Mortimer Dennett Is Elected
                                                     President of New Association

HOPEDALE – After several weeks of inquiry and preparation by a small local group interested in the historical aspects of the community, the Hopedale Community Historical Society was formed this week. The response to a public invitation was enough to warrant the formation of the association, a group of 20 originators stated.

 At the meeting, a resolution was presented to the effect that upon election of officers and the adoption of a name, the society should be declared duly organized and ready to conduct business. An election was held, and the following officers were seated; president, Mortimer C. Dennett; vice president, Mary M. Foster; secretary, Constance L. Clark; treasurer, Winfield S. Lapworth, and directors, Frances J. McQueen, Marjorie E. Henry and Gordon L. Norton.

Mrs. Bates, president of the Hopkinton society, and Mrs. Strong, a past president and one of the founders, were present, and they contributed much valuable advice and assistance in getting this venture started.  The Hopkinton society, they said, started with eight members, and in only six years has how a paid membership of over two hundred.

While local history, as it relates to events of the past and the lives of the inhabitants who took part in them is naturally one of the major interests of the new society, the intention is to make it attractive not only to those who enjoy the mellow mood of reminiscence, but also to our younger citizens and students.  Its motto could well be that “what happened yesterday is history today.”

Arrangements have been completed for affiliating the Society with Hopedale Community House, Inc., which assures not only the very best in facilities for meetings and social affairs, but puts under it the solid foundation of an established institution.  A dual membership will be required; one in the Community House, and one in the society. The adult fee is one dollar for each membership. Provision has been made so that non-residents may participate in the historical society membership.  Persons now having membership in the Community House need only to pay the society dues.

All persons subscribing to membership under these provisions by April 15 will have the distinction of being known as the founding members. The membership book is now in the keeping of Mrs. Gordon A. Clark, secretary, 84 Dutcher Street, Hopedale, and it will be at the Bancroft Memorial Library during the hours the library is open for the convenience of those wishing to enroll.  It is hoped that many will avail themselves of this opportunity and join in the activities of the society.

Another matter of great interest is the offer by Draper Corporation of a portion of the old Red Shop for some proper use in the Society’s activities as they may develop in the future.  This is one of the few remaining original buildings in Hopedale, and its ancient atmosphere is a most appropriate setting for such exhibits as can be safely kept there, as well as being a point of interest for visitors.

The first meeting of the Hopedale Community Historical Society is to be held in the Community House on Monday evening, April 22, at 7:30 o’clock. After disposing of business, two short papers will be presented, one by Miss Lucy Day on the subject of The Underground Railroad, which was one of the escape routes to Canada for fugitive slaves a century ago and had a station in Hopedale, and another by Charles Merrill on The Four Hopedales in AmericaDiscussion will follow, and tape recordings will be made for later transcription.

Light refreshments will be served after the meeting during and informal social half-hour.  By presentation of papers, and especially by the discussion that follows them, many valuable facts will be brought to light and enrich knowledge of the reservoir of information that will some day be helpful to future students of local history.  Other interesting projects are in the making that will unfold as time goes on and the new venture takes root. Milford Daily News, March 9, 1957.

                                         History is Discussed At Hopedale Meeting

HOPEDALE – The Hopedale Community Historical Society met last night at the Community House, there being more than 45 members present. President Mortimer C. Dennett presided and kept the program on an interesting level, thereby contributing to its success, as the topic was “I Remember When.”

 Mr. Dennett’s announcement that the meeting was being recorded, though a surprise to some, mattered not to most of the speakers, who depended on their memory of events, while others read from prepared notes. The recording machine was set up by Gordon Norton and the record will be used for a play back at future meetings.

