Hopedale History Timeline
1664 – Benjamin Albee builds a mill in what is now the south end of Hopedale.
1667 – A 64 square mile area in the Blackstone Valley is incorporated as the town of Mendon.c. 1703 – John Jones house built along the Mill River in the area later built over by the Draper shops. This eventually becomes known as the Old House and is purchased in 1841 by the Hopedale Community.
1780 – Milford separates from Mendon.
1803, April 23 – Adin Ballou born in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Parents, Ariel and Edilda (Tower) Ballou.
1812 – Anna Thwing Draper born in Uxbridge.
1816 – Ira Draper is granted a patent on an improved fly-shuttle hand loom. A significant feature of the loom is that it includes the first self-acting loom temple. This device, which keeps the cloth stretched as it is woven in the loom, becomes the basis for the Draper business in Hopedale
1821, October 3 – Joseph Bancroft born in Uxbridge, Mass.
1824, June 26 – Sylvia Willard Thwing Bancroft born in Uxbridge, Mass.
1830 – The first advertisement for a Draper product, the temple, is printed in the first issue of the Boston Evening Transcript. The business is owned by James Draper.
1837 – Ebenezer Draper buys the Draper business, including the patent rights to the temple, and soon after, moves it from Wayland to Uxbridge.
1839 – 1841 – Meetings and discussions take place, generally in Mendon, leading to the formation of Fraternal Community, No. 1, eventually known as the Hopedale Community.
1840, April 1 – First issue of Ballou’s twice-monthly newspaper, the Practical Christian, published in Mendon.
1841, August 26 – Hopedale named. “Resolved, (1) That our said location, formerly called ‘the Dale,’ afterwards ‘the Jones’ farm,‘ and latterly ‘the Hastings Daniels’ place,’ be hereafter called, known, and distinguished by the name of Hope Dale,” Adin Ballou, The History of the Hopedale Community, pp. 54 – 55.
1841, June – September – The Community announced in September that it had contracted to buy the Jones Farm along the Mill River in Milford. The contract had been signed on June 30.
1841, October – First family moves into the Old House in Hopedale. The Henry Lillie family become the first of the Community members to move to the settlement. On the 28th of the month Mrs. Lillie gives birth to the first baby born in the Community. She was named Lucy Ballou Lillie in honor of Mrs. Ballou.
1842, January to April – More families move to the Old House in Hopedale, totaling 28 persons by April 1. Work begins on a mechanic shop and a dam. Many businesses are carried on, including, most successfully, the production of the Draper temple.
1843 – “Near [Freedom Street] sat the two factory buildings, one of which was already outfitted with a waterwheel to operate a trip-hammer and lathe. It was this building, completed in 1843, that was known as the ‘mechanic shop (possibly the building later known as the Little Red Shop) and that first housed the Drapers’ enterprise as well as other small businesses and also served for a time as a school.” Model Company Town, John S. Garner, pp. 129 – 130.
1845 – Hopedale Village Cemetery established.
1846 – Population of Hopedale Community is 70.
1852 – Community population reaches 200.
1854 – The Home School, a boarding and day school operated by the Hopedale Community, established. The school was first operated by Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Bloom, and later by Adin Ballou’s daughter and son-in-law.
1855 – School built on north side of South Hopedale Cemetery.
1856, March 8 – George and Ebenezer Draper withdraw their investment in the stock of the Hopedale Community. Since they own three-quarters of the stock, this essentially brings about the end of the Community.
Warren Dutcher moves to Hopedale to manufacture loom temples in partnership with the Draper brothers under the name, Dutcher Temple Company.
1860, April 14 – Last issue of the Hopedale Community newspaper, The Practical Christian printed.
1860 – What would later become the Unitarian Church is built.
1865 – 1875 – Draper Company erects double family houses along Social, Union and Cemetery streets.
1868 – Ebenezer Draper retires and sells his share of the E.D. & G. Draper Company. William F. Draper joins his father in the firm, and the name is changed to George Draper & Son. Some years later, when Eben and George Albert join, the company name becomes George Draper & Sons. “The small mechanic shop [the Little Red Shop] was renamed the Hopedale Machine Company in 1868 and transferred to the west side of the river [still south of Freedom Street] to make room for additional construction.” Model Company Town, John S. Garner, p. 132.
