A Walk Through the Parklands
                                          Hopedale Street to the First Bridge

    Starting into the Hopedale Parklands at the road off of Hopedale Street, the first sights are the beach
    and the bathhouse. The beach was created in 1899 and the bathhouse was built in 1904. Swimmers
    were required to sign in before going into the pond and sign out when leaving. Pond attendance
    peaked at 18,387 in 1968.  Up to 1952, the pond extended almost to the road, just north of the
    bathhouse, but it was a very shallow, swampy area, and was filled in that year.

     Walking on a little further, you'll see the Willard Taft marker. Willard lived nearby, at 90 Dutcher Street,
    and spent a great deal of time in the Parklands. In 1987, a logging operation was done with the intent
    of improving the area. Instead, it created something of a mess and a bit of a controversy. Many trees
    along the roadside still show the scars that were left. After the job ended, Willard spent a large
    amount of time cleaning up what had been left there. The Park Department website states, " A major
    brush and deadwood clearing operation in the Parklands was halted when the forestry agent
    representing the town resigned, leaving behind a mess of slash and debris of considerable size."

     Shortly after entering the woods, there's a fork in the road. The main road goes to the right and the
    other path goes to the First Fireplace. It continues through the picnic area and rejoins the main road
    near the Dutcher Street entrance road.

     Wildflowers in this area include blue-eyed grass, within a few feet of entering the wooded area, a
    patch of moneywort near the intersection of the Dutcher Street entrance road and the main road, and
    wild geraniums along the Dutcher Street entrance road. The shore here, as it is along most of the
    pond, is lined mainly with blueberry bushes and sweet pepperbush. Alder, red  maple and
    honeysuckle are also common. Elsewhere in the area, beech, white pine, red maple, witch hazel, wild
    black cherry, several species of oak, gray birch and black birch can be found. There are a few larches
    on the grassy area between the bathhouse and the woods.

     The small bridge with the fieldstone sides, a very short distance north of where the Dutcher Street
    entrance road meets the main road, was built in 1930, replacing an earlier one at that location. The
    brook that flows under it begins behind my house at 49 Inman Street. It goes south behind the next
    four houses, then turns west, just before Tammy Road. At this point it is piped under several yards
    and under Inman and Dutcher streets, emerging just west of Dutcher Street, alongside the Parklands
    entrance road.

                             
Next page: First Bridge to the Second Fireplace       Sports, Park and Pond Menu       

                      
Parklands Map - 1904             1913 Map              Wildflowers of Hopedale               HOME  
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    Shortly after entering the woods, when entering the Parklands by the
    Hopedale Street/Bathhouse entrance, you'll come to a fork in the road. To the
    right is the main road. The path to the left goes through the First Fireplace
    area and continues on, rejoining the main road a few hundred yards on.

    The road to the right, near the middle of the picture, is the
    Dutcher Street entrance road. The main road goes to the left.

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