Hopedale History Chronology
1667 - A 64 square mile area in the Blackstone Valley is incorporated as the town of
c. 1703 - John Jones house built along the Mill River in the area later built over by the
Draper shops. This eventually becomes known as the Old House and is purchased in
1841 by the Hopedale Community.
1780 - Milford separates from Mendon.
c.1790 - Schoolhouse built on what later became part of South Hopedale Cemetery.
1803, April 23 - Adin Ballou born in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Parents, Ariel and
Edilda (Tower) Ballou.
1813 - Ebenezer Draper born in Wayland, Mass.
New South Hopedale school built ten rods south of 1790 school.
1816 - Ira Draper is granted a patent on an improved fly-shuttle hand loom. A very
keeps the cloth stretched as it is woven in the loom, becomes the basis for the
Draper business in Hopedale.
Hannah Thwing Draper born in Uxbridge, Mass.
1821, October 3 - Joseph Bancroft born in Uxbridge, Mass.
1824, June 26 - Sylvia Willard Thwing Bancroft born in Uxbridge, Mass.
1830 - The first advertisement for Draper products is printed in the first issue of the
Boston Evening Transcript. The business is owned by James Draper.
1837 - Ebenezer Draper buys the Draper business, including the patent rights to the
temple, and soon after, moves it from Wayland to Uxbridge.
1839 - 1841 - Meetings and discussions take place, generally in Mendon, leading to the
formation of Fraternal Community, No. 1, eventually known as the Hopedale Community.
1840, April 1 - First issue of Ballou's twice-monthly newspaper, the Practical Christian,
published in Mendon.
1841, August 26 - Hopedale named. "Resolved, (1) That our said location, formerly
called 'the Dale,' afterwards 'the Jones' farm,' and latterly 'the Hastings Daniels' place,'
be hereafter called, known, and distinguished by the name of Hope Dale," Adin Ballou,
The History of the Hopedale Community, pp. 54 - 55.
1841, June - September - The Community announced in September that it had
contracted to buy the Jones Farm along the Mill River in Milford. The contract had been
signed on June 30.
1841, October - First family moves into the Old House in Hopedale. The Henry Lillie
family become the first of the Community members to move to the settlement. On the
28th of the month Mrs. Lillie gives birth to the first baby born in the Community. She was
named Lucy Ballou Lillie in honor of Mrs. Ballou.
1842, January to April - More families move to the Old House in Hopedale, totaling 28
persons by April 1. Work begins on a mechanic shop and a dam. Many businesses are
carried on, including, most successfully, the production of the Draper temple.
1843 - "Near [Freedom Street] sat the two factory buildings, one of which was already
outfitted with a waterwheel to operate a trip-hammer and lathe. It was this building,
completed in 1843, that was known as the 'mechanic shop (possibly the building later
known as the Little Red Shop) and that first housed the Drapers' enterprise as well as
other small businesses and also served for a time as a school." Model Company Town,
John S. Garner, pp. 129 - 130.
1844 - A building is constructed on what later becomes Hopedale Street, between
Chapel and Freedom streets, to serve as a chapel and school for the Community.
1845 - Hopedale Village Cemetery established.
1846 - Population of Hopedale Community is 70.
1852 - Community population reaches 200.
1854 - The Home School, a boarding and day school operated by the Hopedale
Community, established. The school was first operated by Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Bloom,
and later by Adin Ballou's daughter and son-in-law.
1855 - School built on north side of South Hopedale Cemetery.
1856, March 8 - George and Ebenezer Draper withdraw their investment in the stock of
the Hopedale Community. Since they own three-quarters of the stock, this essentially
brings about the end of the Community.
Warren Dutcher moves to Hopedale to manufacture loom temples in partnership
with the Draper brothers under the name, Dutcher Temple Company.
1860, April 14 - Last issue of the Hopedale Community newspaper, The Practical
1860 - What would later become the Unitarian Church is built.
1861 - The Home School closed.
William F. Draper enlists in Army.
1865 - 1875 - Draper Company erects double family houses along Social, Union and
1868 - Ebenezer Draper retires and sells his share of the E.D. & G. Draper Company.
