January 15, 2015
Harrison Block, 1984
Hopedale in January
The Freedom Street bridge, 1987 - 88
Tom Malloy (Milford News interview at the time of Tom's retirement as police chief in 1963.
Here's a link to the Mendon section of a site called Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields: Central
Massachusetts. It also includes sections on abandoned fields at Leicester, Grafton, Lancaster,
Westboro and others. Thanks to Paul Doucette and Dick Grady for sending it.
Additions to hope.1842.com during the past two weeks:) Police Department, mid-20th Century
(George Ardill obituary, Chet Sanborn appointed chief.) Fire Department (Timeline) Robinson
Billings (Article on his completion of flight school and officer training.) The Howarth Sisters (A few
more articles about Hopedale's champ swimmers of 1938 - 40.) Francis Wallace (Selected for
Naval Academy Prep School.) G&U Railroad and Trolley Menu (How to get to "the village of
Hopedale, Mass., adjoining the large town of Milford, of which we were formerly a part," in 1903.)
The Northrop Loom (A list of the six inventors of the loom added.) Deaths
Our general expenses have increased by opening an additional school the past year, and will be still
larger when the High School house is to be warmed and cared for. We recommend an appropriation
of five thousand dollars for 1889. For the School Committee, Frank J. Dutcher, secretary.
The planks for use during the winter for skaters and others are kept in order, and where available,
and have again saved at least one life by being provided. Danger signs for use in the skating season
have been furnished by the Park Department, but the Park Commissioners wish it distinctly
understood that the town assumes no responsibility whatever as to safety, and that in view of the ice
cutting and other conditions, skaters and others using the pond during the winter should observe at
least reasonable care. Charles Roper, George Otis Draper, Frank J. Dutcher, Park Commissioners,
Town Report, 1908
Hopedale Landmark Restored
By Virginia Cyr
Daily News Staff
The Harrison building, more well-known to long-time residents as the "drug store," has taken on a
look which makes passersby stop and study its beauty. The building, constructed in 1889, is sporting
a green and off-red striped awning covering the entranceways to the two businesses located on the
first of its three stories.
Above the awning, the familiar Coca-Cola sign is gone and two wooden hand-carved signs indicate
the location of the Hopedale Pharmacy and Anniballi's, a restaurant which took occupancy on one
side of the building. The cream colored trim on the brick building has been replaced with green trim.
The brick, covered with dirt from its years of existence, has been washed at a cost in excess of
$10,000. The second and third floors of the building, which consist of eight apartments has also
undergone extensive work.
Last March, Pat and Thomas Chiacchia, former Natick residents, became the owners of the building.
The pair saw its potential and began working of the property with a goal of embellishing its attributes.
Working toward this goal, they removed boards which had been installed in the late 1940s to cover
the elegant arch windows featured in the apartments. The windows, which front Hopedale Street, now
gleam in the sun's rays and add to the original beauty.
The apartments were always fascinating to visitors because of their Murphy beds. Many a curious
child asked, "Where is the bed?" and were answered with a fascinating demonstration. The bed,
tucked inside what appears to be a closet door, comes out with a slight tug when the door is opened.
Just as quickly, it can be hidden away when visitors ring the door bell. Practical in their day, and
practical in this day of a mobile society.
The Murphy beds were taken out some ten years ago and stored outside the building where they
rusted. The Chiacchia brothers realized their value and went to work with wire brushes and steel
wool, returning them to their original condition. The brothers noted that the quality of the metal from
which they had been manufactured was high which made restoration and re-installation possible.
Oak flooring was refinished to bring out its beauty, and ceiling fans, a feature of the studio
apartments, were also reinstalled during the renovation. Metal ceilings were redone, giving the
building another touch of antiquity. Pat Chiacchia, a financial analyst by profession, has spent recent
years developing real estate in Connecticut. Cosmetic remodeling and restoration has caught his
interest and has become a hobby with him.
Pat, who is now a resident of the Harrison Building, spoke at length about some of the work he and
his brother did and of their research. Pat stated, when discussing the choice of trim, "In our research,
we found that when rose-colored mortar was used in brick construction, green trim was required. The
paint used on the trim is a match of the original paint."
Telling about the awning, Pat noted, "A tall building needs an awning to make it more eye-appealing.
The full-length awning features a rigid frame and it is pitched at such an angle that snow will be not
problem and will not cause it to rip."
Pat was strong in praise of Milford Savings Bank officials who displayed an abundance of interest and
cooperation in helping the new owners restore the building. In fact, Pat and his brother, who had only
passed through the area until they purchased the Harrison Block, have become advocates of the
Hopedale and Mendon sections. Thomas Chiacchia moved here from Natick, purchasing a home on
Taft Avenue in Mendon.
The brothers purchased the building from George Mongiat, owner of Hopedale Pharmacy. Mongiat
opened the pharmacy in 1947 and purchased the building in the 1960s. Long-time residents
remember that Josiah Gibbs operated a drug store in the building before Hopedale Pharmacy came
into existence. One resident spoke of a shoe repair shop having been located there at one time, also.
The restored and refurnished apartments are fully occupied and according to Chicchia there is a long
list of people waiting for vacancies to occur.
The building, thanks to the interest in restoration which the brothers have, is properly attired and
waiting for the celebration of the town's 100th birthday which will be observed in 1986. Milford Daily
News, 1984. Thanks to John Butcher for this article.
I learned from Teri at the assessors' office that the current owner of the Harrison block is McNeal LLC
Now and Then - The Harrison Block Ezine Menu HOME
From the 1921 Town Report