November 15, 2014
Burned in Boston
Hopedale in November
Eben Draper Bancroft - son of Joseph and Sylvia Bancroft - vice president of Draper Corporation at the time
of his death in 1925.
During the past two weeks, I've made additions to the following: The War Years in Hopedale (Form used in
applying for ration books. Also an MDN photo of kids at a patriotic program three weeks before Pearl
Harbor, and memories from Bud Clement about VJ Day.) Gov. Eben Draper (Milford News Mr. Know-it-All
column.) Fire Department history (MDN article, 2003 addition.) Billy Draper's Store (Sold, 1990)
Harrison Block (Hopedale Pharmacy Sold to Romiglio, 1990) Deaths
A few days ago I realized that I had forgotten to include Graceland in the Homes with Names article. Yes,
Graceland in Hopedale, not the one in Tennessee. It was the home of Warren and Malinda Dutcher (who
had a daughter named Grace) and it still stands, wonderfully restored over the past few years, at the corner
of Dutcher and Adin streets. I can remember it being the Graceland Nursing Home in the fifties, but the
name goes back before that to when the Dutchers were living there.
April 1911 - Six seniors at the local high school and nine from Mendon, accompanied by Principals J.K
Fenner and B. W. Sanderson left Providence Saturday for a visit to Washington. Milford Journal
Nov. 29, 1935 - The first marriage to be solemnized at the Sacred Heart Church took place yesterday
morning when Miss Mary Pauline Scalzi, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Scalzi, and Clarence A. DeRoche,
son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. DeRoche took vows. Milford Daily News
March 16, 1962 - Discontinuance of the senior class trip to Washington after the 1962-63 school year has
been announced by the School Committee. Milford Daily News
Governor Draper's Residence is Burned
Beautiful Beacon Street Home Scene of $200,000 Blaze Early Today
Two Firemen Injured
Fire which broke out at 5 o'clock this morning completely destroyed the magnificent winter residence of
Gov. Eben S. Draper, at 150 Beacon Street, Boston, causing a property loss of fully $200,000.
The cause of the conflagration is unknown, as the house had been closed all summer and there had been
nobody there since 5 o'clock last evening when the workmen who were putting the mansion into shape for
The fire had evidently been burning several hours before the firemen arrived, and when the flames did
break out they made a spectacular fire that could be seen for miles around, and threatened at one time to
spread to other residences close by.
Gov. Draper was at his home in Hopedale last night, but left for Boston at 6:15 this morning in his auto
when a message arrived that his new home was in flames and likely to be destroyed.
Mrs. Draper is at present in Paris with her daughter, and does not yet know of the disaster that has befallen
her beautiful home which was rated among the most palatial of the many Boston residences.
Ladderman George Waggett, of the Boston Fire Department was overcome by smoke while on duty in the
building, and fell two stories through a broken balustrade, but escaped death, being rushed to the Boston
City Hospital. District Chief Daniel Sennott, in charge of the work on the burning house, was also overcome
and had to be helped from the building by his men.
Miss Elizabeth Gillis, employed as a maid at 152 Beacon Street, next door to the Governor's house,
discovered the fire. She was awakened by the crackling of the flames, went to the rear of the house, and
opened a window, when a sheet of flame burst from a window on the lower floor of the Governor's house.
She telephoned to fire headquarters and engines 23 and 10 were dispatched to the house on a still alarm.
When those two fire companies arrived the two lower floors and the basement of the house were in flames
that were just beginning to eat their way into the third floor.
The firemen opened the front door and a sheet of flames swept them off the steps.
An alarm was sounded from box 63, followed a minute later by a second alarm. Chief Mullin arrived with the
apparatus on the second alarm and immediately took command of the firemen.
By this time the flames had made their way from the cellar to the roof through the center of the hose, and
spread out over every floor. Flames were bursting from all the windows, sending glass into the streets in
showers. Inside, the building was a seething furnace, and the firemen were unable to get near the front
door owing to the intense heat.
Extension ladders were raised and a dozen or more lines of hose were played on the fire, pouring
immense quantities of water into the building. It was some time however before the firemen were able to
force their way into the ground floor.
The big reception room, fitted with the most costly furnishings, was a whirlpool of fire, and the smoke was
so dense the firemen could not grope their way. It was here that Sennott was overcome.
Daggett was hurt when the firemen reached the third floor by the great staircase that rises from the
reception hall. It is feared that he is internally injured
The fire had eaten away the stairs leading to the fourth floor and was raging fiercely at this point. The
firemen were forced to make the attempt to fight it from the outside.
Four firemen were placed on the narrow stone coping which runs along the building on the fourth floor, and
with their clothing steaming from the heat and their faces blistered they hovered between life and death for
three-quarters of an hour, fighting the flames. Other firemen from the inside, unconscious of the fact that the
quartet were on the coping outside, sent streams of water through the windows, nearly knocking
Ladderman Goodfellow to the ground.
The four firemen were loudly applauded and were later commended by Chief Mullen for their bravery.
State Fire Marshall S.D. Smith of Boston is investigating the fire's origin. Inquiry developed the fact that
carpenters and painters had been in the house for several days in charge of caretakers, who swear that
everything was in proper order at 7 o'clock when they left the building
Governor Draper arrived at Boston at 7:45 o'clock this morning, but the damage had all been don then. He
did not return here, but will remain at the Parker House tonight.
A short circuit of the wires inside the residence is now believed to have caused the fire, which did the most
damage on the third floor. The flames did not reach the roof, and the basemen damage is only by water, but
the contents of the mansion are all destroyed and the huge steel girders of the building are so bend and
twisted that it is thought the loss is total and all must be torn down.
The Governor's residence was built only a little more than a year ago and was furnished with the greatest
care. The art treasures and the personal belongings of the Governor and his family can never be replaced.
The property was insured, but no figures were obtainable today, and official of the Draper Co. stating that
the loss will exceed $200,000. Milford Daily News, October 5, 1909
To read about another fire that destroyed a Draper home in 1909, see Now and Then at The Larches.
Hopedale Pond - November 10