South Hopedale Branch Library
By Betty A. Butcher
E. Smith, wife of Arthur F. W. Smith. They resided at 267 South Main Street. After having the
library for five months, Mrs. Smith moved from town and Miss Angeline Dewing, who resided on
Hartford Avenue just off South Main Street, took it over until 1904. After a short period of time
with Miss Dewing, the branch was temporarily closed. It reopened in 1910, back in the home of
Books from the main library were periodically rotated, and also during this period of time books
were sent down to the South Hopedale grammar school which was located at 50 Plain Street.
The building is now (2009) the home of Norman and Christina Lussier. (The school was next to
the South Hopedale Cemetery. It was razed in 2017.) Mrs. Smith was the South Hopedale
Branch librarian from March 1903 until August 1904, and then from September 1910 until she
passed away in January 1924.
On February 1, 1924 Miss Adeline A. Caldwell became the new branch librarian. The library
was located at 1 Warfield Street, in the home now occupied by Paul and Rosemary Blatz. For
fifty weeks of each year Miss Caldwell opened her home every Thursday so that residents
living in the southern part of Hopedale might borrow books, periodicals and have the use of
reference volumes. Every so many weeks, books, both adult and children’s, were exchanged
with the main Bancroft Memorial Library in the center of Hopedale so that the branch was kept
up to date on the latest arrivals plus revolving of the older selections.
Miss Caldwell held this position for the next 25 years, retiring February 1, 1949. At this time her
neighbor, Mrs. Constance “Connie” Jones, living at 2 Mellen Street, became the new branch
librarian. She kept Thursdays as branch library day. Connie remained the librarian for the next
14 years until her retirement on July 1, 1963. Connie, as she was known to all, welcomed
organized groups of children such as the Campfire Girls or a Boy Scout Troop to her quaint
home that was built in 1735. (The home has since been razed.) This home was crammed with
lore - silver spoons imprinted with Indian symbols and a showplace of her many souvenirs from
foreign countries. Connie loved the many story hours she had for the younger children who
were unable to enjoy the ones uptown at the Bancroft Memorial Library due to no
transportation. Very few families owned two cars and you could safely walk the back roads and
South Main Street during this period of time.
Connie, having known me practically since I was born, knew I enjoyed reading, meeting people,
was home raising two children and resided at 364A South Main Street, which in her opinion
would be an ideal central location for the branch library. Therefore, on August 1, 1963, I was
appointed the new branch librarian by the trustees of the Bancroft Memorial Library. For the
next ten years I enjoyed being the librarian, with the branch being open now every Tuesday.
During this period of time I met and was associated with many wonderful adult readers, children
of the neighborhood and their parents, exchanging books with patients at Hopedale Garden
Nursing Home who enjoyed reading, and exchanging reading materials with families that had a
homebound child or parent who resided in the South Hopedale area.
My brother-in-law, Butch, made me a beautiful wooden BRANCH LIBRARY sign that was
installed at the entrance to our driveway. This sign was used by many of the residents in this
area on South Main Street for years as a guide, until one day we noticed that it had been
stolen. By this time and since most everyone down in South Hopedale knew where the branch
library was, I never replaced the sign. On September 1, 1973, I resigned as the branch
librarian. I was now employed by the Milford Area Visiting Nurse Association, and even though
the library was only one day a week I had to leave my teenage daughters in charge until I got
home and this wasn’t to my liking.
The same day I resigned, the library trustees appointed Mrs. Elizabeth “Bess” Thayer of 25
Warfield Street the new South Hopedale branch librarian. Bess held this position until the
branch library was closed on June 30, 1977 due to a decline in readership of all age groups.
The elementary students have a library in the Memorial School, the older students have a
library in the High School and now with most families living in this area having two cars, access
to the main library in town was not a problem. Also many preschoolers in this day and age have
their own preschool library at home plus are able to be transported to the main library for
books or story hours.
Most of this information for this account of the South Hopedale Branch Library was obtained
from researching yearly editions of the librarians reports as shown in the yearly Hopedale Town
Reports. Also information was obtained from the U S Census of 1900, 1910 and 1920.
Betty later sent me the following about the locations
Now about those pictures. (Referring to the ones I should take and add to this page.) 267
South Main Street where the first library was, was later John and Lucy DeLuca's house. Do not
know the people living there now. Paul Blatz's house (1 Warfield Street - Adeline Caldwell) is
still intact, but Connie Jones's house has been town down and a new larger house built on its
site. Of course I'm still here and Bess Thayer's is on Warfield Street. The second branch that
Miss Dewing had I think is the house on Hartford Avenue right after the old Green Store on the
corner that is now a church. It's where the Smalls live at 140 Hartford Avenue, Hopedale
I asked Betty about the picture of the sign at the top of the page. Here's her reply.
No, I do not know anything about that sign but it wouldn't surprise me that it was the original
and posted on South Main Street and then went on to Miss Caldwell's (Blatz's) house and then
on to Connie just down the street. It never came here, and the beautiful wooden one that my
brother-in-law made was stolen. I do not have a picture of it. I've searched all our pictures of
that period of time that I had the library but no such luck. Got pictures of this house but not of
the sign. Sure wish I did.
Bancroft Library HOME
of Connie Jones, 2 Mellen Street, built in 1735, now gone, that
housed the South Hopedale Library from 1949 to 1963.
Mellen and Warfield streets - It was also the South
Hopedale Branch Library from 1924 to 1949. The
picture and Miss Caldwell's memories of her twenty-five
years with the library in her home are from the
Hopedale history collection of the Bancroft Library. Her
recollections are near the bottom of this page.
branch library was posted.
Susan Butcher Mulhern - I remember so well when the library was in our home. We still
have some of the book shelves in that area that my father had built for the library.
John Gagnon - The last was the Thayer's House. Warfield Street.
Susan Butcher Mulhern - Yes - we had the library from 63-73 and then it went to the
Thayer’s house. My sister and I had to cover the library after school until my mother got
home from work.
Lorraine Olson I remember when Mrs. Thayer would pick up and deliver books for me when
I was home with my daughter and no vehicle! Talk about perks!
Ann Harris Wolfe - I used to go there all the time. I got a lot of Nancy Drew Mysteries there!
It was wonderful.