December 1, 2007
    Hopedale History
    No. 97
    The Harel House

      What happened to No. 95? I know there are a few of you who notice such things. Somehow I followed No.
    94, Sand in the Attic, with No. 96, The Ballou Farm. There was no 95. Oh, well, on with 97.

    Friends of Historic Hopedale holiday house tour.    

    Hopedale in November      

    The Little Red Shop Renovation Project Menu   

    Silent auction, Hopedale PTO, December 1, 7:30 PM, Myriad Ballroom, Mendon.

    Can and bottle collection, Hopedale High School, December 1, 9 to 1, for Cooperstown trip.

    Sacred Heart Church fair, December 1, 10 to 2.

    Breakfast with Santa, Union Church, December 1, 8 to 11. Admission, $4 per person. Free all-u-can-eat
    pancake breakfast. Free pictures with Santa,  and kids crafts. Huge raffle.

    Kris Kringle Fair, Unitarian Church, December 1, 10 to 2.

    In the December-January issue of Journeys, the Blackstone Valley paper available free at many locations in
    the area, there's an excellent article on Adin Ballou and the Hopedale Community. It's titled, "Peace on
    Earth."  You can read it online.  To go to the Journeys homepage,, click here You'll find
    lots of useful links and there.


       You had to go a bit out of your way to get to it, but those of you who lived in Hopedale in the last half of the
    twentieth century would remember the Harel House. Located well off of Greene Street, near the railroad
    crossing, it had been the home of Dana Osgood, son of Edward Louis and Hannah Thwing Draper Osgood.
    His land extended down to where Dana Park and McVitty Road are now. Dana Park was named for him. The
    reincarnation of Osgood's estate as the Harel House is detailed in the following Milford News article. (The
    story below is a condensed version. Click here for the complete article, with photos.)  

                                                                          The Harel House

                                                                             By Nick J. Tosches
                                                                                Daily News Staff

      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.

      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

      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 named - you guessed it; Harel.  

      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 each.

      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

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

      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
    silkscreen designs requires 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.

      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.        


    Recent death:

    Roy Nutting, 83, November 14, 2007

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The former Harel House in 2016
The Harel House lawn furniture in the garden in a past decade only hints at the
varied life the house has had.
The Harel House, in its heyday, shows the beauty of the much-storied 21-room
uniquely architectured house in the woods in Hopedale.