Mill Town or Shop Village?

    In The History of the Hopedale Community, Adin Ballou on several occasions mentions
    the mechanic shop built by the Community.  When I was a kid in Hopedale in the 1950s,
    Drapers was always referred to as "the shop."  I don't recall it ever being called "the
    mill."  When the signs pictured above were put up someone wrote a letter to The Milford
    News stating, as I recall, that buildings carrying on the type of work done at Drapers
    weren't called mills; they were shops and therefore, Hopedale wasn't a mill village. At
    around the same time (February 1996), The Milford Daily News printed a picture of one
    of the signs, with the following caption. "Two new, historic signs in Hopedale incorrectly
    label Hopedale as 'A Mill Village.' Apparently the Blackstone Valley 'sign people' don't
    know their history. Draper Corporation was never a mill. It was the largest cotton loom
    manufacturing plant in the world. The signs are both in the downtown area."

    Shortly after that, on March 4, 1996, the News printed another letter on the subject. It

    As an aside to the devastating Bernat Mill fire in Uxbridge, I was somewhat disappointed
    to note your paper is still referring to the former Draper Corp. building in Hopedale as
    the "Draper Mill."  I thought that Mr. Sparling had explained in a letter that Drapers
    wasn't really a mill, it was a shop that manufactured textile machinery to service and
    supply the mills, where cloth was woven.  Perhaps this is a very small point to many
    today, but for we former employees, and longtime residents of Hopedale, it makes us
    cringe to read such a misnomer.  I don't think the signs that proclaim Hopedale as being
    a Mill Town are accurate either.  Don McGrath Hopedale, Milford News on July 29,

    In recent years the term "mill" has come into common use for all old factories in the
    area, but in the past in Hopedale it was only used when speaking of the Spindleville (or
    Westcott) Mill.  DM

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    And of course the Milford News made it quite clear on the first page of the
    article that they would continue, in spite of the headline, to call it a mill.

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