1869 – Henry Patrick’s Store established.
1870s – 1880s – Adin Street completed and large estates built. (General Draper’s home on the present site of the junior/senior high school was the first.)
1873, December 15 – The end of the Hopedale Community essentially occurred in 1856, but it still owned a few properties. “The final act of transfer was executed on the 15th of December, 1873, when the Trustees of the Community conveyed to the Trustees of the Hopedale Parish, a religious body formed a few years before, ‘all right, title, interest and control in, unto and over Community Square, the Meeting-house standing thereon and the Hopedale Cemetery.’” History of the Hopedale Community, Adin Ballou,
1874 – The Old House, the home of the original members of the Hopedale Community, is razed.
First gas and water lines installed.
1887 – Ebenezer and George Draper die.
Town Hall, a gift to the town by George Draper, constructed.
The Draper Company embarks on a program to develop an automatic loom.
Telephone service, available in Milford since 1880, extended to Hopedale and Upton.
1888, October 17 – The new Grafton & Upton railway to be run from the present railroad grounds in Milford, through Hopedale to North Grafton.
“Here is a town of 1200 people with water, gas, electric lights, macadamized streets, asphalt walks, long lines of beautiful shade trees, well-kept lawns, roomy houses, and spacious yards and everywhere the air of prosperity and content.“ Springfield Daily Uniion.
1889 – The track of the Grafton & Upton Railroad is extended from West Upton to Milford. The work is done by 300 men and 75 teams of horses.
First high school built. In 1935 it is converted to the first Sacred Heart Church.
1892 – General William F. Draper elected to the first of two terms as representative in Congress.
April 14 – Milford Electric Light & Power Co. votes to extend the incandescent lamp street lighting to Hopedale.
1894 – First shipment of Northrop looms delivered. Between 1894 and 1903, 78,599 looms are sold to 210 mills.
1896 – 1903 – Bancroft Park houses built.
1900, October 27 – Adin Ballou statue dedicated.
1903 – The Little Red Shop is moved to its third location, the north side of Freedom Street, on the west bank of Hopedale Pond.
Oakledge, the Frank and Malinda Dutcher home at 34 Adin Street destroyed by fire.
1905 – Young ladies and women granted permission to swim at town beach. Separate hours from boys and men for the next several decades.
1906 – First Union Evangelical Church constructed.
The Draper Company produces 20,000 Northrop loom is during this year. They are sold for approximately $140 each. More looms are made overseas under license.
The Draper Company builds a warehouse with offices for sales and service in Atlanta, Georgia. Other southern locations soon follow at Spartanburg, South Carolina and Greensboro and Biltmore, North Carolina.
1907 – Seven houses on a no longer existing part of Union Street (near the cemetery) moved to Freedom Street, where they became known as the Seven Sisters.
1909 – Eben Sumner Draper elected Governor of Massachusetts. He serves for two one-year terms.
Joseph Bancroft dies.
The Larches on Williams Street destroyed by fire. It had been built by George Otis Draper but had been purchased a month before the fire by his aunt, Hannah Draper Osgood. She replaced it with home that is there now.
1910 – Chapel Association buys Green Store and converts it to a church.
President William Howard Taft stays overnight in Hopedale during a visit with Gov. Eben Draper, while on a trip to Massachusetts.
Hopedale Ladies Sewing Society and Branch Alliance collect memories of people who as children grew up in the Hopedale Community and published them under the title, Hopedale Reminiscences.
1910 – 1911– Draper Corporation Main Office, now Atria Draper Place, built.
1910 – 1912 – Construction of Lake Point (Progress, Lake and Soward streets) begins
1913, April 1– A violent strike at Drapers begins, ending unsuccessfully three months later.
The first of several years of Sunday afternoon Victrola concerts held at Bancroft Library.
1927 – General Draper High School constructed on the site formerly occupied by the general’s home.
Children’s Room donated to Bancroft Library by Anna Bancroft.
1928 – Grafton & Upton Railroad passenger service discontinued.
1942 – Draper plant expanded for wartime work. Loom production essentially suspended. Plant produces internal grinders, 75 mm pack howitzers and magnetos.
1951 – The Little Red Shop is moved to the corner of Hopedale and Freedom streets where it is operated as a Draper Corporation museum.
