Alcohol in Hopedale

    The consumption of alcohol was opposed by members of the Hopedale Community. The
    declaration, or oath, taken by Community members included the words, "...never to manufacture,
    buy, sell, deal out, or use any intoxicating liquor as a beverage..."

    During the debate on the matter of Hopedale's bid to break away from Milford, "Hopedale lawyer
    Selwyn Z. Bowman raised the "moral question" of liquor, saying it was unfair for the prohibitionist
    residents of the Dale to be hooked up with Milford.

    "Abstinence from liquor was one of the hallmarks of the Christian socialists who founded the
    Hopedale Community commune in 1841, and Bowman said the residents in 1886 were 'almost
    unanimous' in support of that tradition.

    "We say that we are a temperance community.  We say that we are a different community from the
    town of Milford...with its 63 saloons.  And if we desire to build up here a model New England town,
    where no liquors are sold, industrious, thrifty, prosperous, I say we have a right to do so," he said.

    in Hopedale's first town report in 1886, Town Clerk Frank Dewing wrote, "Among other peculiarities
    there has never been in the village a place where intoxicating liquors could be purchased, and it is
    hoped by us that this peculiarity may long continue."

    I've often hear the story that years ago Touhey's Liquors of Milford (and probably others also) had
    an unmarked vehicle for deliveries in Hopedale. The idea, of course, was to prevent the neighbors
    from knowing what was being delivered, but of course they did.

    The Drapers were far less opposed to alcohol than members of the Hopedale Community. One bit
    of evidence for that is this sentence about Eben S. Draper in The Drapers, Prestons and Allied
    Families.   "In 1930 he advocated the repeal of Prohibition and made that his principal issue in his
    campaign for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate and was defeated by less
    than 5,000 votes."

    The Hopedale-Milford town line ran right through the Larches, George Otis Draper's mansion on
    Williams Street. When Draper Corporation took it over to use for company functions and overnight
    guests, it had a bar on the Milford side.

    I don't know when state law was enacted that allowed each town to vote on the matter, but when it
    did, and for many years, Hopedale voted to be a "dry" town. Times change, and in the election of
    1970, a majority of Hopedale residents voted to go "wet."

    The vote to allow the sale of alcohol in Hopedale always lost
    until 1970. The more than 2 to 1 against in the 1934 vote
    shown above was similar to the results for many other years.