox and a rack for holding bicycles.
All in all, it is an attractive playground, completely equipped and is enjoyed by the hundreds who use it
including the Hopedale youngsters who guided me through the entire playground. Milford Daily News,
January 2, 1980.
Map – the Parklands in 1913 Park, Pond and Sports Menu
Dorothy (Johnson) McCrum, 94, May 14, 2010.
John A. Neal, 88, May 19, 2010
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