The Larches

    The mansion on Williams Street that straddles the Hopedale-Milford line was originally known as
    The Larches. It was named for the larch trees that can still be seen on the grounds. The first home
    there was owned by George Otis Draper, a son of General William F. and Lilla Draper. "Otis" sold it to
    his aunt, Hannah (Draper) Osgood, in 1909. Within a month the house burned down. (See Milford
    News article on the fire near the bottom of this page.) The house that's there now was soon built and
    Hannah and her daughter, Fanny Osgood, moved in. Both Hannah and Fanny died in 1929. The
    Hopedale street listing for 1930 shows George Draper Osgood, 42, Fanny's brother, living there. (By
    1939, and perhaps sooner, George was living at 50 Greene Street, the home of Dana Osgood, later
    known as the Harel House.)

    The upper three pictures were scanned from postcards. They show the original home on the site.
    The fire occurred on May 21, 1909.

    Alexander Scammell was born at this site in 1744. He was named Adjutant General of the
    Continental Army at Valley Forge by his friend, General George Washington. He was mortally
    wounded at Yorktown, the last American general to die in the Revolutionary War. (This information
    came from Dick Grady. Click here for more.)

    By the 1950s, The Larches had become a Draper Corporation inn. Visiting businessmen could stay
    there, and as the fourth photo shows, there was a restaurant. As I recall, families could purchase
    memberships at The Larches, and one of the benefits was the use of the pool. Marge Horton
    recalled the Draper years at The Larches as being a time of elegant parties and events. She said that
    the Milford National Bank would hold its Christmas parties there every year, and that it was also the
    site of wedding receptions, and formal dances. The Fecteaus, who operated the cafeteria at the
    Draper shop also ran the kitchen at The Larches, and Marge said that the meals there were excellent.

    The Larches is now the site of Community Clubhouse, a rehabilitative community offering
    opportunities and support in employment, education and housing for adults with mental illness.
    Following the "Clubhouse Model" of rehabilitation, the program emphasizes work, participation and
    choice. Participants are members, not patients, and the focus is on their strengths, not their illness.

    "In that crumpled-up shot of the dining room is my father! He is looking to his left at something Tom
    West has (hidden by the man back-to). I can't place the 4th man at the table, but you might have a
    candid of four Draper executives there!" This identification, referring to the fourth picture, was sent by
    David Snider. His father was Claude Snider.

    The last four pictures show the second home on the site. The one taken from the air was shot before
    the water tower was built in 1948-49.. The one above the newspaper picture was taken in 2006.

          Here's more on The Larches, from a Milford Daily News article, printed in 1978.

    The Larches, a status symbol of residents in the 50s, has become the property of Dr. Vincent J.
    Arone, who plans to use the property for a residential educational facility for special children. The
    property was the home originally of George Otis Draper and was destroyed by fire on May 21, 1901.
    Following the fire, the property was purchased by Hanna Thwing (Draper) and Edward Osgood. The
    year was 1914 and the couple erected a new home on the Water Street hill, spending their summers
    at The Larches and their winters in Boston. The building which Dr. Arone purchased is the one
    constructed following the fire.

    The Osgoods lived at the corner of Hopedale and Draper streets prior to purchasing the large parcel
    of property upon which they constructed the large, beautiful home. The Osgood’s Hopedale and
    Draper street property is now the land upon which the Community House is located. Mrs. Osgood
    was the sister of General Draper, Governor Draper and George Albert Draper. The couple had a
    daughter, Hannah Osgood Townsend, who occupied The Larches after her parents. After that, the
    property became a private club, with membership limited to Draper officials and top ranking
    department heads and their families. During the early 50s, those who belonged to The Larches and
    had use of the facilities, including the spacious swimming pool, were looked upon as upper class
    residents. The status somewhat disappeared as Draper Corporation divested itself of its holdings
    and finally, its business and as The Larches became used as the residence of Robert Page, who
    was president for Draper Division, Rockwell International and the use of the facility was no longer
    open to outsiders. The Larches at one time also served as an inn, providing lodging for visiting
    Rockwell personnel. In recent years, the estate has gone unoccupied and unused.

    Dr. Arone, who operates a residential educational facility for special children from all over the country,
    at another former Draper estate on Adin Street, plans to expand his facility at The Larches. Dr. Arone
    has operated the Adin Street school for more than 20 years. The Larches property includes a large
    parcel of land and when Rockwell announced the availability of its land holdings, several contractors
    were eyeing the land for housing developments.

    The two mansions changed ownership on two successive days late in June. According to the office
    of Larkin Real Estate, The Larches was sold on June 27 and The Crossways was sold on June 28.

    Larkin Real Estate was the firm involved in bringing another change to the Town of Hopedale in
    recent weeks with the sale of the Town Hall Spa to Dimitrias and Nikol Karaberi. The Karaberis have
    opened the town’s first and only House of Pizza in the section of Town Hall which has traditionally
    housed a coffee shop type operation .Virginia Cyr, Milford Daily News, July 10, 1978.

      Peg Sweeney and the Boston Celtics at The Larches             Now and Then Menu              HOME

    The caption says after the fire, the house was rebuilt to its original design. Can't say that I see that. I
    don't have the date for this, but it was the Rockwell era - the late sixties or the seventies. Here's what
    Anne Foster Day wrote about that:  "That would have to be late 60's for sure. I lived right across the
    street and can remember going to the Page's quite often. We left 'Hopedale in 1972."

    There's a bit of Larches trivia in the article above. For a
    while at least, maybe just while the Townshends lived
    there, it was called Hillcrest.

    Above, the first Larches. It burned in May 1909. See more on the fire at the bottom of this
    page. And then, in 1916 the garage and stable burned.. See clipping below.  Mrs. Osgood,
    George Otis Draper's aunt, had purchased the house about a month before the 1909 fire.

Google Earth view of The Larches

    This slightly different satellite view shows the Hopedale/Milford
    town line passing through The Larches. I've often heard that
    although Hopedale was a "dry town," alcohol could be served
    there because the bar was on the Milford side. The Hopedale
    water tank can be seen at the lower right.

    I've included this letter because of what it says about the current
    use of the Larches. However, as you see on this page, The
    Larches was the home of the governor's sister, Hannah Thwing
    Draper Osgood. The governor's home was The Ledges.

    The article above from the Milford Daily News, May 22, 1909, and copied from microfilm at
    the Milford Library. Note that although the headline refers to it as the G.O. Draper mansion,
    it was owned by Mrs. Osgood at the time of the fire. Also note that it was referred to as her
    summer home. By that time the Drapers were spending much of each year in Boston.

Thanks to John Butcher for this clipping.

From Amy Burns's Hopedale postcard collection.