July 15, 2011
The Draper Era
Hopedale in July
1938 Hurricane in Milford 1955 Flood in Mendon Also, a few pictures have been added to the page
on the 1955 flood in Spindleville.
1978 soccer team - Hopedale House of Pizza
Friends of Adin Ballou Celebration of Peace and Freedom – July 31. Click here for details.
House, preferably with bowlers there, from years ago, for their upcoming reunion. If you can help, reply to
Rededication of a Revolutionary Soldier's Grave on August 20th in Conway.
The Hopedale Band Concert featuring "Drama"scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, has been postponed to
Thursday, July 14.
Here’s another Gordon Hopper article on Hopedale. It’s a brief account of the Draper era in town, from the
days of Ebenezer and George, up to the last days of the general and the governor in the early twentieth
The Draper Era
By Gordon E. Hopper
After the town of Hopedale was separated from Milford in 1886, many efforts were concentrated in
supplying cotton manufacturing firms throughout the world. Ebenezer and George Draper had been in
partnership until 1868, at which time Ebenezer retired from the local firm. General William F. Draper, who
had achieved fame in the Civil War, took his place and the firm name was changed to George Draper and
George Draper died in 1887 (as did his brother, Ebenezer), and after his death the firm included General
Draper and his brothers, George A. and Eben S. Draper. This firm was the selling company for several
other enterprises which later were incorporated under the Draper head.
Near the end of the nineteenth century, the Draper Company started to expand its business by leaps and
bounds with the Northrop automatic loom gaining favor in the textile trade. By 1899, 1500 workers were
employed by the firm and 20 dwellings were being built to accommodate the increasing labor roster. The
number of foundry buildings were being increased and another addition was made to the setting up plant.
At that time, the payroll was in excess of $30,000 each week.
In 1900, preparations were made for further foundry expansion and for the erection of several dwellings on
Prospect Heights. During the same year a new machine shop was constructed and in 1901, the company
earned $1,500,000 – its most successful year up to that time. The boom continued through 1902, when a
night shift was initiated, and a factory was contemplated in England. The Northrop loom, which was
invented by James H. Northrop, continued to gain favor and in 1905, the mills at Fall River adopted its use.
General Draper resigned from the corporation in 1907 and 19 more houses were built in Hopedale that
year. Two years later, a $42,000 addition was built to the shop a little north of the hose house. Two more
additions were built in 1912.
In 1916, the Draper Company became the Draper Corporation with a capitalization of $17,500,000 and
divided into 175,000 shares of common stock.
On many occasions, Governor Eben S. Draper delivered the commencement address at Milford High
School graduations. Governor and Mrs. Draper made the Milford Hospital possible by their gift of $50,000 in
1902. In 1910, the governor and Mrs. Draper gave $20,000 for an addition to the hospital and in 1914, the
sons and daughter of the couple offered to erect a nurses’ home as a memorial for their parents. B.H.
Bristow Draper, Eben S. Draper and Mrs. Dorothy Gannett were the donors of the nurses’ home.
Although General William F. Draper was the active leader in the fight for the separation of Hopedale from
Milford, his widow following his death, remembered the ties that had bound him to Milford by dedicating an
impressive monument located in the heart of Milford. In 1910, Mrs. Draper purchased what is now General
Draper Park from the Congregational Church for $10,000 and presented it to the town together with the
statue which had been created by Daniel Chester French.
On September 25, 1912, the statue was unveiled with more than 15,000 people present at the ceremony.
Congressman Samuel McCall delivered an address, the Sixth Regiment and numerous bands and special
guests attended and a special Pullman car on the Boston & Albany Railroad brought a delegation from
General William Draper was the eldest son on George Draper. He died on January 26, 1909 after serving
in he Civil War and as ambassador to Italy.
Eben Draper became lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts in 1905 and then governor in 1908. He was re-
elected in 1909 and he died suddenly in Greenville, South Carolina in 1914.
Research material used to generate this feature story was furnished by Robin Philbin of Milford. Milford
Daily News, August 3, 1991.