William F. Draper joins his father in the firm, and the name is changed to George Draper
& Son. Some years later, when Eben and George Albert join, the company name
becomes George Draper & Sons. "The small mechanic shop [the Little Red Shop] was
renamed the Hopedale Machine Company in 1868 and transferred to the west side of
the river [still south of Freedom Street] to make room for additional construction." Model
Company Town, John S. Garner, p. 132.
1869 - Henry Patrick's Store established.
1870s - 1880s - Adin Street completed and large estates built. (General Draper's home
on the present site of the junior/senior high school was the first.)
1873, December 15 - The end of the Hopedale Community essentially occurred in
1856, but it still owned a few properties. "The final act of transfer was executed on the
15th of December, 1873, when the Trustees of the Community conveyed to the Trustees
of the Hopedale Parish, a religious body formed a few years before, 'all right, title,
interest and control in, unto and over Community Square, the Meeting-house standing
thereon and the Hopedale Cemetery.'" History of the Hopedale Community, Adin Ballou,
1874 - The Old House, the home of the original members of the Hopedale Community, is
First gas and water lines installed.
1886 - Hopedale separates from Milford.
Fire department formed, equipped with 900 feet of hose, 36 fire pails, four
ladders and a hose carriage.
1887 - Ebenezer and George Draper die.
Town Hall, a gift to the town by George Draper, constructed.
The Draper Company embarks on a program to develop an automatic loom.
Telephone service, available in Milford since 1880, extended to Hopedale and
railroad grounds in Milford, through Hopedale to North Grafton.
"Here is a town of 1200 people with water, gas, electric lights, macadamized
streets, asphalt walks, long lines of beautiful shade trees, well-kept lawns, roomy
houses, and spacious yards and everywhere the air of prosperity and content."
Springfield Daily Uniion.
1889 - The track of the Grafton & Upton Railroad is extended from West Upton to
Milford. The work is done by 300 men and 75 teams of horses.
First high school built; in 1935 it is converted to the first Sacred Heart Church.
1890 - Adin Ballou dies.
Passenger service on the Grafton & Upton Railroad begins. Fares are three
cents per mile.
1892 - General William F. Draper elected to the first of two terms as representative in
April 14 - Milford Electric Light & Power Co. votes to extend the incandescent
lamp street lighting to Hopedale.
1894 - First shipment of Northrop looms delivered. Between 1894 and 1903, 78,599
looms are sold to 210 mills.
1896 - 1903 - Bancroft Park houses built.
1897, April - President William McKinley appoints General William F. Draper
Ambassador to Italy.
1898 - The Bancroft Memorial Library, the Dutcher Street School and the present
Unitarian Church built.
1899 - Park Commission formed.
Grafton & Upton Railroad tracks extended from Upton into Hopedale. They were
completed into Milford early in 1890.
1900 - Town Park and Parklands established.
1900, October 27 - Adin Ballou statue dedicated.
1901 - Hope Street Bridge built.
Trolley service, which had been running from Milford to Draper Company, now extended
through Hopedale to Uxbridge.
1902 - Electric streetcar passenger service between Milford and North Grafton replaces
the steam train service started in 1890.
1903 - The Little Red Shop is moved to its third location, the north side of Freedom
Street, on the west bank of Hopedale Pond.
Oakledge, the Frank and Malinda Dutcher home at 34 Adin Street destroyed by
1904 - Bathhouse constructed. Town beach opened. Males only.
Statue of Hope presented to town by Susan Preston Draper.
1905 - Young ladies and women granted permission to swim at town beach. Separate
hours from boys and men for the next several decades.
1906 - First Union Evangelical Church constructed.
The Draper Company produces 20,000 Northrop loom is during this year. They
are sold for approximately $140 each. More looms are made overseas under license.
The Draper Company builds a warehouse with offices for sales and service in
Atlanta, Georgia. Other southern locations soon follow at Spartanburg, South Carolina
and Greensboro and Biltmore, North Carolina.
moved to Freedom Street, where they became known as the Seven Sisters.
1909 - Eben Sumner Draper elected Governor of Massachusetts. He serves for two one-
Joseph Bancroft dies.
Draper but had been purchased a month before the fire by his aunt, Hannah
Draper Osgood. She replaced it with home that is there now.
1910, January 28 - General William F. Draper dies.
May 30 - Statue of General Draper dedicated on the grounds of the family
1910 - Chapel Association buys Green Store and converts it to a church.
