January 15, 2014
Mergers that Ruin
Hopedale in January
Want to become an expert on Hopedale architecture? Of course you do. Start here at the National
Register Nomination Menu.
Now and Then - The Park Street School / Bright Beginnings.
Judy Belben has spent a lot of time in the Parklands over the past few years, and has taken hundreds of
pictures there. Lots of great stuff. Here are some of them on YouTube.
Additions to website pages in the last two weeks include: Town Hall (National Register Nomination
information) Unitarian Church (NRN) The Harel House (Article on the building of the Osgood house,
later known as the Harel House, in 1911.) Sacred Heart Church (More on early plans for a Catholic
church in Hopedale. This addition is a 1911 article. Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for this and the
Harel House/Osgood article.) Fire Department history, part 1 (NRN) Fire Department history, part 2
(Pictures added) Community House (NRN) High School (NRN) Police Department (Photos from
the fifties.) Recent deaths
part of a "Google translate" project. They may be doing other languages, also, but so far I've only seen
the Italian version. Of course, being a computerized translation, some of it comes out a bit strange, but
it's kind of interesting to see. Here's a link to the homepage.
It is too late for the Draper Corporation to raise the question of American citizenship, as they have been
notorious in displacing American with foreign labor for the simple reason that they could hire these poor
foreigners cheaper than American citizens. But it is not a question of citizenship or nationality. It is a
question of humanity, of wages and conditions. Joseph M. Coldwell, strike leader, 1913 strike at the
Draper Company in Hopedale
The Dutcher Street School, in a state of abandonment for five years, could come to life again as living
quarters. If plans submitted by W.C McLay Associates of Holliston are approved by the Zoning Board of
Appeals, the building, built in 1898, and described by many people as "having character," will be
converted into 13 condominium units. Milford Daily News, February 26, 1986.
Rockwell Draper Takeover Subject of Merger Story
By Virginia Cyr
HOPEDALE - "Corporate Mergers That Ruin Cities" was the title of a story that appeared in the
December 27 edition of the Washington Post. The story was written by Neal Peirce and dealt with
conglomerates and their effect on businesses which they swallow up. The article contained information
on the Rockwell takeover of the former Draper Corporation and the effect that the takeover had on the
way of life in the town of Hopedale.
The information was taken from Congressional files containing testimony heard in Washington when
Bernard Stock, administrative coordinator to the Board of Selectmen, Town Counsel Atty. Robert S.
Phillips and Ben Phillips traveled there at the request of the commission conducting a study.
The article's author noted that Alfred Dougherty, then director of the Federal Trade Commission's
bureau of competition, told the study subcommittee, "A conglomerate, lacking community loyalty, can
simply write off a line of business, a plant, a work force, or a whole community and can turn its attention
elsewhere, leaving others to pick up the pieces."
That statement perhaps is the best summary to date, of what people in the town of Hopedale felt and
stated when Rockwell did that to the town that had been the envy of many other towns for many years.
Rockwell took over and the company town and its paternalistic establishment disappeared, bit by bit.
The item in the Washington Post stated that one of the most disturbing stories told at the commission
hearings came from Hopedale. Town Administrator Bernard Stock told of how Draper Corporation which
had employed 2,400 of the town's 4,000 residents used to contribute 30 percent of the town's property
taxes. Founded in the 19th century, Draper Corporation had built the Town Hall, high school, country
club, airport, railroad, sewage plant, and even donated land for the town cemetery.
Stock went on to tell the commission that, "In 1967 Rockwell acquired Draper Corporation." He told of
how the executive staff was moved to Pittsburgh. He said, "We no longer had someone in the town of
Hopedale who could make a decision on company-town related problems. Research, development and
maintenance staffs were cut to the bone. The building began to deteriorate. Some $30-40 million of
Draper corporate savings were transferred to the parent company. Managers were rotated through the
plant. The factory was gradually closed down, its workers discharged. The town lost hundreds of
thousands of dollars in property taxes. They made a valiant attempt to run a business they knew nothing
about and they took the business and us, the Town of Hopedale down with them," Stock said.
Peirce, author of the Washington Post article concludes by stating, "Perhaps the time has come for a
new patriotism; one that recognizes, as the House Small Business Committee suggested, that the
national interest may better be served by strengthening the role of independent businesses in the
economy, as they are the most productive, the most innovative and the most prolific job-generating
sector." Milford Daily News, January 4, 1983
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Photos from Hopedale Pond and the Parklands by Judy Belben