Hopedale History
    October 15, 2010
    No. 166
    Milestone Year – 1980

    Hopedale in October               Hopedale Pond on October 7          The Parklands on October 10  

    Fall color by Hopedale Pond, October 13.

    G&U cars off the track, Grafton    

    Map – 1870   An improved version of the one I’ve had on for a few years.

    General Draper’s swords   

    I made a mistake with the link to the story on the 1960 Logan plane crash in which Draper executive
    Frederick FitzGerald was killed. This one should work.

    Park Department timber account   

    John Bevilaqua suggested that I pass this question on to you: Where is Wickliffe Preston Draper
    buried?

    Recent deaths                 

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                                        1980 Is Milestone In Hopedale

    HOPEDALE – The year of 1980 marks a milestone in Hopedale’s history and heralds the arrival of
    changes which could be more significant to the town. Twenty-five years ago, the town began to change
    which signaled the conclusion of the paternalistic origin of Hopedale. Draper Corporation officials
    announced that the company houses would be sold to those occupants wishing to purchase them.
    Happy to become property owners, no one questioned why the offer was made. As the 25 years since
    the original announcement have passed, everyone is now aware that the move was the first step
    toward extinction of Draper Corporation and the loom manufacturing business.

    In the 60s, a firm known to most through its trade name appearing on merchandise purchased in
    stores bought the Draper Corporation. That firm, Rockwell International, has made an unforgettable
    mark in the minds of many of the town’s residents. Those who have worked at the local plant since
    they were old enough to work and who were brought up in the Draper tradition will never forget
    Rockwell and the decline of the Draper Corporation and the “Diamond D,” the trademark of the world’s
    famous looms which they took pride in working on.

    Only a skeleton work force remains at the local plant which is all but a shell of itself. (Eight months
    later a Milford News headline read, “It’s All Over; Last Worker Leaves.) The machinery has been
    moved out and the once beautiful main office of the Draper Corporation now boasts a “For Sale” sign,
    placed on the market by a realty firm from Milford which purchased it several years ago from Rockwell.
    As the 70s take their place in history, the 80s hold promise for the future of the town. It will take work
    and cooperation between town officials and departments and between the Worcester based
    businessmen who have purchased the plant and the business which are considering moving into the
    building. Everyone is going to have to “bend” a little if Hopedale’s future is going to be an improved
    one.

    Thus far, Lake Wales Plastics has taken over occupancy of the former T.H. West Foundry and is
    looking forward to good business and good relations with the town. The Blackstone Valley CETA
    Consortium has opted for space in the Town Hall sometime in the late spring. The move has been
    necessitated because of laws requiring accessibility of services to the handicapped. The group will
    occupy ground floor space at the plant rather than its present second floor office space in Town Hall.

    Rumors thus far have indicated that a cash register firm and several other types of manufacturers are
    looking at the possibility of locating here. Nothing concrete has been announced to date. The
    Worcester based businessmen, operating under the name Hopedale Realty are scheduled to pass
    papers on the plant sometime between now and Jan. 15.

    Unlike the former purchasers (Rockwell) the group is not purchasing a “cash flow” or one of the most
    modern electrical foundries in the world. They are purchasing a building, or buildings. If the purchase
    is to make money for their investment, it must be occupied. An empty building will produce no revenue
    for them.

    A first step toward working with and welcoming the new owners has been announced by selectmen.
    On Feb. 21, the Board of Selectmen will hold a joint meeting in Town Hall with the Planning Board,
    Zoning Board of Appeals, Industrial Development Commission and other boards interested in the
    town’s future. Representatives of Hopedale Realty Trust will also be invited to attend. The prime topic
    under discussion will be a review of the direction the town should be taking toward improving
    Hopedale’s image and tax base. Milford Daily News, January 2, 1980.

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Hopedale Pond, October 7, after a few days of rain.