Hopedale Town Hall Built In 1887
By Gordon E. Hopper
George Draper, Sr., the building was presented to the town by his children as a memorial to him.
The building was built from blocks of Milford granite with Longmeadow brownstone trimmings and is
built in the Romanesque style of architecture. Its outside dimension measures 69 by 75 feet. At the time
of its dedication it included a basement, it is two stories high and it has a large hall under the roof. In the
basement there are two rooms, storerooms, heating equipment and closet
On the street level there is room for two stores and the main entrance to the Town Hall. Above this is
an audience hall with a seating capacity of 350 people and a stage that measures 24 by 52 feet. Above
this is a large hall that covers the full extent of the building.
Construction plans were drawn by Fred Swasey, an architect, and the building was erected by Mead,
Mason & Co. of Boston at an expense of about $40,000
Exercises on the dedication day started with an outdoor concert by the Milford Brass Band. This ran
from 10 to 11 o'clock and at that time, Gen. William F. Draper called the gathering to order and Rev. Adin
Ballou invoked the divine blessing.
The Weber quartet of Boston sang "Nearer My God to Thee," after which Gen. Draper made the
Gen. Draper said that he regretted the fact that his father did not live to preside over the occasion. He
said that his father had planned, built and paid for the new building and that the occasion seemed
incomplete without him. "His memory, however, is with us and will last while this granite structure
endures to serve as his monument," the general said.
"I am also saddened by the fact that within two or three days I have followed to yonder cemetery the
body of my uncle, E.D. Draper, who with our revered pastor, Mr. Ballou, founded the Hopedale
Community and gave the village its name more than 40 years ago, and who was my father's partner in
business from the time he came to Hopedale till 1868.
"Your local prosperity today depends very largely upon the prosperity of the business of the firm of
which I am left as the senior partner. I fully realize that at the present time any loss of business, any
lessening of production, will be disadvantageous to my neighbors and to our town as a whole.
"Feeling this, I desire to pledge myself to do my best to maintain and increase these industries so long
as I have the support and cooperation of my neighbors and employees."
The general then spoke about the bright prospects for the future. He spoke of the good streets in
Hopedale, good roads, the best of schools, concrete sidewalks, public water, gas and electric street
lights. A new horse railroad to connect with Milford was expected, he said.
He said that the residents had received this building for public purposes. Since our town was
organized, one new manufacture has been established here. This is contributing largely to our
prosperity. Others have a settlement her in contemplation. We are very glad to see here so many of our
friends from outside including many of those who assisted in the establishment of our town corporation.
Gen. Draper then introduced former Gov. John D. Long who spoke substantially. Long made reference
to Rev. Adin Ballou and the failure of an industrious and peaceful Christian brotherhood in Hopedale.
The near bankruptcy was averted to become a line of practical business when George Draper took over
operations of the plant.
Long also said that the building stands for the New England town meeting and that the hall
commemorates a noble New England life. "George Draper deserves this strong and simple memorial,
he was a strong, simple, massive character. There was granite in his foundations and on it he erected
a substantial and useful life. He had the vigor of mind and purpose which commanded confidence and
respect," Long said.
Long gave a brief outline of George Draper's life, his struggles and successes and he paid a glowing
tribute to his energy and uprightness of character. He then dedicated the new building to the memory of
George Draper and to the use of the people.
Following the address by Long and music by the band, Rev. Ballou gave some interesting statements
of "the hard labors and trials of the founders of the original community and their personal sacrifices,
claiming for them their share of honor."
After the quartet sang "The Old Oaken Bucket," Rev. L.G. Wilson briefly alluded to the benefit that
Hopedale had derived from the moral influence of George Draper. George A. Draper, son of the late
George Draper, then presented the keys of the building to J.B. Bancroft, a selectman who accepted the
gift in the name of the town.
After the exercises had been concluded, an excellent dinner was served by caterer Mathewson in a tent
set up on the nearby church lawn to some 450 people. Milford Daily News, June 8, 1996
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