Hopedale History
    June 1, 2013
    No. 229
    Utopia to Company Town

    Hopedale in May   I’d like to tie in the “month pages” with Hopedale history, so on the May page I have
    quotes from about a century ago below three pictures they relate to. The neighboring towns photos for
    May are of historic markers along Main Street, Milford

    Before there was Beebe River, there was Draperville. Thanks to Wendy Sullivan for this interesting
    find.

    Hannah Thwing (Draper) Osgood.   

    Helen Draper.   




    The death of Darwin Daniel Draper –Since I put this story on my Hopedale site a few weeks ago,
    John Cembruch sent me a bit more about it, including that his brother was there when the accident
    occurred, and ran to the only house in the neighborhood that had a phone. John drew a map of the
    area which also shows where the first Draper Field was.

    During the past two weeks, I’ve made additions to pages on Donald Midgley     Skeet Shooting, and
    Nipmuc Rod & Gun Club     Beebe River     James Northrop     Boarding Houses     Comments on
    hope1842     General Draper Library     Fanny Osgood     Adin Ballou Park     Old Dam and Pond West
    of the Dump     Quinsigamond River     Now and Then – Roper Shop, 25 Northrop Street     Dump
    capping project     ( I suppose that’s the old-fashioned term. I should say landfill capping project.)     

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    Twenty-five years ago – June 1988 – NASA scientist James Hansen testifies to the Senate that man-
    made global warming had begun.

    Mei’s diner in the Town Hall may have to close, as town officials consider converting the space into
    administration offices.

    A Milliville man claims that Police Chief Edward Allard used excessive force after he was stopped for
    an alleged traffic violation in Mendon. (Allard was assisting Mendon police.)

    Elementary school principal, Roger Morrell, teacher Hazel Vignone, cafeteria staff member Hilda
    Hammond, and custodian Francis Coffey honored at their retirement by the Hopedale Teacher’s
    Association.

    Fifty years ago – June 1963 – Pope John Paul XXXIII dies.

    Alabama Governor George C. Wallace stood in the door of the University of Alabama to protest
    against integration, and blocked James Hood and Vivian Malone from enrolling as the first African
    American students at the University.

    Medgar Evers, a 37-year old African-American civil rights activist, was shot and killed while standing
    in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi.

    President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in front of the Berlin
    Wall in West Berlin.

    Hopedale High School baseball team wins 13th consecutive game. Dave DiGirolamo pitches 6-0 win
    over Millis. (June 4) Hopedale beats Norton 8-7 with Jim Stock pitching to retain Tri-County League
    title. (June 7)

    Special Town Meeting votes for permanent paving of Hope Street Bridge. $82,000 project to be
    financed with ten-year bond.

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    In 1991, Anita Cardillo Danker wrote a paper that covered a century and a half of Hopedale history.
    Below, you’ll see the final few paragraphs. Click here if you’d like to read the entire paper.

                                             Utopia to Company Town

    After the turn of the century as the work force of the Draper Company increased in number and
    changed in composition from Yankee to immigrant, industrial relations soured. Eben Daper, son of
    George and younger brother of William, served as governor of Massachusetts from 1909 to 1911 and
    twice vetoed an eight-hour day bill for state employees. His veto messages, as recorded in the Acts
    and Resolves of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, clearly reveal his bias in favor of owner over
    operative. Accurately perceived as anti-labor, he was a presiding officer of the company in 1913 when
    a local socialist, Joseph Coldwell, and members of the IWW organized disenchanted immigrant
    workers and orchestrated a bitter, violent, and unsuccessful strike against the Draper Company.
    Extensive coverage of this tragic slice of labor history can be found on the pages of the Milford Daily
    News (March-November, 1913) and ultimately ended with the triumph of capitalist over laborer. Yet
    even as the strike raged, the Drapers launched plans for new housing projects and ironically
    awarded contracts to an area construction firm which had hired many of the strikers who had lost
    their places. Company directors were undoubtedly well aware of what they were doing – taking care
    of the locals as they had always done, and as always they did so on their own terms.

    In the years that followed this strike, the company flourished, and the family buried the memories of
    the event so deeply that the story has been neglected by history and nearly forgotten by the local
    residents. During the world wars, the Draper Corporation manufactured equipment that wove the
    cloth that outfitted the men in uniform and d=fashioned the machine tools that turned out the
    instruments of death. Thus the community founded on the principles of pacifism grew rich on the
    materials of war.

    Hopedale today is an attractive, unusually quiet community of less than five thousand residents.
    Draper has gone, selling out to North American Rockwell in 1967, not long after the work force finally
    unionized. Rockwell lasted little more than a decade, but the town has survived with many
    newcomers finding employment in the high tech boom industries of the 1980s. A glance at the
    names of elected and appointed town officials reveals a healthy ethnic mix with the nationalities so
    active in the 1913 strike well represented. Area residents seem to know little of the chaotic bitter days
    when their ancestors took on the Drapers and were brought down so ruthlessly by the barons of the
    realm. Their losses were transitory, for ultimately they achieved the security, respect, and community
    they sought so desperately in 1913 when Hopedale was a company town.

    The once mighty Draper mill, “world’s largest manufacturer of automatic looms,” is nearly empty now,
    a huge brick fortress that sprawls uncomfortably across the heart of the downtown area with the
    statue of Adin Ballou erected by William Draper poised majestically across the street. Two integral
    pieces of Hopedale’s unique history face each other in quiet testimony to the busy, colorful eras past
    when the likes of abolitionists Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison, and labor leaders Carlo
    Tresca and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn passed through the town to touch bases with the powerful forces
    of reform that found expression there. A handful of residents of the area today, when asked what
    future they would wish for the abandoned Draper complex, proposed such projects as affordable
    housing, a community college campus, and a mall of small shops and businesses. Adin Ballou
    might be pleased to learn that the wisps of his utopian spirit can still be spotted on the streets of the
    resilient community he founded in faith nearly a century and a half ago. Anita Cardillo Danker,
    Framingham, Massachusetts, 1991.

                                              
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