Blue heron at Hopedale Pond.
[Warren Henry] Manning's earliest involvement with developing Hopedale's park system coincided with his eight year
tenure in the firm of Frederick Law Olmstead. However, the plan was not finalized and work not begun on The Parklands,
162 Dutcher Street, until 1898, by which point Manning had established his own practice. In 1899, the town's Park
Commission, consisting of Frank J. Dutcher, Charles F. Roper, and George Otis Draper, accepted Manning's proposal
for a park of nearly two hundred acres, encompassing the entire shoreline of Hopedale Pond, known at the time as the
Upper Privilege. The Hopedale project provided Manning with "the opportunity on a small scale to do what Olmstead and
Eliot did in Boston with the Muddy River development, which emerged as the nation's first regional park system in 1892."
[Garner, 194] The town appropriated $14,000 initially for the park project and $2,500 annually thereafter, implementing
each year until 1914 a Manning-designed addition or improvement. A park superintendent directed the planting work
and maintenance year-round. Even in the winter, the woods were continually thinned out and brush was burnt. The work
crew burgeoned to thirty or forty men during spring planting season. Alvord, 61-62; Garner, 192-195.
The principal objective of the design and execution of the Parklands was to keep the pond and the park "as natural as
possible, to refuse any touch of artificiality, except in that portion where closeness to the houses forces certain yieldings
to a cultivated aspect." [Alvord, 61] As described by Garner, landscaping entailed combining several properties,
surveying and planning, and ground reclamation through draining, filling, and replanting. [Garner, 194] One of the first
improvements was the creation, in 1899, of a bathing beach at the southern end of the park, near the intersection of
Hopedale, Dutcher, and Northrop Streets. Sand dumped on the ice in the pond during the winter  settled to form
the beach. [Alvord, 61] The bathhouse, designed by Chapman and Frazer, was added in 1904. Near the northeastern
side of the pond, a nursery was established within the boundaries of the park for the purpose of cultivating seedlings,
and transplanting from the nursery took place during a period of at least three weeks each spring. Maple, ash birch,
hickory, and pine seedlings were native to the park. Tree species that were introduced included hemlock, tulip, mountain
ash, Carolina poplar, black alder, striped maple, willows, Japanese barberry, red-osier dogwood, bittersweet, and
cedars. A period account described the 'three rules for planting: the trees must look as though they came there by
accident, the bare places must be gradually covered, [and] picturesque trees must be set on the border of the water."
[Alvord, 62] A ribbon of trails designed in 1907 wound around the irregular shoreline for more than a mile in length; by
1914, this path system of "natural-looking walks," which survives today, extended for more than four miles. Hunting was
prohibited in the park, and 125 birdhouses were raised. Three stone shelters were constructed; one on an island in the
pond, one on the far western edge of The Parklands, high above the pond, and one between the pond and The Driftway.
Garner, 195; Alvord, 62ff; Elaine Malloy interview.
The view south from the shore of Hopedale Pond to the Draper plant on Freedom Street provides a striking image of
large-scale industry framed by a natural, albeit designed, landscape. A period account offers the highest compliment of
the park's planning and execution, as well as, indirectly, a tribute to the vision of the Drapers: To-day Hopedale
possesses, in place of an ugly mill-pond, disfigured with dead trees and unsightly dump-heaps, a park whose path
plunges from her very thresholds right into cool, deep woods, whose lake surface is fit for fishing, boating, swimming, and
skating in the winter, whose brooks are crossed with artistic bridges, whose gorgeous and varied forest looks as though it
originated there, and whose winding paths seem the offspring of chance and idle wanderings [Alvord, 82]
Alvord, James C. "What the neighbors did in Hopedale." Country Life in America, 24 (January 1914) pp. 61,
Garner, John. The Model Company Town: Urban Design Through Private Enterprise in Nineteenth-Century
New England. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.
Malloy, Elaine, Director of the Bancroft Memorial Library, Hopedale. Interview with K.K. Broomer, June 2001.
This history of The Parklands was taken from the National Register Nomination written by K. K. Broomer
The following paragraph is also in the National Register Nomination:
On the northwest is The Parklands which covers the area surrounding Hopedale Pond, extending roughly from the
Grafton & Upton Railroad right-of-way to the rear property lines of houses on Dutcher Street. Landscape architect
Manning designed the park, which encompasses approximately 273 acres, about thirty-six of which constitute the pond
and islands. The park includes a bathing beach (1899) and bathhouse (1904) near Hopedale Street. The Craftsman-
style bathhouse in one story on a T-shaped plan, about five bays by two bays, with wood shingle siding and an asphalt
shingle cross-gable roof. The building has overhanging eaves, exposed rafters, decorative bargeboards, and irregular
fenestration with six-pane sash. On the pond side of the building are three doors, only one of which is currently
operable. An intact trail system (designed 1907) leads to scenic views and rock outcroppings and has outlets to
Hopedale, Dutcher, Freedom, and Hazel Streets. Within the mowed area immediately north of the bathing beach are two
additions to the landscape: a one-story, hip-roofed garage facing Dutcher Street to the east, and, in a clearing
overlooking the pond, a 1996 monument for the Hopedale Parklands Nature Trail, dedicated to Willard W. Taft. The
monument is a granite boulder with an attached brass plaque.
Parklands history by Hopper A Walk Through the Parklands
Parklands history timeline on Park Commission site