President William Howard Taft stops in Hopedale and visits with Gov. Eben
Draper during a trip to Massachusetts.
Hopedale Ladies Sewing Society and Branch Alliance collect memories of
people who as children grew up in the Hopedale Community and published them under
the title, Hopedale Reminiscences.
1910 - 1912 - Construction of Lake Point (Progress, Lake and Soward streets) begins
1912 - General Draper statue dedicated in Milford.
Fire department completely motorized; use of horses discontinued.
1913, April 1- A violent strike at Drapers begins, ending unsuccessfully three months
The first of several years of Sunday afternoon Victrola concerts held at Bancroft
1914 - Park Street School built.
Eben S. Draper dies.
1915 - 1916 - Dutcher Street fire station constructed.
1920 - Johanna Connelly becomes the first woman in Hopedale to vote. (More on
women's suffrage in Hopedale.)
1923 - The Community House, a gift of George Albert Draper, constructed. Draper dies
before its .completion
1927 - General Draper High School constructed on the site formerly occupied by the
Children's Room donated to Bancroft Library by Anna Bancroft.
1928 - Grafton & Upton Railroad passenger service discontinued.
1935 - Sacred Heart Church established. Hopedale's original high school converted to
1942 - Draper plant expanded for wartime work. Loom production essentially
suspended. Plant produces internal grinders, 75 mm pack howitzers and magnetos.
1948 - Draper Field built and opened.
Hopedale establishes its own water department.
1949 - Hopedale Pond drained and dredged.
1950s - Original school/chapel razed, along with the Chapel Street School and two
duplexes on the same block.
1951 - The Little Red Shop is moved to the corner of Hopedale and Freedom streets
where it is operated as a Draper Corporation museum.
Draper Field lights taken down and sent to South Carolina.
Foundry workers at Draper Corp. on strike for a month.
1954 - Draper Corporation begins the sale of its houses.
Memorial Elementary School constructed. Opens in September 1956.
1955, November 22 - The George Albert Draper Memorial Gymnasium, financed by an
anonymous donor, dedicated. Donor later identified as Wickliffe Preston Draper.
1963 - Sacred Heart Church built.
Union Evangelical Church built, replacing church destroyed by fire in 1962.
rotary temple which became the starting point of the company's success.
The Food Center (originally Henry Patrick's Store) razed and replaced by a new
1967 - Rockwell-Standard (later North American Rockwell and in 1973 renamed
Rockwell International) acquires Draper Corporation.
1968 - Highest attendance at Hopedale Pond for a season - 18,387.
Water Cure House on Hopedale Street razed.
1970 - November 4 - Voters approve all types of alcoholic beverage licenses.
November 13 - Aerosmith plays first of several concerts at Hopedale Town Hall.
1974 - Hope Street Bridge closed. (Dismantled, 1979.)
South Hopedale branch library closed.
1978 - Rockwell International sells Grafton & Upton Railroad to Torco, Inc., of Worcester.
Rockwell. (This purchase being the reason the foundry has been under separate
ownership since that time.)
Hope Street bridge demolished.
1980 - Lake Wales Plastics opens in former West Foundry.
August - Rockwell ends the operation of its Draper Division in Hopedale and
closes the plant.
Construction begins on new wastewater treatment plant. Completed in 1984.
also operated as L&S Plastics and Commodore Plastics.
Dutcher Street School converted to condominiums.
September - $35-M Condo proposal for Draper plant presented to selectmen.
October - Centennial time capsule buried - to be opened in 50 years.
April - Town meeting televised for first time.
had been located there, including Incase (makers of display boxes, jewelry boxes, cases
for pens, eyeglass cases, etc), Consolidated Coating (contract spray painting of parts
for various items), Opus (bird feeders), and Ironworks Gym, and probably others,
first floor windows of the shop.
Fr. Reilley Center at Sacred Heart Church constructed and dedicated.
home subdivision on Old Salt Box Road off of Overdale Parkway.
Draper's Store were razed in 2020 2016. Three houses on the northwest corner of the
Mendon Street-Hopedale Street intersection, as well as the Cumberland Farms store,
were taken down in 2017, to make room for the new Cumberland Farms The South
Hopedale School was also taken down in 2017. 138 Hopedale Street was razed on
January 25, 2018. The stone crusher at Rosenfeld's was taken down in 2018..Click here
for photos of all of these.