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 remain.
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 summer's day.
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
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 tenant.
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,
For another description of Hopedale in that era, see Hopedale As I Found It.
Hopedale History Email Menu HOME