Surrounded by a woodland and far from the noise and bustle of a business district, an
    exclusive mail order manufacturing company has been operating in Hopedale nearly
    unnoticed the past 14 months. The company's patrons are artistically minded people
    from all over the world. They order many hand made personal and decorative
    accessories from the company whose costly advertising appears in several national
    household magazines.

     This young but already nationally known business is situated on the 15-acre former
    Osgood property off Greene Street, about a half mile from the roadway. The office and
    several art rooms are located in the nearly 50 year-old mansion that is presently having
    its face done over. The hand-blocking, printing, and sewing rooms are located in a
    building not far from the home. Part of this building was a former chicken coop, and
    eventually it will become the site for all phases of the work.

     How such a business came to Hopedale is a short story. Harry Lacey, an artist,
    decorator and designer for about 20 years, and his artist-designer wife, Elizabeth,
    became fed up with the rush of city living and tending to the many tasks involved in
    operating a retail shop in Boston's Back Bay. After a search of nearly a year for a
    country home and land which would enable them to further develop the mail order line of
    their business, the Laceys were introduced to their dream spot in Hopedale on the
    afternoon of April 1, 1946, and bought it 10 minutes later from Louis McVitty.

     They have no regrets in choosing their new home and business site. Four months after
    the purchase the new firm began operating under the name of Harel House, a name
    derived from Harry and Elizabeth. About the same time they became the parents of a
    daughter, who was guessed it; Harel. Names in the Lacey family seem as
    artistic as the items manufactured. Even their German shepherd dog has an impressive  
    title, Erika von Grafmar.

      Mr. Lacey, a slight man with nervous energy, revealed that most of his firm's business
    is done with people in southern and western states. Orders come in daily from nearly
    every state in the union, and shipments are made to Alaska, Africa, Hawaii and South
    America. The two latter mentioned countries [Yes, that's what it says.] are becoming a
    great selling ground for the Hopedale firm.

     Among the items that are manufactured there are unique lamps, wastebaskets,
    cigarette boxes, angora lambskin rugs, copper and brass items, cocktail napkins, card
    table covers, hand printed wallpaper, picnic mats and cloths, "glamorous" clothes
    hangers, personal cases for shirts, neckties, handkerchiefs, shoes and bottles and
    many other unique hand made items that are not to be found in retail shops. The
    success of the business depends entirely on the approval of goods by an exclusive
    clientele. An exquisitely painted wastebasket sells for $15, a monogrammed pure wool
    shirt container is listed for $12. 50, and card table covers are priced as high as $40

     During the past summer season, decorative sea-shells were turned out as a sideline at
    the plant and a small box of them sold for $5. Decorated matchbooks with seasonal
    designs were on sale for $1 per box containing nine books.

      Among the notables who have ordered goods from the Hopedale firm is a Minister of
    the Exterior of a South American country who presented monogrammed cigarette boxes
    for all his embassy friends. They were mailed out all over the world from the Hopedale

     The firm is definitely a mail order business. No one is permitted to see goods at the
    plant. Catalogs of all merchandise are sent out to those requesting them by mail. Mr.
    Lacey states that the entire purpose in settling in a small town like Hopedale was to
    avoid the rush and bother of having to operate a retail shop.

      Since the business began functioning in Hopedale, a few curious people have
    wandered on the grounds. At times this has seriously interrupted work. Many could not
    be convinced readily that there were no goods for display and that retail trade could not
    be handled.

     The advertising matter in pamphlets, catalogs and notices that appear in magazines
    such as Parents, Vogue and Vanity Fair, House and Garden, House Beautiful and
    others, carry a sketch of the old Osgood mansion. This detailed piece of work was done
    by Elizabeth Lacey. Most of the trade products appear in ads under the name of
    Elizabeth Lacey, Hopedale, Mass., but some of the decorative work is publicized under
    the name Harel House, alone.

     Kearsley's studio handles all the photographic work for the business, and Forbes
    Press, also of Hopedale, does much of the printing work.

     In a business of this type, the planning and the result of advertising in every section of
    the country is very important. A chart is kept of orders from the entire world. Ads placed
    in magazines carry a key number so that the firm can determine how effective its
    advertising has been in any particular publication.

