Hopedale Gym Will Open In Early Part Of December

HOPEDALE — Basketball will make its debut in the new $350,000 gymnasium early in December, according to present plans. The new building, located near the Community House and in Colonial style to match, is receiving its final interior work now.  The exterior is complete except for landscaping, which will be postponed until spring. The gym is 70 by 100 feet, and the basketball court measures 50 by 80 feet.  The court is arranged so that two shortened courts can be utilized for practice and intramural games.  A curtain divides the two courts, each 42 by 60 feet.  Folding bleachers will have a capacity of 450, with seats on both sides of the hall.  They are arranged in four rows, and each row folds back against the wall when not it use.  An office, locker rooms for men and women and other units complete the layout in the one-floor building.    

Its exterior is of brick, with tall columns at the entranceway.  The building, made possible by a donor who desires to remain unknown, will become part of the Hopedale Community House, Inc., with the same managing board. Gordon A. Norton, director, is in charge of both buildings. The gym will function as part of the Community House programs. Plans for an indoor tennis court for a winter league are being studied.  The gym will be used by the school department, Draper Corporation employees, and for other town activities.  The Milford Daily News, October 31, 1955.

                                         Key To Be Presented at 7 P.M. Dedication

HOPEDALE — Hundreds are expected to attend the dedication of the new memorial gymnasium on Dutcher Street, near the Community House tonight.  Dedication and presentation of the keys to Thomas. H. West, president of Draper Corporation, will take place at 7 p.m., with an open house following until 9 o’clock.   

Walter Ritchie of Malden, will present the keys to West, who will be accepting the building for the Hopedale Community House, Inc., whose directors will supervise the operation of the new building.     West will make the acceptance speech. Henry Billings, treasurer of the Community House, members of the gymnasium building committee, and representatives of Rich & Tucker Associates of Boston, architects, will be present.    The plaque in the memorial bears the following inscription: “Dedicated in memory of George Albert Draper, director and treasurer of Draper Corporation, 1896 – 1916. Creator, Hopedale Community House, 1923. A lifelong resident, benefactor, and contributor to the social and economic welfare of this community which he loved.”  Mr. Draper was treasurer and a director of Draper Corporation for 27 years, and in 1923 gave the Community House for the use of the town of Hopedale.

The cost of the new gym, $350,000 is being borne by an unknown benefactor, in memory of Mr. Draper. The basketball court, 70 by 100 feet is so arranged that two games may be played at the same time with a dividing canvas. They are laid out in a north-south direction.  The main court, regulation size, is 50 by 84 feet and is east-west. Bleachers accommodating more than 400 are available. An electric scoreboard has been installed.    

n addition to basketball, indoor tennis and badminton may be played.  There are separate shower and locker rooms for boys and girls, supervisor’s office, storage and drying rooms, and boiler room.  Members of the gymnasium building committee and also trustees Thomas H. West, Henry Billings and William K. Child.  Other trustees of the Community House and the new Draper Gymnasium are Eugene Newhall, Herbert A. Picard, Walter Soderberg, Irving G. Ammen, and Fred Butterworth. They promise that Draper Gymnasium will be the scene of expanded community activities in the years to come. Planned programs of basketball, physical education, and other indoor activities will be arranged for students in Hopedale schools, the townspeople, and employees of Draper Corporation.  Schedules will be arranged so that as many people as possible may benefit from the advantages offered by this newest community facility, the committee states.  Milford Daily News, November 22, 1955.

Who was the anonymous donor of the gym? George Albert Draper’s son, Wickliffe Preston Draper. The name was confirmed by a member of the Hopedale Foundation in 2015.

From an architect's proposal for the gym.

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