Hopedale History
    September 1, 2014
    No. 259
    Coal by Rail

    Hopedale in August   

    Television, 1948, Hopedale, Milford and beyond.   

    Should a town have an official song? That's the subject of an August 14 Worcester Gazette article. It
    mainly concerns a song about Millbury, but if you go down near the end of it, you'll find a few sentences
    about two Hopedale songs: Sleepy Little Town, and A Shell.

    Friends of Adin Ballou Peace Picnic on YouTube.   

    North Pond (Hopkinton, Upton, Milford)

    Worcester in the mid-20th century - a slide show on YouTube.

    During the last two weeks, I've added to pages on Parklands HIstory (Boy Scout Eagle project in the
    Parklands)     Bridges of Hopedale Pond (photo of three women in a rowboat by the 1900 version of the
    Rustic Bridge.)     Fitzgerald Drive (Obituaries for each of the three Fitzgeralds honored by the road
    name now on the page.)       Recent deaths   

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    Twenty-five years ago - September 1989 - Hurricane Hugo strikes the Caribbean and the
    southeastern United States.

    F.W. DeKlerk becomes last president of South Africa under apartheid.

    President Bush appeals to Congress and the public for support of his $7.9 billion antidrug plan so the
    war against narcotics can finally be won.

    New classes offered at the Community House this year include safe exercise and country painting on
    wood. There will be no classes in quilting or sewing because of low attendance in recent years.

    A special education policy in Hopedale that would place special needs students on a waiting list has
    drawn criticism from several parents.

    Fifty years ago - September 1964 - The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President
    Kennedy is published.

    The possible acquisition of nearly 20 acres of land on Plain Street for future recreational development
    was discussed by  the Hopedale Conservation Commission last night.

    The Hopedale Housing Authority announced today its housing for the elderly project on Hopedale
    Street will be named the "Richard J. Griffin Apartments" in honor of the sole Hopedale youth to give his
    life in the Korean conflict.

    A happy reunion occurred at Logan Airport on Saturday when Mrs. Herbert Daige met her mother, her
    sister, and her nephew for the first time in 36 years.

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                                                 Delivering Coal By Rail

                                                     By Gordon E. Hopper

    Coal was delivered to the Hopedale Coal and Ice Company and its predecessor, the Hopedale Stable
    Company, by the Grafton and Upton Railroad from around 1900 until 1962.

    M. Russell Dennett, treasurer of the coal and ice firm, told the Milford Daily News several years ago that
    various types of coal were received with the majority being hard coal. He said that the coal business
    peaked between the years of 1920 and 1940.

    During the 1940s, the company received about 200 coal cars each year on the railroad and during the
    1950s, about 123 carloads were received each year. As the use of coal was decreasing, only 18 or 20
    carloads were received each year during the early 1960s. Each coal car carried about 50 tons of coal.
    A long wooden trestle which carried railroad cars to a large coal shed was condemned in 1950 and for
    the next 12 or 13 years, a long conveyor belt running from the bottom of the trestle to various points
    inside the coal shed was used to unload coal cars.

    A five-ton Packard truck purchased in 1912 was used to deliver coal to customers for several years.
    Starting during the early 1900s, the firm operated several large icehouses near the railroad crossing on
    Freedom Street. They were located on the western side of Hopedale Pond, and many men were
    employed there during the ice cutting season each year.

    A Grafton and Upton Railroad spur line ran to the icehouses and trains carried ice mostly to Boston and
    elsewhere to a smaller degree. In 1920, the harvest yielded 12,000 tons of ice. A beautiful home now
    occupies the site of the old icehouses and the railroad siding roadbed is still visible with some difficulty.
    Two Grafton and Upton Railroad employees that worked on trains bringing coal to the firm were Clifton
    A. Temple and his son, F. Wilder Temple, of Upton.

    Clifton Temple was employed by the railroad from 1917 until he retired in 1952. Occasionally he
    worked as station agent at the Grafton Center depot and he was a hosteler at the Hopedale engine
    house for several years, in addition to other years when he worked as a freight brakeman. This was the
    time in railroad history when train braking was done by hand. Temple passed away in 1960.

    F. Wilder Temple came to the Grafton and Upton in 1933 to work as a member of the track
    maintenance crew. Following this, he became a tender, a difficult job because he was continually
    exposed to the elements of rain, snow, ice, heat and cold. His work entailed riding on the outside of the
    electric locomotives then being used and keeping the trolley in contact with the overhead wire.

    Temple then worked for several years as a freight brakeman and the majority of his 35 years with the
    railroad was spent as a freight conductor. For five or six years prior to his retirement in 1968, Wilder
    Temple very capably held the position of trainmaster.

    Both the Temple men were very devoted and capable employees and much respected by their fellow
    workers. Before passing away, Wilder Temple was very proud of a letter received by his father at the
    time of his retirement, written by Harry A. Billings, an official of the railroad.

    Billings not only praised him for his long and faithful service, but complimented him for the devotion to
    duty displayed by his son, F. Wilder Temple. Two men, a father and his son with 70 years devoted to
    railroading - an achievement not soon to be forgotten. Milford Daily News

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Above - G&U electric locomotives. Thanks to Bob Heglund for No. 8.

G&U yard, Hopedale - August 5, 2014