Hopedale History
    February 1, 2010
    No. 149
    Extending the G&U

    Hopedale in January   

    Coming to America – The Midgley family.   

    The Hopedale Centennial booklet – If you were in Hopedale in 1986, you’ll seen lots of familiar
    names in it.

    A reunion of all the HHS Clark Championship Teams is being planned - 57, 63, 85, 91, 2000,
    2004. It will be held on Tuesday, February 2.

    The Pickard retirement party at the Larches pictures that I put on my Hopedale website have
    received lots of hits in the past two weeks. I received a couple a corrections that I’ve added to
    page 1.. There’s also been a lot of interest in the shop (Draper) organization chart for 1950.

    The Hopedale Cultural Council is pleased to offer a theater trip to see "Jersey Boys".
    Tuesday, May 25, 2010   7:30 show - Providence Performing Arts Center - Price: $90   
    Orchestra seating and bus transportation. For reservations and information, please contact Billi
    Manning at 508-478-0929. Full Payment is due within 2 weeks of making your reservation.
    Please give your name, address, phone number, and number of tickets.

    The Hopedale town website has complete lists of residents who have served in the armed
    forces during wartime. You can start here with the Spanish-American War and continue up
    through Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks again to Peter Metzke who mentioned this to me from
    way off in Melbourne, Australia.

    Three-hundred men. Seventy-five teams of horses. It must have been quite a sight to see. Here’
    s Gordon Hopper’s story of extending the Grafton and Upton Railroad from Upton to Milford.

                                          Extending the G&U Through Hopedale

                                                               By Gordon Hopper

    A contract to build the eight-mile long extension between Upton and Milford was awarded to
    Newell & Snowling of Uxbridge, Massachusetts during May 1889. Siding tracks were extended at
    West Upton to allow freight service access to coal sheds owned by D.W. Batchelder, and a
    standpipe for supplying water to the locomotives was installed near the West Upton station. On
    September 20, 1889, the Milford Gazette reported that it had been decided to build a new
    station near Grove Street in Upton, planned to be located near the center of a semi-circular

    Construction work on the railroad between Benson & Nelson’s shop and the Upton depot was
    pushed by the contractors in this area, Dunbar and Crockett. During the construction period
    when workers were near what is now called Brown’s Road crossing, it is believed that part of an
    Indian burying ground was uncovered, as several bones, arrowheads, shell beads and an entire
    skeleton were found. By the end of December in 1889, the road had been ballasted between
    Upton and Hopedale and there had been an excursion of officials and directors. The train
    halted at various points of interest while the road was being examined.

    At this time, 300 men and 75 teams of horses were working in three separate work gangs. One
    group was at Milford, one in Hopedale and one was at Upton. The crews worked for 13 months,
    hewing through massive rocky barriers along the crooked roadbeds between each town. No
    power equipment was available and the work was done the difficult way – by man and animal.
    Early in January 1890, construction had reached the Milford-Hopedale town line with 150 men
    and a dozen or more teams still engaged in the work.

    Switching tracks were laid at the Draper Company in Hopedale during January and a bridge
    “over the rollway at Dutcher’s Pond”* was rebuilt in order that freight cars could go directly to
    the foundry. Also in January, the first carload of freight arrived in Milford and went to the elastic
    fabric mill and within one month of completing the work of building the railroad, an injunction was
    served on president Usher by the New York and New England Railroad, preventing the G&U
    from joining the NY & NE near Depot Street  (Upton, Milford???)  Late in March 1890, a
    turntable was built in the Milford yard and work on the new two-stall engine house in Milford was
    completed near the end of April by Weed Bros. & Lent. A 5,000-gallon water tank was erected
    and then filled by the Milford Water Company.

    Differences between the two railroad companies were resolved early in May and trackmen
    finished laying a switch and side tracks in the Milford yard. A party of about 35 people made a
    trip of inspection over the road on May 14. The official opening of the entire line took place on
    May 17, 1890 with several ceremonies taking place.

    The first train out of Worcester that day connected with the G&U train at North Grafton at 7:20 a.
    m. The North Grafton Brass Band with its 20 pieces boarded the train and it left to the strains of
    martial music. The train was boarded by some 75 people at West Upton, and at Upton Center
    there was a great celebration.

    Each side of the railroad station and a nearby hilltop were line with those who had come to see
    the first trains arrive at Upton. Fully 1,000 persons were present for this occasion. At Hopedale,
    no enthusiasm was displayed, nor at Milford when the train arrived at 8:25 a.m. with its 125
    passengers from Upton and Grafton. Gordon E. Hopper, Grafton and Upton Railroad.

    * Dutcher’s Pond must have been the small body of water, just south of Freedom Street.  Some
    maps and mentions of it refer to it as the Lower Pond. In 1856, the Dutcher Temple Company
    set up its business in a 30’ x 40’ shop that had been built by the Hopedale Community at the
    dam on the Lower Pond. As the Draper business grew in the 1890s and the need for
    waterpower ended, the pond was drained and new shops were built where it had been. See

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    Recent death:

    Jaime “Hy” Wagman, 76, Venice, Florida, January 22, 2010.