     In addition to being an artist and renowned decorator, Mr. Lacey is also a shrewd
    businessman. He handles all the work involved in long range, high priced national
    advertising, and checks their worth in the 48 states and other countries. After a period
    of "hit and miss" he has found out that only the higher grade of household magazines
    aid his business. Spending thousands of dollars annually, for a comparatively small
    business such as Harel House requires expert planning and supervision.

     All workers at the plant are from Hopedale, Milford, Millis and other surrounding towns.
    Mr. Lacey expects to have a payroll of about 50 employees when his plant enters full-
    scale operations. He is still searching for skilled help for fine embroidery, art and other
    work of this nature. Harold Moran of the Milford High School faculty has assisted Mr.
    Lacey in procuring students to aid in packaging catalogs for mailing and doing other
    work in the plant.

     One special operation is the hand printing of various designs on linens and other
    fabrics. This process involves the use of a silk screen into which a design has been cut.
    When the proper inks are pressed over the pattern, it is transferred to the linen in fine
    detail. Some designs have several colors and many operations are required to complete
    a single item. Wallpaper is printed in this manner. The cutting of some silk screen
    designs require 250 hours of painstaking work.

     With the fall and winter seasons getting into full swing, Mr. Lacey fears that the
    Hopedale post office will be burdened even more with additional outgoing packages and
    incoming letter orders. In one busy day as many as 200 letters are received and 100
    packages are sent out. An order for 25,000 envelopes has already been placed to
    handle the mailings of catalogs this fall.

     The expression, "It's the box that sells the goods," is very nearly true at Harel House.
    Beautiful bright green boxes will be in evidence next spring to take the place of this fall's
    red and white ones. The ribbon shades also change with the seasons. Only one item
    remains the same. All items have a red and silver tag attached identifying them as
    "Harel House" creations.  

     Many items produced at the Hopedale plant have been featured editorially in
    household magazines in which it advertises. Stories of the artistry and fineness of the
    items manufactured by the firm have been written by several magazine writers.

     Harry Lacey, although enmeshed in the labor of his new undertaking, is still a
    decorator. He is affiliated with several large chain organizations as a consultant
    designer. At present his is working on the Berkeley Store in Milford, under a working
    plan signed several years ago with the chain firm. His is not taking on additional work of
    this type, but merely carrying out work for which he was hired years ago.

     Thus in 14 months the red-headed man, who has a liking for checkered bow ties and
    long type cigarettes, which he smokes in chain fashion, has laid a firm foundation for a
    national business in Hopedale that promises to make the little town well known to an
    exclusive class of people throughout the nation and in several foreign countries.

     This man Harry Lacey and his wife Elizabeth tossed aside a profitable but nerve-
    shattering business in Boston's Back Bay just for peace and quiet in a country
    surrounding. From all indications they have received more than their anticipated reward.
    Their combined ingenuity, decorative ability and business logic, has put the Hopedale
    firm will on the road to permanent success. Milford Daily News, October 18, 1947.

    The Harel House, called Lawlah originally, was the home of Dana and Laird Osgood.
    Dana was the son of Edward and Hannah Thwing Draper Osgood and the grandson of
    George and Hannah Thwing Draper. Osgood's land extended down to the present
    location of Dana Park, which was named for him.

    Up into 1956, the street from the intersection of Hopedale and Greene streets to the
    other end at Greene Street near the Spindleville Pond was named McVitty Road.  Louis
    McVitty was the man who developed the area. In its account of the March 1956
    Hopedale town meeting, the Milford News reported that , "The name of McVitty Road
    was changed to Dana Park by the  voters, with no discussion."  The southern end,
    however, kept the name, McVitty Road.

    Dana and Laird Osgood are listed in the town street listing books up through 1931. The
    Bancroft Library doesn't have the books for 1931 or 1932. They aren't in the books for
    1933 or after. Austin and George Osgood appear in the books at that time. Austin was
    22, listed as a student. George, how had previously been living at the Larches, was 46
    and listed as "at home." By 1945, just George was there. He was in the books up
    through 1952. After that, I've been unable to find him. I looked in the town reports for
    deaths for 1952 and several years after, but he's not there.

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Christmas catalog cover.
The Harel House

By Nick J. Tosches
Daily News Staff

Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for the article above.

The article above is from Perry MacNevin's collection of Hopedale items.

    The former Osgood house/Harel House c. 2000. The original
    address was Greene Street, but now is Jackson Way.

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