The resulting program was a happy blending of the dramatic as well as the nostalgic tone by the speeches. Those who actively participated in presenting actual personal experiences were Norman S. Henry, whose ancestors, the Jones and Chapin families, were among the earliest settlers; Charles F. Merrill, whose paper on Hopedale, as he found it upon his arrival here in 1910 and the changes which have ensued since that time, was one of the highlights of the entire program; Miss Lucy E. Day, who recounted facts of early days and people as told her by her mother, the late Mrs. Martin Day, whose parents, the Samuel Walkers, built one of the earliest residences here; Eugene Newhall, former tax collector, who related facts relative to the increase in taxes and the reasons therefore; Mrs. Annie Slaney, whose ancestors were Mr. and Mrs. Almon Thwing, who lived in one of the early homes here and were members of the Hopedale Community; Mrs. George E. Kent, who related the story of the robbery of the Hopedale post office in 1903, when she was employed there; William H. Chase, who as a resident here 53 years, spoke briefly of many events which he witnessed in the early days; others acquired during his research in preparation for his history of the Draper family [Five Generations of Loom Builders] and his long years as head of the advertising department for Draper Corporation.  A letter from Miss Harriet B. Sornberger, was read into the records, in which she told of her arrival here in 1892 to accept a position as school teacher and the perils and inconvenience of travel in those days. Miss Sornberger served as librarian here many years. Mrs. Horace Burdett (very likely a typo – probably should have been Beaudet) read an ad extolling the convenience of a bread mixer, which it happened was make by the Dutcher Temple Company, an early subsidiary of the Draper Company.

 At the close refreshments were served by Mrs. Leslie Childs, Mrs. Dwight Watson, Mrs. Joseph Corcoran and Miss Lucy E. Day. Rev. John K. Hammon will read a paper on Motives for Undertaking the Hopedale Community Experiment at the next meeting  Milford Daily News, probably 1957

                                     Historical Society In Hopedale Starts Year

HOPEDALE – The Hopedale Community Historical Society started its season this week, with a well attended meeting in the Community House lounge. President Mortimer C. Dennett presided. here was considerable discussion during the business meeting. Programs for the year were distributed.

President Dennett read excerpts from a paper prepared some years ago by Dr. Ernest R. Dalton, on the Quinshipaug Plantation and other Excerpts of Hopedale Community Life. Refreshments were served at the close of the meeting.

The year’s program follows: Oct. 27, First annual Exhibition, supervised and directed by Gordon L. Norton and committee, historical slides furnished by Mr. Norton; Nov. 24: Sidelights on the Community and Adin Ballou, Peter Hackett; Jan. 26: The Windup of the Hopedale Community, Memorials and other Objects of Historical Interest in Hopedale, A. Bells, Charles Merrill; Statues, Monuments, Markers, etc., Mrs. Albert H. Woodhead; March, questions posed to a panel by members of the society; panel, Mortimer C. Dennett, Winfield S. Lapworth, Norman S. Henry, Mrs. George E. Kent, Mrs. Annie K. Slaney, Miss Lucy E. Day; April 27: The History of Sports in Hopedale, a. The Field Days, Mrs. Mae Sweet; b. Cricket, Soccer, Baseball, Raymond [?]; Horticultural Curiosities in Hopedale, Mrs. Ruth Dutcher Walker, W. Chester Sanborn; June, Annual outing, date and place to be announced.  

Officers and committees are: President, Mortimer C. Dennett; vice president, Mrs. Charles A. Foster; secretary, Mrs. William N. Ohlson; treasurer, Donald P. McGrath; directors, Gordon L. Norton, Mrs. Robert McQueen, Mrs. Norman S. Henry; program committee: Rev. John K. Hammon, Mrs. Albert H. Woodhead, Mrs. Mortimer C. Dennett, Gordon L. Norton, Peter Hackett; hospitality committee: Mrs. Russell Nelson, Mrs. John Allen, Norman S. Henry, Mrs. Geo. E. Nichols, Mrs. Louis E. Fisher; membership committee: Mrs. Irvin G. Ammen, Mrs. Horace Beaudet, Mrs. John W. Hutchinson, Miss Mary E. Gaskill; publicity committee, Mrs. George E. Kent, Charles A. Foster; auditing committee This appears to be the end of the article, but the names of the auditing committee can’t be read. Probably after all these years it doesn’t matter. Milford Daily News, September 24, 1958.

I doubt that the Community chapel/school was used as a town hall after Hopedale became a town. The present town hall was completed within a year of Hopedale’s separation from Milford. As to post office, I don’t think it was ever a U.S  post office, but was possibly the Community post office for a time, lthough the Almon Thwing home is the only building that I’ve seen mentioned as a “post office.” See Susan Thwing Field’s memories for the story about that.  Click here to see a photo of the chapel.


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