Schoolhouse Built In 1855
Stands As Hopedale Home
by Virginia Cyr
in 1855 and youngsters of that section of Hopedale attended what is referred to as the South Hopedale
School from first through sixth grades.
Upon completion of the sixth grade, these students attended schools in the north section of Hopedale. It
sounds simple but they had to board a trolley and travel to Milford, changing cars in the Pine Street area to
continue to Hopedale center.
This school house still stands and is home for the Lussier family. (Norman and Christina Lussier left the
home in 2010. Norman died in 2011.) It is located on Plain Street near the cemetery owned by the Town of
Hopedale. The first school house for this area was extremely small, according to the records. It stood at
what is now the southeast corner of the cemetery on the land in the cemetery where the Warfield family
lots and monument are located.
It is estimated that the school house was built in 1790 or a little earlier. Its successor was built in 1813 or
1814. Located 10 rods further south, the school house was built at a cost of $300 by Zuriel Howard. Even
at that time, a school building committee was established and Samuel Penniman, Samuel Warfield, Sr.,
and Joel Howard were the members of that committee. Nahum Legg taught the first school there in 1814-
In 1855, the third school, a larger building was built north of the cemetery. Lowell Fales was the
contractor and the land for the school, about three-quarters of an acre cost $60.12. The school house
cost $1,491. The second school house was sold to Joseph Albee for $125 and it was converted to a
The triangular piece of property between Newton and Mellen Streets was known for many years as the
"School House Common," because it had been part of the school's playground. Newton Street is thought
to have been an approach to the oldest school house and for some years after the second school was
built, it was not in use.
At the third school an interesting Memorial Day service was conducted each year. On the nearest school
day to May 30, students were dismissed shortly after the opening of school. They were given permission
to go out and gather wild flowers and to get flowers from families who could spare some from their yards.
The children would then return to school to make up bouquets for the cemetery. In the afternoon, a Civil
War veteran visited and the children offered appropriate recitations and sang songs. The veteran would
then address the youngsters. He distributed small flags to the students who then formed a double line
with each child carrying a flag and a bouquet. Led by the veteran and the teacher, they marched to the
cemetery, singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Each flag and bouquet was carefully placed on a
veteran's grave. Extra bouquets were placed on the graves of people who had no living relatives.
The school was not without library facilities. Bancroft Memorial Library, until the mid-70s always had a
branch library located in the south section of town.
The first branch library was located in the school. As the years went by, women in that section of the
community served as librarians and allowed the branch library to be located in their homes.
Bancroft Memorial Library would have books brought to the branch library, changing the selection
periodically. With transportation becoming easier and easier, residents of the area frequented Bancroft
Memorial Library more and the availability of the branch library became less and less necessary.
At the time of the closing of the branch library, it was located in the home of Bess Thayer on Warfield
Street. Prior to then and for a number of years the branch library was located at the home of Betty Butcher
on South Main Street. Milford Daily News, March 29, 1986
Buildings Menu South Hopedale Menu
A History of South Hopedale HOME
The former South Hopedale School/Lussier home in 2010.