January 15, 2013
If I Were Building a Village
Hopedale in January
Obituary and words of remembrance for Jeanne Kinney – Jeanne was the founder of the Friends of
In a December 7, 1944 article in the Milford Daily News, T-Sgt Charles Stewart of Hopedale was
reported killed in action. Actually Stewart survived when his plane was shot down, and died in
Shrewsbury last week. Here’s the reason that his foster family, the McVittys, were told that he had
Hopedale in 2012 – A slideshow on YouTube
Snow in Hopedale – the 1940s and 1950s
More on the Rosenfeld Company from Paul Butcher. This one is on accidents involving Rosenfeld
Floods in Hopedale – 1927, 1938, and especially 1955 – most from Spindleville.
Memories of the Pond and Cox families of Mendon by Elaine Malloy.
Carl Miner – obituary,1960.
During the past two weeks I’ve made additions to pages on Susan Preston Draper William
Lapworth George Otis Draper Lilliputian weddings (Community House, 1940s) Charles
Roper Dredging Hopedale Pond
Friends of Upton State Forest Winter 2013 Newsletter
If I Were Building a Mill Village
The following paragraphs are from a booklet titled If I Were Building a Mill, which was a reprint of
contest entries submitted to the Southern Textile Bulletin in 1921. Of course the mill village was a
minor part of the articles, but for the present purpose, it’s probably the part of most interest. There’s no
way to know if the gentlemen submitting entries would really have built villages similar to what they
wrote about, if they had the opportunity. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see what they considered
would be the ideal place for mill workers and their families to live.
The houses should be of the 3 and 4 room cottage type and of sufficient number to avoid crowding too
many hands in one house. The houses should have front and back porches, with running water in
them and a sanitary toilet and bath on the back porches. The houses, where possible, should have 30
feet of space between, with lots 75 feet deep. This makes an ideal garden plot and flowers can be
planted between house, keeping all weeds and vegetable matter away from front of houses and
No village is complete without a house of worship, where mills are not near a city. When near cities,
the mill churches are usually worked as missions and there are many mill people who do not want to
go to city churches because their personal appearances do not measure up to the styles. I have seen
instances in churches where the mill people were looked upon as being foreign and people did not
want to get too close to them. In every mill village, a good kindergarten for the grown people as well as
the children is a great help, for they learn many things they otherwise would not, as they do not come
in personal contact with the world as the average persons do. T. W. Harvey, Millen, Georgia.
In the village I would build 3, 4, 5 and 6-room houses, bungalow type, single story, with fireproof roofs,
each home to have water and light, and built on a plot of ground 100 x 200 feet and each enclosed by
fence. Each house would have bath, sink, lavatory and stool. When repairs were necessary from
carelessness of tenants they would be charged with part of repair cost.
The village would have the following public buildings: Two churches, union, one school building
graded for eight grades, one community building. The latter would have an auditorium for moving
pictures and lectures; gymnasium which would also serve as dancing floor and skating rink; reading
room for all; bowling alley, shower baths and banquet room.
A community garden would be planted each year for boys and girls under 16 years and prizes
awarded for the best plots. Seeds, tool, fertilizers would be furnished by the company and planting and
cultivating directed by an employee of the company.
A community greenhouse would be maintained by the company for the preservation of pot flowers of
the employees, and plants and flowers would also be sold for gardening and beautifying. A civic
league would be formed and maintained in the village for the purpose of eliminating undesirable
tenants and to stimulate hygienic and social conditions. J. W. Gibson, Atlanta, Georgia
This is a part that should be considered well, as the class and contentment of the operatives
determines to a great extent the profits of a mill. I would build substantial houses of 3, 4 and 5 rooms.
I would build a number of 3-room houses, as they are in demand more now than any other size
house. W. H. Gibson, San Antonio, Texas.
At this point I’m just going to use just a sentence or two from a few more entries. Otherwise it would be
getting repetitious with many more references to number of rooms, lot size, electricity, etc.
On the outer edge of the village there would be the wash stations. One station to a given number of
families for the family wash.
I would want them to have a progressive environment. Then people who would do well for themselves
would do well for me.
I would have rules in regard to the care of the premises posted in each house. I would read the rules
to all help before they moved in and thereby have a definite understanding for maintaining all
premises in good order.
I would erect a community building for the secret orders of both the men and women and a well
furnished club room for the amusement of the boys and girls. I would also install swimming pools,
having them separate for the boys and girls.
I would build a day nursery to take care of the children whose mothers worked.
I would build two churches, one Baptist, one Methodist, one laundry run by the company; also an ice
plant to furnish ice at a reasonable price.
I would leave 24 feet space between houses to lessen the danger of fire. This would enable me to get
cheaper fire insurance.
I would place garbage cans at the rear of each house in order that the premises might be kept as neat
and clean as possible.
If capital prevented installing a sewer system at the time of building, arrangements would be made as
to make it possible at a future time.
The first prize winner of the contest was D. W. League of Greenville, South Carolina. He limited his
suggestions for the village to one sentence. “The village should be of modern type with special
attention given to sanitary, lighting, social and spiritual features.”
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