June 15, 2007
Boy Scout Troop 1 will be collecting returnable cans and bottles at the high school parking lot
on Saturday, June 16 from eight until noon.
Here’s a question for you. A couple of months ago I added a few more stories to the veteran’s
section of my Hopedale website. One was about Douglas D’Orsay, who was killed in Vietnam
in 1965. A short while later I received a question that asked why he wasn’t listed on the
Vietnam Wall. I took a look at a website with all the names, and I couldn’t find him either. If you
know anything about this, I’d like to hear from you.
Progress is continuing on preparation for the Little Red Shop Museum restoration. Tom
McGovern’s work on this project continues to bring in support. Among other items in the last
week, one of his customers has agreed to do any custom picture framing with museum glass
and mattes at no charge. I hope I’ll soon be able to tell you that a contract has been signed to
do the work on the shop.
Many times over the last five decades or six, I’ve heard stories about Hopedale’s greatest
swimmer, John Stanas. They were usually about a race with Johnny Weissmuller, aka Tarzan.
I’ve been unable to get anything on that, but here’s an article on Stanas that was in the Milford
News a few years ago.
Stanas Was Pride of Hopedale
By James Buckley
A Hopedale boy became the talk of the town in August 1931, due to the superb swimming
expertise he manifested that summer. A novice swimmer, John Stanas began his career as a
swimming competitor in Mendon a few months before. One of the swim coaches in the area
observed that Stanas was competition material and encouraged him to seriously consider
competing in the forthcoming meets. This proved to be very wise advice. In the 800-yard event
that season, he placed second. Subsequently, he captured the National Junior 800-yard title.
Then he went on to win the New England 400-yard event. At that time he began to compete
under the colors of the Whitinsville Community Center.
Then success prompted his advisors to have him sign up for the NEAAU Senior Long
Distance Championship competition to be held at Revere Beach on August 30, 1931. Some
observers commented that such a decision was unrealistic. First, although Stanas had won
the national junior competition and the New England competition, he was nonetheless a
novice swimmer. Secondly, competing in a swimming pool was quite different from
competing in the ocean.
These comments were taken into consideration by his advisors, but after some discussion,
Stanas began training for the August 30 competition.
In order to keep in shape, on August 27, John competed in the Whitinsville A.C. 100 meter
freestyle handicap event at the pool at Revere. He came in third. While this was a respectable
prize, it gave the naysayers some ammunition for their argument that he was just not ready for
the ocean competition being held three days later.
There were 11 competitors that August day. In order to win first prize, a swimmer had to be the
first to negotiate a triangular two and a half mile course. The ocean did not cooperate.
Although the sun was shining, the sea was choppy and as a result, the first leg of the
competition was brutal. Also, the water was unseasonably cold.
As for his competitors, Stanas was aware before he began the race that he had at least one
formidable opponent. William Nolan had led the pack for most of the day during the Boston
Lighthouse swim the week before. And sure enough, during the first quarter mile, Nolan was
right behind Stanas. But then Nolan made a mistake. Instead of swimming around the
outside of the marker, he veered into the triangle, causing him to have to swim 70 extra yards
in order to be allowed to continue.
Meantime, Stanas completed the course in the extraordinary time of one hour, four minutes
and 38 seconds. This broke the previous record for that event. Nolan came in second, almost
200 yards behind Stanas.
He proved that his performance to date was not a flash in the pan. On September 7, 1931, he
went on to win the 100-meter freestyle event at the open swimming meet at Pout Pond,
Uxbridge. He nosed out Arthur Broadhurst of Whitinsville by completing the distance in one
minute and seven seconds.
As a result, John’s spectacular record provided Hopedale residents with another reason to be
proud of their community that summer during the second year of the Great Depression.
Milford Daily News
The 1930 Hopedale list of poll tax payers records John Stanas as living at 4 Jones Road.
(That being the street now called Lower Jones Road.) His age was 20 and his occupation
was machinist. His parents lived at the same address.
Constance M. (Moore) Porter, May 30, 2007.
Antonio A. Porzio, Onset, June 5, 2007.
M. Beverly (Markham) Johnson, 77, Brandenton, Florida
Gladys M. (Wood) Kimball, 94, June 7, 2007.
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