General Alexander Scammell  - A page of clippings about General Scammell sent by Dick
    Grady. The general grew up in what was Mendon at the time. The location was near what is
    now the Hopedale-Milford border, roughly at the site of what was once known as The Larches.

    Recent additions to existing pages include: Kids at the Pond (Added to the
    bottom of a page with another picture of kids standing on the raft at Hopedale Pond that has
    been on the site for several years.)     Nipmuc at the Clark Tournament (Articles from the
    tournament in 1993, 1997, and the last game at the Wilho Frigard Gym.)     Deaths   


    Hopedale, Mass - To be let for the summer or longer - A fine estate consisting of mansion
    house of about 15 rooms, completely furnished; stable with 4 stalls, carriage and man's room
    and about 10 acres of land. The house is large and airy, has 2 baths, open fireplaces in all the
    rooms, excellent furnace, gas, electric lighting, hardwood floors and broad piazzas. The
    grounds are well laid out with fine lawns, well-kept garden, fine trees, shrubs, etc. Hopedale is
    about an hour's ride from Boston via the Boston & Albany R.R., and is considered one of the
    most charming and healthiest towns in the state. Rental moderate. Further particulars of Henry
    D. Bennett, 7 Exchange Place, Boston - Ad in a Boston newspaper, 1898

    The former Sylvanus Madden house on Upton Road, the oldest house in Hopedale, which was
    recently razed, was on the site of a former sawmill. The mill was operated by a Robert
    Saunders. According to the Ballou History of Milford, the house was built about 1756 and was
    occupied by several members of the Saunders family. In excellent condition, the house was
    most recently occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Merrill. There were no modern conveniences.
    Milford Daily News, Dec. 23, 1958. Click here to see the remains of the house.


    Despite trucks and airplanes, the railroads still have a place in this country. For many, it is a
    place in the heart. Just 75 years ago, rail service began between Milford and Hopedale, Upton,
    West Upton and North Grafton on the tiny Grafton & Upton Railroad.

    On the anniversary of that beginning, May 17, 1890, Henry Billings II, treasurer and general
    freight agent of the 15-mile line, arranged for a group to take a ride.

    Along with Fred Kardon of Athol, a photographer, and railroad buff Alfred Arnold of Holden and
    his son, Tad, we boarded the caboose and pulled out of the Hopedale depot at 11:35 am.
    Trainmaster F. Wilder Temple waved the signal and engineer Walter Beauchamp and
    conductor George Belcher started the daily run. Edward Aslanian, Robert Boudreau and
    Stanley Ferr completed the crew.

    Behind the big locomotive rolled eight carloads of Draper Corp. looms, some headed for
    Mexico. Paul Roberts joined the passengers as the train rumbled past the new Draper foundry.

    There was no club car and certainly no diner, but the smooth, slow ride and the passing scene
    made our bagful of sandwiches a refreshing lunch. The trainmen knew every inch of the way (a
    few words missing here) deer and cattle crossings at Brook's Farm, the green acres of Old
    Cemetery, then Brooks Street, where in 1927, and again in the early 1930s, flood waters from
    traversing streams washed out the tracks for more than 200 feet.

    Then the train passed the Grove Street crossing and the site of the old Upton depot which no
    longer exists. Milk from local farms and hats from local factories were loaded years ago at this

    Remarking on the fine condition of the roadbed, we asked Roberts what kink of timber they
    used for ties, since native chestnut is no longer available. He told us that native hardwoods,
    usually oak, had replaced the chestnut.

    Picking up speed, we headed on. There were many crossings, and at each, bells and whistles
    signaled our approach. The Arnolds were taking full advantage of the unusual ride, each
    replacing the other at various vantage points. Al Arnold is a dyed-in-the-wool rail buff; no
    mistake about that, since he was making the trip on his vacation. He had recently returned
    from New Hampshire where he had ridden the rails of some long-forgotten railroad.

    As the train climbed the gradual grade toward Grafton Center, Roberts told us that the line's
    freight has changed a lot over the years. No longer is it milk, hats, grain and lumber. The main
    part is Draper supplies and manufactured goods, but Washington Emery Mills of North Grafton
    is still a good customer, and Jesse White's Lake Nipmuc boats arrive in G&U cars.

    Freight handling, too, has changed in Waterville, as Grafton's north end is often called. Our
    diesel quickly dropped its eight-car load for New York Central pickup later, coupled up two cars
    of assorted hardware and our caboose, and started the homeward run. No turntable was
    required. The modern diesel-electric locomotives, unlike the old-time steamers, run just as well
    either way. Only 15 minutes was needed for the switch.

    The return trip disclosed many places where curves had been straightened in the roadbed, the
    old bed still visible as an occasional cartpath. Dunn's crossing in Grafton, we recalled, was a
    cattle crossing even in the old trolley days.

    Keeping the roadbed and right-of-way in good condition, we learned, is no easy task, even for
    a small line like the G&U. There is brush to be cut and burned, many culverts to be cleaned,
    warning signs to be repaired, and numbers of other tasks to keep a section hand busy.

    Flocks of sheep and grazing cattle still populate the fields we passed, but cowcatchers are not
    standard equipment on modern locomotives.

    Back in West Upton we stopped at the depot, not to take on mail or freight, but to take a few
    pictures. Then back into the caboose and on to Hopedale.

    Seventy-five years ago Upton made quite a thing out of the opening of the new railroad. There
    were speeches and brass bands and girls carrying what was described as a "mammoth"
    garland of evergreen boughs. The citizenry paraded down to the now vanished Upton depot
    where two trains, one from Grafton and one from Milford, met in classic fashion. The next day
    the freight began pouring in, and the passengers also.

    Divided into three gangs, a force of 300 men and 75 teams of horses toiled for months to cut
    through the rocky barrier that blocked the rails' passage between the twin villages of West
    Upton and Upton Center, Hopedale on the south and Grafton to the west. (In Gordon Hopper's
    history of the G&U, he wrote that the 300 men and 75 teams were used when the line was
    extended from West Upton to Hopedale and Milford.)

    Agitation for a rail line had been in the air for several years, notably from 1879 when William
    Knowlton served as senator from the district at the State House in Boston. He became a
    director of the newly-formed line and a locomotive was named for him.

    No longer does the G&U carry passengers as a regular thing, of course. Now there are swifter
    modes of transportation between Hopedale and North Grafton. None, we'll vow, are more
    interesting than the "old reliable" G&U, still going strong after 75 years. Worcester Gazette,
    date unknown, but based on the first two paragraphs must have been in 1965.

                                         G&U Railroad Menu                Ezine Menu

    The locomotive on the trip described below must have been G&U No. 1001. The picture
    above was taken in May 2008. No. 1001 was scrapped a few years later. Here's what
    Gordon Hopper had to say about it in his History of the Grafton and Upton Railroad.

    The company then purchased a 1,000 horsepower model S4 ALCO-GE locomotive for
    daily road service and it was put into use on July 1, 1952. The new locomotive weighed
    121 tons and it was identified as number 1001. When it was acquired, the cost was
    approximately $120,000 and it served as the road locomotive for more than 30 years.

    Its original wheels were replaced during 1969, and on July 17, 1974 a set of two rebuilt
    trucks complete with traction motors were installed on the locomotive in the Hopedale
    yard by G&U personnel.
A Ride on the G&U Railroad

By Chester W. Walker
Worcester Gazette Staff Reporter