July 1, 2011
Hopedale in June
Memorial School Field Day
Photographer, hunter and fisherman – an interview with Arnold Nealley .
Photos from a Draper Corporation report of 1961, showing more than two dozen employees, who are identified,
and some children in front of Memorial School.
For those of you interested in the early history of Hopedale, there’s a lot that should be of interest in Adin Ballou’s
History of the Hopedale Community. In addition to Ballou’s memories, the recently published Blackstone Editions
volume, edited by Lynn Gordon Hughes, contains twenty pages of names and information on the Community
members, and over thirty pages of notes that shed much light on Hopedale in the era of Utopian communes. The
book can be purchased at the Friends of Adin Ballou website.
The following is a shortened version of Hopper’s history of the Parklands. Click here to read the complete article.
How Hopedale Parklands Evolved
By Gordon E. Hopper
According to the first annual report of the Park Commissioners in 1889, the inhabitants of the town had been
interested in the subject of a park since the incorporation of the town. Although a committee had been appointed in
1890 to report on a suitable tract of land for use as a town park, nothing definite had developed by 1893.
Committee members were Edward S. Stimson, Charles M. Day and George A. Draper. They secured the services
of Warren Henry Manning, who, in 1891, recommended the taking of about 40 acres of land located between
Freedom and Adin streets and about 20 acres in the vicinity of Hopedale Pond. (Manning was evidently regarded
as the second most famous landscape architect of that era. Before establishing his own firm, he had worked with
the No. 1 man in that business, Frederick Law Olmstead. To this day, much of what we see in the layout of the Town
Park and Parklands is the result of Manning’s design.) No action was taken because the value of the land was
such as to prevent consideration of its acquisition by the town.
By 1899, the town had acquired 189 acres of land for the Park and Parklands.
During 1900, the Draper Company drained the pond and workmen removed the unsightly projecting snags and
tree limbs and blasted out several large boulders that were dangerous to boating activities.
A rustic bridge was constructed at the so-called Second Bridge, allowing foot or team passage to the western side
of Mill River. In 1901, the bridge was raised enough to allow boat clearance beneath it, and Maroney’s Grove, a
tract of pine timber, was cleaned up in order to be used by picnic parties. A roadway was built starting at Hazel
Street, passing over the new rustic bridge and through the woods as far as the Grafton and Upton Railroad line
where trolley cars ran to Grafton and Upton. There were several springs nearby.
By this time, the upper section of the Parklands had been cleared and made available for picnic parties, access
being gained by way of Hazel Street. In addition to this, the electric cars would stop upon request at the Park
Station shelter. The entire area was available by boats and a boat landing was built near the bridge.
During 1905, a system of pathways was made on the eastern side of the pond from the bath house to the “second
bridge,” so called, with a branch from Dutcher Street and connecting side path loops. Dry footing was provided for
through the swamps and brooks and the whole region was available for hikers. Tree thinning continued and the
wood was sold as it came available. Scores of people were now visiting the Parklands and the woods were filled
with game birds and squirrels. Several deer had been sighted in 1905. Hundreds of skunks, foxes, muskrats and
snakes were destroyed during the same year.
A shelter and seats were built on Park property at the summit of Darling Hill in 1908. More than three miles of foot
paths connect the bath house, the Park Shelter, Rawson’s Bridge and the street railway station. A good spring was
located at the foot of a slope in the pine grove on the eastern side of the pond, and two more were found on the
In 1912, a large section of Darling Hill became accessible after trees had been thinned, underbrush cut, and new
roads and footpaths put in. There were now six miles of roads and paths in the Parklands. The territory around the
upper end of the pond and along the side of Darling Hill were being used more as people began to appreciate its
beauties. New paths connecting “Rawson’s Bridge” with “Maroney’s Grove” and the big boulder in the “Texas”
district with the “White Oak Spring” path were opened in 1914. Some of the older trails were widened, old culverts
and water courses replaced, and some paths resurfaced and a number of seats were placed along the easterly
side of the pond in 1915. Milford DailyNews, August 29, 1980.
Warren Henry Manning photos of the park and Parklands taken in 1903. (While working on this story, I was
surprised and happy to find these Manning pictures - 53 of them - from the Iowa State University Library on flickr. In
addition to the Parklands, there are views of the HC&I icehouse, the Henry Patrick icehouse, the Draper shop, the
town park, and houses along Dutcher and Northrop streets.)
Pond, Park and Sports Menu
A Walk Through the Parklands
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