February 1, 2011
Tour of Hopedale, 1906
Hopedale in January Snow on January 13 January 18 January 27
Here’s a link sent by Peter Metzke to a history of Bellingham, written in 1919.
Now and Then – The Bancroft Memorial Library
Old posters Hopedale business ads, 1965
Vote for Hoover!
HHS girls' basketball team, 1951
Here’s a video sent by Pete Eaton in Pennsylvania showing a Draper loom at work. Pete restored it to operating
condition in the last couple of years. Click here to go to a page on my site that shows and tells a bit about what Pete
had to do to get it working. Click here to go to the Eaton’s site, where you can buy items made on the loom.
Tour of Hopedale, 1906
The following piece is longer than I usually send, but I’ve shortened it as much as I could without losing any of the
basic points. Click here if you’d like to read the entire article.
It is difficult to give an adequate idea of the town, with its quiet atmosphere of content, peace and plenty. Everywhere
are trees to keep the walks cool, and to add beauty to the vistas. Between the curb and the sidewalk is a narrow
strip of grass, as soft and smooth as if just cut; as it probably has been. On all sides of me are the cottages of the
Draper employees, now and then jostled by the larger and more impressive mansion of some official of the
company. Such is the first impression, and after the most careful inspection, and prying search, this impression will
I walked up the street until I came to a little gem of a lake. There was a silvery-gray, shingled building on its shore,
all buried in shrubbery and vines, and surrounded with such a green lawn as I had, by this time, learned to
associate with Hopedale. It was the public bath house, supported by the town through its park department; and
during the last year it catered the needs and pleasure of over 3,300 patrons.
I strolled along through a pleasant thicket on an agreeably "crunchy" gravel path, and let my thoughts fly whither they
would. I bumped into a venerable old gentleman and ventured to ask where I might be. "You are in our park system,
sir," was the reply. "What next?" I thought, "2,000 people and a park system!"
Finally I found myself back upon the street, and turned toward the center of the village. The side streets looked so
cool and comfortable that I was unable to withstand the temptation to explore; and it is well that I did so, or I should
have missed seeing one of the most interesting features of this remarkable town. That is the playground, covering
five or six acres. It is laid out into tennis courts and baseball diamonds, which were then deserted. While I stood
wondering what purpose a seemingly useless pile of stones, lumber, and lime barrels served, the clock struck
twelve, and boys and men began to hurry by on their way to the midday meal. Some of them brought their lunches to
the numerous benches with which the playground is provided: and it did not take these long to dispose of the
contents of their dinner-boxes. This done, a ball was produced from somebody's pocket, and in less time than it
takes to tell it a game was in full swing.
From one of the spectators I learned, between bits of advice offered to the players of both sides impartially, that my
useless pile of lumber was by way of becoming a new "gran' stan' for de ban'," to replace the one then standing
near it. The Hopedale band is in steady demand to play in the neighboring towns, and has earned for itself an
enviable reputation. During the summer it gives evening concerts, which are attended by all the population. The
Draper Company employees hold an annual field day, comprising field and track sports, baseball games, and the
like. The "big men" of the company are no bigger than the veriest 'prentice hands, on this gala day.
On the way back to the main street, I pass the new grammar school, a building that would put to shame many of
those erected in cities of ten times Hopedale's size. Further along is a building which a resident assured me was a
"boardin' 'ouse," though its sign claimed the title of "hotel" for it. Here many of the younger and unmarried
employees live. Its ivy-covered walls certainly gave earnest of comfortable rooms and bounteous fare within.
I popped around a corner, and found myself once more in the center of the village, with a little park full of apple trees.
Here is a statue of Adin Ballou, and also the old front doorstep of the Jones house, over which he passed so many
times. Full of bright flowers, and with the customary green lawn, Ballou Park is a delight to the eyes, on a hot
Almost opposite the park is the Bancroft Library, given to the town by J. B. Bancroft, and containing as almost to be
classed as part of it, is the beautiful Susan Preston Draper fountain. No words can portray its exquisite beauty, its
marble figure of Hope shimmering in the sun, and the dolphins and Medusa's head spouting forth cool water, for
the benefit of dogs and cats as well as humans
The church situation in Hopedale is unique. There are but two churches, the Unitarian and the Union. The
membership of the Union Church includes all those adhering to the evangelical beliefs. Those who are not
disposed to accept the ministrations of either of these churches can find representatives of nearly all
denominations in Milford, ten minutes away by trolley. The Unitarian church occupies a building presented to it by
George A. and Eben S. Draper, in memory of their parents, while the Union Church has a building recently
The particular feature of Hopedale which is bound to catch the stranger's eye is the lovely residence streets. On
every hand are cozy and artistic cottages, surrounded by well-kept yards. They are as different from the usual
workingman's home as they could well be. They are well and beautifully built, and show what can be accomplished
in solving the housing problem when it is given sympathetic attention. They have nearly all been erected by the
Draper Company, which rents them to its employees at charges varying from $10 to $15 a month, the higher rents
being for those houses equipped with furnace and bath-room. Ashes and garbage are removed free of charge to
The physical welfare of Hopedale's citizens is as carefully looked after as is their mental well-being. The town is
sewered. Water, electricity and gas are furnished by the Milford corporations. The fire protection is excellent,
Hopedale being one of the few places where automobile apparatus is in regular use. This is made possible by the
well paved streets and the absence of steep grades.
What has been done in Hopedale can be done elsewhere, when the man with the motive and the right kind of
genius arises. Welfare work, so-called, does not rest entirely with the employer; the man at the machine must show
an inclination to do what he can. When both work together, what is the result? A livable, lovable, beautiful village, like
Hopedale. The Village: a journal for village life, Roger DeLand French, January 1907, Google Books.
For another description of Hopedale in that era, see Hopedale As I Found It.
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