October 1, 2011
The Statue of Hope
Hopedale in September
Denise Moroney – Memories of growing up in Spindleville.
Dana Cutter – From Duffy’s Diner pot scrubber to class president to honors in Chicopee.
Fanny Osgood - A couple of items have been added to the bottom of the page on Hopedale greatest
golfer of the early twentieth century.
I’ve added an article about the opening of the Bright Oak Club to my page on the Bright Oak and the
Italian Club. Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for pointing it out to me when we were both at the library
a few days ago.
Hopedale baseball – early twentieth century.
Alcohol in Hopedale – a brief history.
Thanks to Peter Metzke for sending this link to a Blackstone Daily page which has links to pages of
Uxbridge history, and this one from the 1872 Massachusetts Register: Talking of Canals. Another
excellent page with loads of information on the history of this area was done by Paul Hutchinson on
the George Washington Presidential Trail.
A little note from the Friends of Adin Ballou. Get Adin's Tweets. Follow AdinBallou on Twitter.
Draper strike of 1913 page, now with a picture of Emilio Bacchiocchi, killed in the strike, added to the
page. Again, thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for directions to the gravestone, which has a picture of
Bacchiocchi on it.
The Statue of Hope
It was while the Drapers (General William F. and Susan Draper) were living in Rome that an idea long
simmering in Mrs. Draper’s mind of presenting a suitable memorial to the town reached fruition.
Being well acquainted with the eminent sculptor, Waldo Story, she took his advice and engaged him
to design a fountain surmounted by a statue of Hope. The necessary delays and the execution of the
work took two years but at last the fountain was in place.
When the library was dedicated a house stood where Hope Street and the fountain now are. It was
where Elizabeth Humphrey, the artist, had lived then occupied by a Dr. Fish. When the house was
taken down to make way for the street and bridge, it made possible room for the fountain.
A committee was appointed at a town meeting to accept Mrs. Draper’s gift. The presentation took
place in the trustees’ room in the library on November 12, 1904 with Gen. and Mrs. Draper and Miss
Margaret Draper present. Mrs. Draper presented the gift in gracious words and it was accepted for the
town by Mr. Darling, chairman of the selectmen.
Although “beauty is its own excuse for being,” the gift was designed primarily as a drinking fountain
for man and beast and was so used for many years. The water that flowed from Medusa’s mouth
filled the upper bowl and ran over into the lower bowl as planned where dogs might drink. There were
two glass tumblers resting in metal holders fastened to the marble that caught the water first.
An iron box sunk in the ground between the fountain and the library was planned to be filled with ice
which would cool the water in the pipes running around the sides of the box. The ice was never
provided but the town, however, and the frequent users of the fountain made no protest. When
Massachusetts passed a law forbidding public drinking cups, for short time individual cups were
tried. That did not work out satisfactorily and was given up.
Although the original purpose of the fountain is no longer fulfilled, we can still take vast pride in the
beauty of its design that gave Hopedale a distinction held perhaps by no other New England village of
The fountain arrived from Italy in many numbered wooden boxes; each piece of marble was
numbered and all was fitted together like a picture puzzle.
The figure of Hope, surmounting the fountain, is not only appropriate but beautiful and graceful. With
her head very slightly inclined she seems to be making sure the cornucopias are full and spilling over
with the plenty wished for Hopedale. The festoons of fruit, wheat and acorns are decorative and
I was intrigued by thoughts of possible symbolism on the different designs but could find practically
nothing on that subject. Dolphins wee used in early Christian art as emblematic of swiftness,
diligence and love but I expect by the time the fountain was made they had become so commonly
associated with water that their use had no other significance.
In ancient times the eagle was often considered as the symbol of the soul’s flight after death. This
might by a series of thought be tied in with hope. At any rate, the eagles occupy a prominent place at
either side of the fountain.
I’m confident Miss Sornberger, who was the librarian when the fountain was erected, would not object
to my quoting a bit from her letter to me. She said, “Of all the carving, the eagles were the finest to my
mind. For a year or more, their feathers cut from Carrara marble appeared as soft as down. It couldn’t
keep so in our harsh New England climate. My own private belief is that many helpers did the carving
from Story’s design, but that the master himself carved those birds’ feathers.”
Medusa I do not find so easy to rationalize. If, as was suggested, she was chosen for the graceful
curves of her snaky hair, I venture the opinion equally beautiful curves might have been found in some
other designs. But this does not lessen my admiration of the fountain. The broken eagles’ beaks and
other ravages of time, weather and possibly small boys I deplore greatly and hope sincerely the
fountain will remain for a long time. Margaret J. Woodhead.
Mrs. Woodhead was an active member of the Hopedale Community Historical Society and wrote a
number of papers such as the one above, probably including some of the anonymous ones in the
society file at the library. Her name is familiar to me, as the grandmother of my classmate in the
Hopedale High Class of 1959, Tony Labella. She lived at 26 Bancroft Park.
I used to hear about the Statue of Hope pretty much daily in 2000-2001. My wife, Elaine, was the
director of the Bancroft Library at that time, and the restoration of the statue was her last big project
before she retired. The problems dealing with the funding and the work went on and on, but on the
last day before her retirement she brought the completion report to the Massachusetts Historical
Commission. The report was in a four-inch three-ring binder and she wasn't about to mail it, so I
joined her and we took the trip to Boston with it. Probably no one will ever look at it. As to the funding,
I've forgotten some of the details, but I recall that $40,000 came from the state, some from the town, a
major donation from the Hopedale Foundation, and there were many private donors. The total cost
was about $100,000. Without the work, the statue would have been beyond repair before too long.
Now with its winter cover and annual maintenance work, it should survive for many years.
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Hope in Waldo Story's studio in Rome - 1903.
This photo shows the condition of part of the statue in 2000. Most
of the statue was in equally bad shape at that time.
The Statue of Hope in 2002.