Hopedale History
May 1, 2015
No. 275

Hopedale in April   

Town Park, April 15   

Hopedale High, the late thirties
– proms, sports, graduations – lots of names and faces from that era.

Would you like a Draper shuttle to hang on the wall? Here’s a site that has some for sale, sent by Paula Roberts. They had 38 of them in stock when I looked.

During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following pages: Early Telephone Service (A 1938 article on an open house at the Telephone Company, including a photo of the switchboard operators at work.)     Chapel Street Block (A clipping from 1938 indicating that, unlike what I’ve heard a number of times over the years, Draper Corporation was not providing heat to town buildings before that time.)     Deaths   


Twenty-five years ago – May 1990 – East Germany and West Germany sign a treaty to merge their economic and social systems.

Microsoft releases Windows 3.0.

Boris Yeltsin is elected as the first ever elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev begin a four-day summit meeting in Washington, D.C.

Fifty years ago – May 1965 –  Several hundred Vietnam War protesters in Berkeley, California, march to the Draft Board again to burn 19 more cards. Lyndon Johnson is hung in effigy.

The first skateboarding championship is held.

Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round of their championship rematch with the “Phantom Punch” at the Central Maine Civic Center in Lewiston.

For Hopedale news from 1915, 1965 and 1990, see below this textbox.


As most reading this have heard, Bill Wright passed away on April 24. Bill grew up in Hopedale, and although he hasn’t lived here in many years, his interest in the town continued. Some years ago he wrote a song about Hopedale during the end of the Draper era that he titled Sleepy Little Town. Not long ago he mentioned that he was happy to see that the YouTube version of Sleepy was approaching 4,000 hits.

During the last several years Bill had taken an interest in the history of the Draper Corporation, with a particular focus on the Draper facilities in other states where shuttles and bobbins had been produced. He made two trips from his home in Vermont to  the Carolinas to research Draper history there. His article, Dogwood and Shuttles, was one result of what he learned there. At another time, Bill and his friend since childhood, Dave Meade, took a trip to the site of Draper’s Beebe River, New Hampshire bobbin plant. Following his visit there, he sent me a good deal of information to add to the page I have on Beebe River. He also researched and wrote about the Draper bobbin plant at Tupper Lake, New York and sent me the material for a page on that.

Bill made friends everywhere he went, and he kept in touch with some of the people he met while doing his Draper project.

A labor of love to Bill was a biography of his grandfather (and my uncle), Tom Malloy. He wrote two chapters which went through Tom’s service in World War I, but died before completing the story of Tom’s life. Here are links to several of Bill’s projects.   

  Dogwood and Shuttles      Tom Malloy      Bill’s Memories of Joe Perry     Beebe River     Tupper Lake     Sleepy Little Town   

The Electric Light
             Its Introduction in Milford Assured – A Company Formed
Real Estate Bought and a Plant Ordered

For some little time past, Milford parties have been looking into the electric light question, with a view to the introduction of the light here. Conferences have been held with various parties, representing different systems, and as a result, Milford is to have the electric light as soon as the plant can be procured and the necessary arrangements completed. A company has been formed, to the known as Milford Electric Light and Power Company, embracing several of our well-known businessmen.

The Mayhew shop on Central Street has been purchased and work will be commenced at once on the repairs and alteration required. The dynamos have been ordered and everything will be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible. The projectors are confident of the success of the enterprise and state that wherever the light has been put in and properly managed, it has succeeded from the start. They also state that experience in other places shows that instead of its injuring the gas companies, it has proved an advantage, inasmuch as it causes an increase in the amount of gas burned by those who do not use the electric light, in order that their places of business may be as well lighted as their neighbors. We believe the introduction of the electric light will be of benefit to the town and trust the efforts of the projectors will meet with deserved success.

In this connection, it is expected that a concern manufacturing electrical apparatus of all kinds will locate here, securing room in the same building, and Worcester parties, who were desirous of locating here and making small machine supplies a short time ago, will also probably be accommodated. Should both these parties come here, as expected, it will add two new industries to the business of the town. Milford Gazette, September 4, 1885

Milford Electric Light Co., formed and Milford is now to have electric lighting. Poles and wires have arrived, a new boiler bought and carpenters are at work on the building on Central Street. Milford Gazette, October 21, 1885

                                                   The Electric Light
The electric light shone satisfactorily for a brief space of time last evening and also on Wednesday evening, one lamp being in operation at the Exchange Street corner and another at the junction of Main and School streets. The rink was also lighted for a short time. As is the case with all new enterprises, it takes some time to get into satisfactory working order, and those who expected to see the light work to perfection from the start have expected more than the superintendent has so far been able to accomplish, but the light will undoubtedly be in entirely satisfactory operation in a few days.

The company sent for the insurance commissioner who came out from Boston Wednesday and pronounced the plant and apparatus all ready for work, with the exception of a few unsuitable switches which have been sent back to the Thomson Houston Co. and new ones substituted. Lights have been placed in the following stores and places of business: Currier & Kendall, skating rink, W.H. Giles & Co., C.W. Wilcox, J. Allen Rice, P. Gillon and J. W. Harris. Milford Gazette, November 13, 1885

Milford Electric Light & Power Co. votes to extend the incandescent lamp street lighting to Hopedale. Milford Gazette, April 14, 1892

Electricity had arrived for a bit of street lighting and for some businesses, but it would be many years before it was in use in most homes.

There was no gas or electricity, and our light came from kerosene lamps.  The week’s ironing was done with half a dozen irons that were heated on top of the stove, and tested for heat with a wet finger.  A few years later, gas was brought across the pond (to Bancroft Park and the Lake Street area) and we became quite modern.  The simplest gas light was the open flame, but for brighter illumination the Welsbach mantle burners were superior, and gave off a sizzling sound as they burned. Charles Merrill, Hopedale As I Found It, writing of life in Hopedale in the 1910s.
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