Hopedale History
    September 1, 2013
    No. 235
    Model Town - Conclusion

    Hopedale in August   Pictures taken in town during August, with a few bits of related Hopedale history
    added.

    The Town Hall Spa, 1940 - 1957 - Memories of Don Handley.   

    Here's a link to a collection of photos (over 85,000) put on Flickr by the Boston Public Library. Most of
    them are old pictures and posters of Boston and vicinity. Thanks to Peter Menzke for sending it.

    You've probably noticed by now that there's not as much as usual here. You might be thinking I've been
    loafing. Don't fire me yet. I'm trying to get all of these ezines on my website. I've added about 40 in the
    last few days, and hope to have the rest of them on before long. Here's a link to the menu for them. I've
    also been working on the "obit pages" to get them in better shape, and have added the list from the
    Hopedale High School Alumni Association for the past year.

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    Twenty-five years ago - September 1988 - Hopedale schools, now including the Hartford Avenue
    School, open with over 900 pupils, an increase of 51 over the previous year.

    Selectmen consider not renewing lease to Bob and Shirley Mei for Mei's Diner at Town Hall. 75
    supporters of the Meis show up at meeting. Lease renewed.

    Abatement forms filed by 200 Hopedale property owners, upset about method used in evaluating land
    value.

    Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea.

    NASA resumes Space Shuttle flights grounded since Challenger disaster.

    Fifty years ago - September 1963 - Framework has been started on the housing project for the elderly.
    The completion date is March.

    Olga Till, director of the Over Fifty Club, has issued a bulletin of the years activities, including a lecture
    by a Boston doctor, a trip to Boston to see the movie, Cleopatra, bowling, rug hooking, a bridge class, a
    Great Books discussion group, and possibly one or more cruises.

    Four girls killed in church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Pro football Hall of Fame opens in Canton, Ohio.

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                                   Model Company Town - Conclusion

                                                      By John Garner
                                                             1982

    The following is part of the conclusion to John Garner's Model Company Town. While the book is about
    five company towns, including South Manchester, Connecticut, Peace Dale, Rhode Island, Fairbanks
    Village, Vermont and Ludlow, Massachusetts, the majority of it is about Hopedale.

    Since the mid-nineteenth century, low cost housing has undergone considerable change.
    Improvements in illumination, ventilation, and heating indicate practical if not always aesthetic
    advancements in design. Families of five (the average-sized family in Hopedale) gained nearly three
    hundred square feet of floor space in a twenty-year interval between the mid-1870s and the mid-1890s,
    culminating a trend to larger accommodations realized in most towns except in the houses of the
    poorest families. The average apartment in a double-family house owned by the Draper Company
    contained fourteen hundred square feet. Although less area than provided in conventional houses
    today for middle-income families, it is more than allotted to families of five living in public housing.
    What did not change in Hopedale, or for that matter in most other places right up to the present, is the
    way in which houses were built. Building trades handcrafted houses then as now. Nothing appears to
    have been prefabricated in the Bancroft Park houses designed in 1896 except doors, windows,
    fixtures, and a few items of interior trim. Although housing prefabricators were in business in the
    nineteenth century, they built in limited quantity and rarely in New England. Had companies constructed
    their own houses instead of hiring outside contractors, construction methods might have been
    systematized and the product processed much the same way as a textile loom, a bolt of silk, or a
    bathroom scale. In outward appearance, the company houses built in Hopedale and its cognate towns
    managed to express sensible and sometimes pleasing designs. Whether or not their simple form and
    use of indigenous materials constituted a "national style" of architecture, something sought and partly
    achieved in the late nineteenth century, seems less important in light of other considerations. The case
    for well-designed houses rested not with stylistic motifs but with the use of rational space suited to
    domestic requirements. Furthermore, designing low-cost dwellings forced architects to recognize the
    fundamentals of good housing, In this regard, Hopedale's houses were exemplary.

    Comprehensive design entailing maintenance after construction evolved with company towns like
    Hopedale. A single enterprise controlled construction from beginning to end and was able to
    coordinate physical expansion with business and employment demand. Factories, houses,
    community buildings, and parks existed in a manageable number and adequate ratio to provide jobs,
    shelter, and recreation for workingmen and their families. The desideratum was simply to organize
    building and space economically and yet attract and sufficiently accommodate a large work force to
    facilitate business. Some of the design ideas implanted in these towns have been carried forward to
    the present. Good planning and architecture are timeless, though social and economic motives
    periodically change. As buildable space diminishes, and as metropolitan regions spread outward to
    incorporate small towns, attention to urban development will increase. The model company town, for
    its part, represented a small though seminal achievement in urban design and environmental
    management.

                        
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    Dave Meade, Buzz Tremblay, and Bill Wright
    perform at the annual Friends of Adin Ballou
    peace picnic at Ballou Park. August 6.