Stella Williams – For many years one of the best known people in town. If anyone can send me a picture of George Mongiat, I’ll add him here.

Photo from a Yankee magazine article on Hopedale – April 1983. On Facebook, January 2015, Bill Whyte asked about the names of the men in the picture. Nothing happened until Renee Ruggiero Oliviera brought the matter up again in December. Renee, Shari Deiana (with help from her mother, who worked at the drug store lunch counter for 20 years), and Fred Oldfied contributed and came up with the following names: left to right – Duino Ruscitti, Vascen Boggigian, Stenson Hattersley (Fred’s grandfather) and Elmer “Snap” Bradley. Bill thinks the car belonged to Tyke Small.

                           Historic Harrison Block In Hopedale
                                                Has Many Firsts

HOPEDALE – Harrison Block at 60 Hopedale Street, now owned by George A. Mongiat, proprietor of the Hopedale Pharmacy, one of the oldest business blocks in town, was erected more than 70 years ago by the late Gen. William F. Draper and named in honor of President Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States.

The property was owned by Draper Corporation many years and was rented by many and various types of businesses.  The first drug store was located there under the ownership of Lucius A. Lamson, who came here from Milford where he conducted the drug store, later owned by Charles Collins, at Exchange and Main streets, now the site of the Soda Shop.  Another first tenant on the street floor was Almon Andrew, who conducted a men’s furnishing store, later owned by William L Beals, who also sold women’s shoes. At the rear of the store, his father, the late William P. Beals, had a cobbling shop.

The first watch and clock repair shop and jewelry store in town was situated on the second floor, under the management of Frank H. French. Later this room was leased as a barber shop, and was conducted by Harry Nichols, only barber in town at that time.  On the second floor there was a tailor shop and a hall, where the Maspenock Social Club met for card and billiard games. The hall was also used for rehearsals by various musicians, among them being the late Joseph Marsh, violinist, and Elmo Simpson, drummer and pianist.  George Draper Lodge, Knights of Pythias, met in the third floor halls, as did the Pythian Sisters. Later the Mr. and Mrs. Club held bi-monthly dances there.

The Lamson Drug Store was purchased by Josiah J. Gibbs and still later by Milton Bishop, druggist, who sold to the present owner, Mr. Mongiat.

The first bowling alley in town was erected at the rear of the block many years ago by James Quimby, who also served lunches at the site.

Tenants of the block now have garages where the alley once stood. These were erected when two of the top floors were converted into modern apartments.  The building has many firsts in its long history, such as first drug, shoe, jewelry, barber shop, tailor shop, men’s furnishing store and cobblers shop in town, as well as the first apartment block. There are six tenants situated on the second and third floors. Milford Daily News, February 17, 1960. 

In 1991, the Hopedale Pharmacy moved from the Harrison Block to Route 16.See article below.

The paragraph above is from the National Register Nomination.

Hopedale Landmark Restored
By Virginia Cy

The Harrison building, more well-known to long-time residents as the “drug store,” has taken on a look which makes passersby stop and study its beauty. The building, constructed in 1889, is sporting a green and off-red striped awning covering the entrance-ways to the two businesses located on the first of its three stories.

Above the awning, the familiar Coca-Cola sign is gone and two wooden hand-carved signs indicate the location of the Hopedale Pharmacy and Anniballi’s, a restaurant which took occupancy on one side of the building. The cream colored trim on the brick building has been replaced with green trim. The brick, covered with dirt from its years of existence, has been washed at a cost in excess of $10,000. The second and third floors of the building, which consist of eight apartments has also undergone extensive work.

Last March, Pat and Thomas Chiacchia, former Natick residents, became the owners of the building. The pair saw its potential and began working of the property with a goal of embellishing its attributes. Working toward this goal, they removed boards which had been installed in the late 1940s to cover the elegant arch windows featured in the apartments. The windows, which front Hopedale Street, now gleam in the sun’s rays and add to the original beauty.

The apartments were always fascinating to visitors because of their Murphy beds. Many a curious child asked, “Where is the bed?” and were answered with a fascinating demonstration. The bed, tucked inside what appears to be a closet door, comes out with a slight tug when the door is opened. Just as quickly, it can be hidden away when visitors ring the door bell. Practical in their day, and practical in this day of a mobile society.

The Murphy beds were taken out some ten years ago and stored outside the building where they rusted. The Chiacchia brothers realized their value and went to work with wire brushes and steel wool, returning them to their original condition. The brothers noted that the quality of the metal from which they had been manufactured was high which made restoration and re- installation possible.

Oak flooring was refinished to bring out its beauty, and ceiling fans, a feature of the studio apartments, were also reinstalled during the renovation. Metal ceilings were redone, giving the building another touch of antiquity. Pat Chiacchia, a financial analyst by profession, has spent recent years developing real estate in Connecticut. Cosmetic remodeling and restoration has caught his interest and has become a hobby with him.

Pat, who is now a resident of the Harrison Building, spoke at length about some of the work he and his brother did and of their research. Pat stated, when discussing the choice of trim,”In our research, we found that when rose-colored mortar was used in brick construction,green trim was required. The paint used on the trim is a match of the original paint.”

Telling about the awning, Pat noted, “A tall building needs an awning to make it more eye-appealing. The full-length awning features a rigid frame and it is pitched at such an angle that snow will be not problem and will not cause it to rip.”

Pat was strong in praise of Milford Savings Bank officials who displayed an abundance of interest and cooperation in helping the new owners restore the building. In fact, Pat and his brother, who had only passed through the area until they purchased the Harrison Block, have become advocates of the Hopedale and Mendon sections. Thomas Chiacchia moved here from Natick, purchasing a home on Taft Avenue in Mendon.

The brothers purchased the building from George Mongiat, owner of Hopedale Pharmacy. Mongiat opened the pharmacy in 1947 and purchased the building in the 1960s. Long-time residents remember that Josiah Gibbs operated a drug store in the building before Hopedale Pharmacy came into existence. One resident spoke of a shoe repair shop having been located there at one time, also.The restored and refurnished apartments are fully occupied and according to Chicchia there is a long list of people waiting for vacancies to occur.

The building, thanks to the interest in restoration which the brothers have, is properly attired and waiting for the celebration of the town’s 100th birthday which will be observed in 1986. Milford Daily News, 1984. Thanks to John Butcher for this article.

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