The arrow in the picture above shows the sign for the Dutcher Temple Company. It was originally owned and operated by Warren Dutcher and George Draper. That section of the shop, across from the barber shop on Hopedale Street, was razed on or about March 15. As I write this (March 18), I don’t know if the sign has been saved.

This picture was taken a couple of days after the section with the DT Co sign was razed.

This picture was taken a couple of days after the section with the DT Co sign was razed.

On March 17, with the use of a crane, the bell, whose sound was so familiar to Hopedale people for generations, was removed. I think that when it was being rung by hand, this wheel was used for that purpose.

Thanks to Don Howse for this view of the bell being taken to put in storage for now. Behind it is part of the G&U yard, and at top center, a glimpse of the Gen. Draper tomb at Hopedale Village Cemetery. Below are some thoughts about the bell written by longtime Draper employee, Charles Merrell.

I dedicate this paragraph to The Shop Bell; that worthy instrument for  telling off the divisions of Hopedale time, calling all good people to their daily labors, and closing that day with the ancient admonition to cover one’s firesfor the night. The daily rites of ringing the Shop Bell perpetuate custom of long ago, and link us closely with the past. Here is a thread of continuity running unbroken through the years when other remnants of antiquity have all but disappeared, the places thereof knowing them no more.

   I first heard The Shop Bell ring curfew on the evening of my arrival so long ago. I heard it open the gates of day next morning at six.  I heard it call people to work at seven, and again at one. I have heard it perform this routine thousands of times in almost half a century, and its sound falls as pleasantly in my ear as it did when I first heard it.

   I have learned the moods of The Bell; sharp and metallic on a zero morning; soft and muffled in a snowstorm; clear and mellow in the rain; sometimes almost inaudible when a strong wind carries the sound away from me. When it was rung by pulling a rope, I could say that this man or that was counting off the strokes and the measure of rest between peals. The people of Hopedale, perhaps without ever thinking about it, have a unique and distinctive symbol of their community, with a voice proclaiming that here abideth industry, order and peace. May the tongue of The Shop Bell never be stilled! From Charles Merrell’s memories, Hopedale As I Found It.

Photos of the stack demolition on September 16 from a video taken by Kelly Merchant and posted on the Hopedale Bulletin Board Facebook page.