1952 – The Roy Westcott home in Spindleville is purchased by the VFW to be used as headquarters.
1953 – January – Draper Corporation opens Hopedale Airport.
Draper Field lights taken down and sent to South Carolina.
Foundry workers at Draper Corp. on strike for a month.
1955, November 22 – The George Albert Draper Memorial Gymnasium, financed by an anonymous donor, dedicated. Donor later identified as Wickliffe Preston Draper.
1956 – Town Meeting votes to raze Chapel Street School.
1965 – Fitzgerald Drive built, connecting the Draper plant to Route 16.
1966– Draper Corporation celebrates 150th anniversary of Ira Draper’s invention of the rotary temple which became the starting point of the company’s success.
The Food Center (originally Henry Patrick’s Store) razed and replaced by a new building.
1967 – Rockwell-Standard (later North American Rockwell and in 1973 renamed Rockwell International) acquires Draper Corporation.
1970 – November 4 – Voters approve all types of alcoholic beverage licenses.
November 13 – Aerosmith plays first of several concerts at Hopedale Town Hall.
1978 – Rockwell International sells Grafton & Upton Railroad to Torco, Inc., of Worcester.
1979 – Dutcher Street School closed at end of school year.
November – Lake Wales Plastics of Westboro purchases West Foundry from Rockwell. (This purchase being the reason the foundry has been under separate ownership since that time.)
Stone’s Furniture (former site of Patrick’s Corner Store) burns down.
Hope Street bridge demolished.
1980 – Lake Wales Plastics opens in former West Foundry.
August – Rockwell ends the operation of its Draper Division in Hopedale and closes the plant.
1981 – April – Beautification group organizes to plant trees on town tree belts.
1982 – October – American Legion home sold. to Mallard family; moved behind post office.
Construction begins on new wastewater treatment plant. Completed in 1984.
1984 – Construction at Pinecrest development begins.
1985 – Lake Wales Plastics, operating out of the former West Foundry, closes. It had also operated as L&S Plastics and Commodore Plastics.
Rosenfeld Concrete sold to Boston Sand & Gravel
1986 – Hopedale centennial celebrated.
Dutcher Street School converted to condominiums.
September – $35-M Condo proposal for Draper plant presented to selectmen.
October – Centennial time capsule buried – to be opened in 50 years.
1987 – Original high school (which became the Sacred Heart Church in 1935) razed.
April – Town meeting televised for first time.
1988 – Water leak at Draper plant results in it being closed and the small companies that had been located there, including Incase (makers of display boxes, jewelry boxes, cases for pens, eyeglass cases, etc), Consolidated Coating (contract spray painting of parts for various items), Opus (bird feeders), and Ironworks Gym, and probably others, leaving.
1989 – Owners of the Draper plant comply with Board of Health order to board up the first floor windows of the shop.
1991 – Jehovah Witnesses erect Kingdom Hall on Plain Street over one three-day weekend.
Fr. Reilley Center at Sacred Heart Church constructed and dedicated.
2004 – State Appeals Court upholds Land Court decision preventing the building of a 42-home subdivision on Old Salt Box Road off of Overdale Parkway.
2008 – G&U Railroad station razed.
2009 – Renovated Little Red Shop Museum opened.
2011 – New water filtration plant opens.
2012 – Grafton & Upton Railroad resumes operation in Hopedale.
2014 – Remaining Hopedale Coal & Ice buildings near Cemetery Street razed.
2016 – 2018 – The houses at 114-116 Mendon Street, 124 Mendon Street, and Billy Draper’s Store were razed in 2020 2016. Three houses on the northwest corner of the Mendon Street-Hopedale Street intersection, as well as the Cumberland Farms store, were taken down in 2017, to make room for the new Cumberland Farms The South Hopedale School was also taken down in 2017. 138 Hopedale Street was razed on January 25, 2018. The stone crusher at Rosenfeld’s was taken down in 2018..Click here for photos of all of these.
2020 – 2021 Demolition of Draper shops begins. Hopedale Street side – 1 Hopedale Street side – 2 Freedom Street side – 1 Freedom Street side – 2 Draper site cleanup
2021 – 2023 – Legal issue between citizen group and G&U Railroad.