Remains of the car path in Hopedale, near Draper Field.
November 15, 2012
Remains of the Trolley Path
Hopedale in November
Council on Aging Breakfast for Veterans.
Unidentified World War II vets photos – Can you help?
Chestnut Hill Meeting House
The G&U Railroad, Past and Present by Gordon Hopper, 1978.
The Home School – the boarding and day school of the Hopedale Community.
During the last two weeks I’ve made additions to several web pages including Now and
Then – The Dutcher Street School Hopedale Chronology The Uxbridge-
Hopedale Connection Pistol, Rifle and Skeet Shooting Mill Town or Shop
Village? Trains in Hopedale this fall
Baron Emile de Cartier de Marchienne was the husband of Alice Draper Colburn and
the son-in-law of George and Hannah Draper. Thanks to Debbie Carnaroli for sending
a link to this Wikipedia page on him. He died in London in 1946. Here’s a link to a video
of his funeral, which appears to have been quite a big deal.
For candy lovers, sent by Victoria Regina, a history of the NECCO Company.
When I was in fifth grade, the Hall family at the corner of Northrop and Oak streets
moved to Mendon. Their oldest son, Billy, was a good friend of mine. During a school
vacation, not long after the move, five or six of us decided to visit him. Since he was
living on North Avenue, close to where the trolley tracks, or “car path” came out, we
decided that would be the way to go. We took our bikes, but I don’t think we rode much
of the distance. Most of the ties were still there and the path was pretty rough. The
bridge that had crossed Muddy Brook had collapsed long before our trip, so we had to
drag the bikes down into the remaining jumble of stones and cross as best we could,
while trying not to get too wet. I think we must have had a good visit with Billy, and
maybe with his brothers Wayne and Galen also, but I can’t say that I remember it as
well as I remember the trip over there. Here’s an article by Gordon Hopper on the
trolley line, written almost twenty-five years after we traveled over it.
Trolley Line Between Hopedale and Uxbridge
By Gordon E. Hopper
Comments received from a previous historical feature relating to the loss of what had
once been a street car private right-of-way in Holliston has resulted in a search of the
former electric car line between Hopedale and Uxbridge for additional losses being
caused by changing times.
Starting on Freedom Street at the former Draper complex, a pair of stone abutments
remain on the shores of Hopedale Pond where a steel bridge had carried streetcars
across a portion of the pond for nearly 40 years.
Streetcars traveling toward Uxbridge, after leaving the bridge, crossed the tracks of the
Grafton and Upton Railroad and after going up a slight grade and a curve, made a long
run toward North Avenue in Mendon on what is believed to have been one of the
longest straight runs on the Milford & Uxbridge car line.
Although the tracks were pulled up some 55 years ago, some sections of the roadbed
have remained visible until construction of various types have caused their
disappearance. What had once been a land cut and grade on the roadbed near the
Grafton & Upton Railroad crossing adjacent to the large Draper building, has been
reworked by earth equipment to now include a buried sewer line, It is not known
whether or not this will become a new street.
After the sewer line crosses a stone-walled brook, the roadbed curves into an area
where new homes are presently under construction. The trolley roadbed separates
from the sewer line on this curve and enters another area where the roadbed had been
cut through some elevated land. Fallen trees lay across the land cut today with enough
room under them to still walk on the old roadbed.
After passing through some improved land, the roadbed crosses Westcott Road, a new
street located in a large development of new homes. The roadbed becomes wet and is
visible for a short distance at the rear of homes on nearby Ballou Road, another new
street in the development here that is called “Neckwood at Eight Rod Road.” (Now there’
s a bit of Hopedale trivia for you. Maybe that was a little too wordy so they settled on
According to Mrs. George Howarth, who lives on Eight Rod Road, the street and a trail
in the area had been a section of the old Hartford Turnpike.
The roadbed continues toward North Avenue and crosses a natural gas pipeline owned
by the Tennessee Gas Company. A few hundred feet further and a metal pipe that
carries Muddy Brook under the roadbed is crossed. While the trolleys were in
operation, there had been a small bridge at this stream and a portion of one of its
stone abutments remains in place.
The roadbed runs up a grade again, and through a cut in the land that includes stone
walls. Gravel repairs have been made on this grade and the road is used by equipment
engaged in a logging operation.
Starting at a point on North Avenue near a high voltage electric line, several hundred
feet of the roadbed has become driveways to homes owned by Albert and Dennis
Shaheen. John J. Porter, who lives at 33 North Avenue, confirmed the location of the
electric car right-of-way in this area and traveled a portion of it with the writer.
None of the roadbed is recognizable from North Avenue, but when Lake Nipmuc is
reached a portion of it can be seen. It appears to be an embankment that was built as a
filled-in area along a section of the lake’s shoreline. Some stone work beside the
highway opposite the entrance to the Myriad Ballroom cannot be identified.
Approaching Wheelockville (a village in Uxbridge) from Mendon on Route 16, a pair of
granite block abutments remain in place on the north side of the highway where a
trolley bridge once crossed Rock Meadow Brook. A long length of roadbed is still
recognizable near the abutments. At Wheelockville near the old mill on Route 16, a
short, but complete concrete bridge on the trolley roadbed remains on its abutments
across the West River.
Approaching the Stanley Woolen Mill in Uxbridge from Milford, but on the opposite side
of the highway, no signs remain of a long wooden trestle which once crossed the
wetlands. However, a short distance further on toward the center of Uxbridge, a single
stone abutment remains where the car line crossed the Blackstone River together with
a length of roadbed. Milford Daily News, January 10, 1987
Milford Journal articles on the M&U Street Railway
Another Hopper article on the M&U
Hopedale History Ezine Menu HOME
Trolley bridge over Hopedale Pond.
The ground at the middle of this picture rises a bit above the
snow-covered lawn in the foreground, where it was graded for
the trolley tracks, between the bridge and Soward Street.
You can just barely see the trolley path about a third of the way
up from the bottom in this picture. It's in Mendon near the
intersection of Route 16 and Old Taft Avenue. About 100 feet
or so of the path has survived here.
Trolley cut in Mendon across from Alicante Restaurant.
(For those of you who haven't been in the area for
several decades, that's where Millie Mitchell's was.)
This appears to be the location on the Blackstone River in Uxbridge
described by Hopper in the last sentence of his article below.
Soward, Progress and Lake streets during the summer of
2010. Thanks to John Gagnon for sending the pictures.