August 15, 2011
History of Hopedale Schools, Part 2
Hopedale in August
History of the Mill River History of the Charles River Both papers were written by Doris
Dennett for the Hopedale Community Historical Society. The Mill River article has been added to a
previously posted page with a piece on the river written by Gordon Hopper.
Early Hopedale house, shop and sawmill, with description by Frank Dutcher.
Here’s a much improved version of an 1854 Hopedale map
Milford Gazette articles on the IWW-Draper strike in 1913.
Now and Then – the Post Office
Outdoor Fun Day at the Bancroft Library
Annual maintenance of the General Draper statue – Milford Sunday News – “It’s a gorgeous,
gorgeous piece of art.”
Thanks for the memories.
After reading Part 1 of Rachel Day’s History of Hopedale Schools two weeks ago, Art Holmes sent
the following question: “Was Rachel Day the super great person I remember as "Miss Day"
/Librarian/ supporter of the Arts? The Miss Day I remember gave Helmut Rathman ('48) and
myself (both High School pianists) box seat tickets to three Metropo.” After a little discussion, we
came to the conclusion that that must have been Rachael’s sister-in-law, Lucy Day. Art replied,
“Anyway, the comments I made would have been applicable to either........A wonderful opportunity
and memory.” Thanks Art, for sending that great memory. Click here if you’d like to read the entire
article, along with pictures of the schools, past and present.
History of Hopedale Schools, Part 2
The Milford High School was built and ready for use in 1851. Some pupils from Hopedale
attended until the year 1889 when Hopedale had its own high school. (Actually there are
Hopedale School Committee reports beginning in 1887 that mention Hopedale having a high
school and mentioning graduations. There were two graduates in 1887 and one in 1888. Evidently
some Hopedale students who had started high school in Milford, remained there until they
graduated. As is mentioned below, classes were held in the Hopedale town hall until Hopedale’s
first high school was completed in 1889.) After 1886, when Hopedale became an independent
town, such pupils paid one dollar per week tuition. It is interesting to note that Hopedale’s
founder, Adin Ballou, was on the building committee of the Milford High School.
In 1868, the Hopedale Grammar and Primary Schoolhouse was completed. The description
reads, “It is of wood, one story, with dimensions affording accommodation for both a grammar
and a primary school.” The cost of the site, construction, fixtures, etc., was $5,000. It was built by
the town (the town of Milford, at that time) into whose hands the public school property had by this
time passed. This structure remains as part of the Chapel School, named for the site, designated
by the Hopedale Community as Chapel Square. (Just to be clear on this, there have been three
schools on the block between Chapel and Freedom streets. The first was the chapel and school of
the Hopedale Community. The second was the one referred to in this paragraph, later called the
Chapel Street School, which at some point was enlarged to have two stories. The third, the only
building that remains on the block, was the Dutcher Street School, which is now the Uncommon
The Hopedale High School opened in 1889. Pupils from the town, now independent from Milford,
had been attending the Milford High School, or in some cases, the Hopedale town hall. The new
school had accommodations for fifty pupils. It was the gift of the Hopedale Machine Company,
George Draper and Sons, and the Dutcher Temple Company. The cost was $6,000, exclusive of
land and furnishings. The school was used until the new high school was opened in 1929. The
Roman Catholic Church is now located on this site and uses the remodeled building.
The Dutcher Street School was opened in 1898. At that time it was called the New Grammar
School. This handsome structure of red brick with granite trimmings was erected at a cost of
$40,000. It has been in constant use since its building, with several useful interior alterations.
Seven years later, in October 1915, the Park Street School was ready for use, having cost $37,000,
with the lot valued at $1,000. This school has taken care of the first four grades, sharing this
responsibility with other elementary schools.
In 1928, the General Draper High School on Adin Street was ready for use, and dedicated April 6,
1929. While the building was erected by the town, the lot, formerly the site of the General Draper’s
home, was the gift of the General’s daughter, now Madame Draper-Boncompagni. The following
year, the Memorial room, containing the family library, now the High School library, was decorated
and furnished by Madame Draper-Boncompagni and has been maintained by her ever since.
In 1929, the Hopedale Town Report reads, “The South Hopedale one-room school has gone on
in the usually harmonious and successful manner…” The pupils of the three highest grades had
been attending the Dutcher Street School by bus. However, the school, whose value in 1915 was
estimated at $2,000, was given up and sold for a dwelling place, and is still used as such after
In 1932, Mrs. Frank J. Dutcher, whose husband was long a member of the School Committee,
gave the lot adjoining the high school property as a memorial to Mr. Dutcher. If, at the end of fifty
years the land is not needed for school purposes, it becomes a park.
It is a far cry from the one-room school house built in the year 1709 at a cost of fifteen pounds to
the ultra-modern Hopedale school for which the sum of $375,000 was appropriated in town
meeting. But standards and values have always been of highest New England quality in
Hopedale. Rachel Day, 1954.
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Henry Lillie house, shop and sawmill, somewhere
a bit below the dam at Freedom Street. - c. 1852.