Remains of the car path in Hopedale, near Draper Field.

    Hopedale History
    November 15, 2012
    No. 216
    Remains of the Trolley Path

    Hopedale in November   

    Council on Aging Breakfast for Veterans.   

    Unidentified World War II vets photos – Can you help?

    Chestnut Hill Meeting House   

    The G&U Railroad, Past and Present by Gordon Hopper, 1978.

    The Home School – the boarding and day school of the Hopedale Community.

    During the last two weeks I’ve made additions to several web pages including Now and Then – The
    Dutcher Street School     Hopedale Chronology       The Uxbridge-Hopedale Connection     Pistol, Rifle
    and Skeet Shooting      Mill Town or Shop Village?     Trains in Hopedale this fall     
           
    Baron Emile de Cartier de Marchienne was the husband of Alice Draper Colburn and the son-in-law
    of George and Hannah Draper. Thanks to Debbie Carnaroli for sending a link to this Wikipedia page
    on him. He died in London in 1946. Here’s a link to a video of his funeral, which appears to have
    been quite a big deal.

    For candy lovers, sent by Victoria Regina, a history of the NECCO Company.

                                                                     <><><><><><><><><><>

    When I was in fifth grade, the Hall family at the corner of Northrop and Oak streets moved to Mendon.
    Their oldest son, Billy, was a good friend of mine. During a school vacation, not long after the move,
    five or six of us decided to visit him. Since he was living on North Avenue, close to where the trolley
    tracks, or “car path” came out, we decided that would be the way to go. We took our bikes, but I don’t
    think we rode much of the distance. Most of the ties were still there and the path was pretty rough. The
    bridge that had crossed Muddy Brook had collapsed long before our trip, so we had to drag the bikes
    down into the remaining jumble of stones and cross as best we could, while trying not to get too wet. I
    think we must have had a good visit with Billy, and maybe with his brothers Wayne and Galen also,
    but I can’t say that I remember it as well as I remember the trip over there. Here’s an article by
    Gordon Hopper on the trolley line, written almost twenty-five years after we traveled over it.

                                     Trolley Line Between Hopedale and Uxbridge

                                                                    By Gordon E. Hopper

    Comments received from a previous historical feature relating to the loss of what had once been a
    street car private right-of-way in Holliston has resulted in a search of the former electric car line
    between Hopedale and Uxbridge for additional losses being caused by changing times.

    Starting on Freedom Street at the former Draper complex, a pair of stone abutments remain on the
    shores of Hopedale Pond where a steel bridge had carried streetcars across a portion of the pond
    for nearly 40 years.

    Streetcars traveling toward Uxbridge, after leaving the bridge, crossed the tracks of the Grafton and
    Upton Railroad and after going up a slight grade and a curve, made a long run toward North Avenue
    in Mendon on what is believed to have been one of the longest straight runs on the Milford & Uxbridge
    car line.

    Although the tracks were pulled up some 55 years ago, some sections of the roadbed have
    remained visible until construction of various types have caused their disappearance. What had once
    been a land cut and grade on the roadbed near the Grafton & Upton Railroad crossing adjacent to the
    large Draper building, has been reworked by earth equipment to now include a buried sewer line, It is
    not known whether or not this will become a new street.

    After the sewer line crosses a stone-walled brook, the roadbed curves into an area where new
    homes are presently under construction. The trolley roadbed separates from the sewer line on this
    curve and enters another area where the roadbed had been cut through some elevated land. Fallen
    trees lay across the land cut today with enough room under them to still walk on the old roadbed.
    After passing through some improved land, the roadbed crosses Westcott Road, a new street
    located in a large development of new homes. The roadbed becomes wet and is visible for a short
    distance at the rear of homes on nearby Ballou Road, another new street in the development here
    that is called “Neckwood at Eight Rod Road.” (Now there’s a bit of Hopedale trivia for you. Maybe that
    was a little too wordy so they settled on Pinecrest instead.)

    According to Mrs. George Howarth, who lives on Eight Rod Road, the street and a trail in the area had
    been a section of the old Hartford Turnpike.

    The roadbed continues toward North Avenue and crosses a natural gas pipeline owned by the
    Tennessee Gas Company. A few hundred feet further and a metal pipe that carries Muddy Brook
    under the roadbed is crossed. While the trolleys were in operation, there had been a small bridge at
    this stream and a portion of one of its stone abutments remains in place.

    The roadbed runs up a grade again, and through a cut in the land that includes stone walls. Gravel
    repairs have been made on this grade and the road is used by equipment engaged in a logging
    operation.

    Starting at a point on North Avenue near a high voltage electric line, several hundred feet of the
    roadbed has become driveways to homes owned by Albert and Dennis Shaheen. John J. Porter, who
    lives at 33 North Avenue, confirmed the location of the electric car right-of-way in this area and
    traveled a portion of it with the writer.

    None of the roadbed is recognizable from North Avenue, but when Lake Nipmuc is reached a portion
    of it can be seen. It appears to be an embankment that was built as a filled-in area along a section of
    the lake’s shoreline. Some stone work beside the highway opposite the entrance to the Myriad
    Ballroom cannot be identified.

    Approaching Wheelockville (a village in Uxbridge) from Mendon on Route 16, a pair of granite block
    abutments remain in place on the north side of the highway where a trolley bridge once crossed
    Rock Meadow Brook. A long length of roadbed is still recognizable near the abutments. At
    Wheelockville near the old mill on Route 16, a short, but complete concrete bridge on the trolley
    roadbed remains on its abutments across the West River.

    Approaching the Stanley Woolen Mill in Uxbridge from Milford, but on the opposite side of the
    highway, no signs remain of a long wooden trestle which once crossed the wetlands. However, a
    short distance further on toward the center of Uxbridge, a single stone abutment remains where the
    car line crossed the Blackstone River together with a length of roadbed. Milford Daily News, January
    10, 1987

                                                 
 Milford Journal articles on the M&U Street Railway                 

                First trip of the Milford & Uxbridge Street Railway           Another Hopper article on the M&U     

                                               
Hopedale History Ezine Menu                            HOME   

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Trolley bridge over Hopedale Pond.

    The ground at the middle of this picture rises a bit above the
    snow-covered lawn in the foreground, where it was graded
    for the trolley tracks, between the bridge and Soward Street.

    You can just barely see the trolley path about a third of the way up from
    the bottom in this picture. It's in Mendon near the intersection of Route 16
    and Old Taft Avenue. About 100 feet or so of the path has survived here.

    Trolley cut in Mendon across from Alicante Restaurant.
    (For those of you who haven't been in the area for several
    decades, that's where Millie Mitchell's was.)

    This appears to be the location on the Blackstone River in Uxbridge
    described by Hopper in the last sentence of his article below.

    Trolley tie remains uncovered during the repaving of
    Soward, Progress and Lake streets during the summer of
    2010. Thanks to John Gagnon for sending the pictures.
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