Trolley Trip

    I knew nothing of Hopedale before 1910.  On the nineteenth of April in that year, in the early
    morning, I stepped off the trolley car that had brought me from Framingham in an hour and a
    quarter, for the price of fifteen cents.  I found myself in a neat, quiet, well-ordered village,
    whose inhabitants were, apparently, comfortably prosperous, and the air had a country
    freshness that was delightful; quite different from the city atmosphere I had so recently left
    behind me.  It seemed good, and I was quite content.

    Decades later, that’s how Charles Merrill described his arrival in Hopedale in his
    reminiscence, Hopedale As I Found It. Below is a description from a book, Trolley Trips
    Through Southern New England, of the voyage from Framingham through Hopedale and on
    to Uxbridge in 1902.

                                                 SOUTH FRAMINGHAM TO
                                      HOLLISTON, MILFORD AND UXBRIDGE

    Cars pass R.R. station half hourly for HOLLISTON, 5 ½  miles, 5 cents; 25 minutes,
    MILFORD, 12 miles, 15 cents; 55 minutes. HOPEDALE, 14 miles; 20 cents; 1 hour, 10
    minutes. LAKE NIPMUC PARK, 19 miles, 20 cents; 1 hour, 25 minutes. UXBRIDGE, 22 miles,
    25 cents; 1 hour, 40 minutes.

    From So. Framingham, the line of the Milford, Holliston and Framingham Street Railway runs
    south from directly in front of the Boston & Albany depot, passing Waushakum Park and lake
    of the same name.

    Passing on through EAST HOLLISTON past the car house, we come to two large elm trees.
    One of these trees is twenty-eight feet in circumference, and the other thirty-two. These
    trees are over 125 years old. We are now on the outskirts of HOLLISTON and enter on the
    Main Street, passing through the square and between large elm trees on either side, are
    soon bowling along over hill and dale, passing the granite quarries of Norcross Brothers, and
    the east quarry of the Milford Pink Granite Construction Co., we come to the junction of the
    line to MEDWAY. Through East Main Street, we pass the junction of the Hopkinton line.

    MILFORD has a variety of industries, including shoe shops, elastic webbing, straw shops,
    and several large granite quarries. From here a side trip may be made to HOPKINTON of
    about 7 miles, and to MEDWAY of about 7 ½  miles. Continuing we pass the Park, through
    West Main Street, to HOPEDALE, passing the Public Library on the left, and church on the
    right, and also the extensive plant of the Draper Company. HOPEDALE, while a
    manufacturing town, with its handsome residences and well kept streets and lawns, does not
    resemble the ordinary manufacturing town. From here the car passes over Hopedale Pond,
    then for a mile and a half the tracks leave the highway, where excellent views are obtained.
    Passing out of this private right of way, we enter on North Avenue into the town of MENDON.
    It is one of the oldest towns in the State, and it is from this town that Hopedale and Milford
    were set off. In old stagecoach days it was in its prime, being on some of the direct routes.
    Passing Mendon Post Office and the Soldiers’ Monument, we are soon at the height of land
    450 feet above sea level, from which a fine view, looking eastward, may be had on a clear
    day. We soon get a glimpse through the woods of LAKE NIPMUC, 400 feet above sea level.
    A little further we come to the clubhouse of the Nipmuc Canoe Club, and passing out of a
    deep cut come into full view of the lake, and Lake Nipmuc Park and its entrance. This park
    has recently been fitted up, this being its first season. At the entrance, as will be seen by the
    illustration, a neat waiting station and rustic stone fence has been built.

    In front of the pavilion in the park is the boat house and a number of skiffs are kept to let;
    also a power boat makes regular trips around the lake. Just beyond is the theatre, which is
    situated on a knoll overlooking the lake, and auditorium seating about one thousand people.
    The park is naturally very attractive, made up as it is with irregular surfaces. From the park
    the road runs by gradual descent through Wheelocksville to UXBRIDGE.

    In examining the maps, it will be noted that the three larger cities of Boston, Worcester and
    Providence, form a nearly perfect triangle with almost exactly equal sides. On the completion
    of the Milford & Uxbridge road, this gave a direct route across through Milford, something
    that has been demanded for a long time. Through the summer season half-hourly trips are
    made the full length of the line. Trolley Trips Through Southern New England, 1902, pp. 87 –
    89. (Both the PDF version and the DjVu version worked well.)

    For more on trolleys in the Hopedale-Milford area, click here for Bob Heglund’s trolley
    history. (Note link at bottom of the trolley page – down below the pictures - to the second
    page.) Here’s a 1901 newspaper article  about the first trip of the M & U trolley trip from
    Milford to Uxbridge. Milford Daily Journal articles on the building of the Milford and Uxbridge
    Street Railway in 1900 and 1901.

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