Helen Draper Taft Ayer
The Park House at the corner of Freedom and Dutcher streets.
Maroney's Grove Shelter/Fireplace

Hopedale History
February 2024
No. 424
Hopedale in 1924, Part 2

Hopedale in February  


Twenty-five years ago – February 1999Pluto moves along its eccentric orbit further from the Sun than Neptune. It had been nearer than Neptune since 1979, and will become again in 2231

President Bill Clinton is acquitted in impeachment proceedings in the United States Senate.

Fifty years ago – February 1974 – In one of the most famous kidnappings in U.S. history, three members of the left-wing terrorist Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped 19-year-old Patty Hearst, a granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

After a record 84 days in orbit, the crew of Skylab 4 returns to Earth.

House of Representatives voted 410 to 4, to grant the bipartisan House Judiciary Committee the power to subpoena any witness in its inquiry on whether to impeach U.S. President Richard Nixon.

An agreement between the U.S. and Panama to negotiate a revision of the 1903 Panama Canal Treaty was signed in Panama City by U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Panamanian Foreign Minister Juan Antonio Tack.

Produced by Mel Brooks, the popular satire of movie westerns, Blazing Saddles, had its world premiere in Burbank, California, at the Pickwick Drive-in Theater for 250 invited guests who rode in on horseback rather than in cars.

One-hundred years ago – February 1924Woodrow Wilson, who had served as President of the United States from 1913 to 1921, died at the age of 67 in his home.

The first execution by lethal gas in American history was carried out in Carson City, Nevada at the Nevada State Prison. Chinese national Gee Jon, convicted of a gangland slaying, was put to death. On the same day, Texas executed five prisoners— all African-American inmates who had been convicted of murder— at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, in the state’s first use of the electric chair.

Howard Carter and his archaeological team had the lid of Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s stone sarcophagus raised, revealing his solid gold mummy case. The case itself would not be opened until October 28, 1925

A bill to provide for automatic U.S. citizenship for Native American peoples was introduced by U.S. Representative Homer P. Snyder, a Republican for the state of New York.

News items above are from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see below this textbox.


Hopedale in 1924 – Part 2

News items from the Milford Gazette
obtained at the
Bancroft Memorial Library

May 2 – Eben Sumner Draper, son of B.H. Bristow Draper and nephew of Senator Eben Sumner Draper, is seeking legal right to drop his middle name and be known as Eben Draper in order to avoid confusion. (Adding to possible confusion he was also the grandson of another ESD, Gov. Eben Sumner Draper.)

May 9 – Employees of the Draper plant have been notified that they may have, without rental, garden plots 50 feet square on Mendon, Freedom, and West Main streets for cultivation. Application should be made to C.F. Austin.

May 16 – The engagement of Mrs. Helen Draper Taft and Nathaniel F. Ayer of Boston, Harvard 1900, was announced Saturday. The marriage will take placed here early next month and will be in the presence of relatives and intimate friends only. Mr. Ayer was a commander in the naval reserve during the late war and was in charge of the government naval radio school at Harvard. He is a yachtsman of note, and official in several mill concerns and a director in two Boston banks. (Helen’s first marriage, to Walbridge Taft in 1917, had ended in divorce. She divorced Ayer in 1930, and died in 1934.)

May 23 – Mrs. H.M. Nulty won the radio set at the Bowker & Barnard store here, guessing the nearest to the correct number of collar buttons in a jar.

June 6 – Sixteen friends of Harvey W. Legge tendered him a surprise party Saturday in honor of his birthday, and presented him with a smoking stand.

June 13 – Servants at the home of Mr. and Mrs. B.H. Bristow Draper enjoyed a picnic at Lake Nipmuc Park Monday evening.

Esther Edwards concluded her duties in the setting-up room at the Draper plant Friday and was presented a purse of gold by her associates. She is soon to open a tea room at her home on Freedom Street. (Hester Chilson, who lived at 54 Freedom Street told me that there had been a tea room at 62 Freedom Street.)

June 20 – William Caufield, married and the father of four children, was seriously burned about the eyes, Saturday, when molten babbit metal, which he was pouring at the Draper plant, exploded. He was taken to the Worcester Memorial Hospital where it is hoped that his eyesight may be saved.

June 27 – The Community House Woman’s Club was started Tuesday at a meeting presided over by Mrs. R.E Gourlie. A nominating committee of seven was chosen to report a list of officers at the next meeting, July 15.

July 4 – Raymond Meade was bitten on the wrist by a dog Friday afternoon.

A contract has been made with the New England Power Co. to furnish electricity for operating the Draper plant and the work of installation will be commenced at once that the change can be make before cold weather. The contract calls for 3000 horse-power at present and such additional power as the plant may require for the next 15 years. The steam engines and the steam turbine will be scrapped.

July 11 – Gasoline was drained from the car of George Grant and stolen Tuesday afternoon while the car was in the garage. The garage of Albert Johnson was entered, but nothing was stolen.

July 18 – The Park House has been closed and the boarders transferred to the Hopedale House and the Brae Burn Inn.( Click here to read about Hopedale’s three boarding houses.)

July 25 – A veteran firemen’s muster will be held at Worcester tomorrow and a hand tub contest with 28 entries will be a feature. Hopedale has teams entered in the dry host coupling contest, the mile relay race and the 220 yard dash.

August 1 – The girls employed in the roll room at the Draper plant enjoyed an outing at Lake Nipmuc Saturday, a luncheon being served at the cottage of Mrs. Grace Cook.

August 8 – Charles Kayberry and family, John Midgely and family, and Vernon Midgeley and family are enjoying an automobile and camping trip through Canada.

August 15 – Members and former members of the Camp Fire Girls entertained Mrs. Doris McCaslin of Chattanooga at the shelter in Maroney’s grove Wednesday evening.

August 29 – The block dance on Dutcher Street last evening, under the auspices of the Pythian Sisters, was well-attended.

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Hopedale in February 2024

Click here to hear the Hubris song, “A Shell,” about the Draper plant.

Hopedale News – February 1974

Hopedale News – February 1924