A Walk Through the Parklands
                                    Hopedale Street to the First Bridge

Starting into the Hopedale Parklands at the road off of Hopedale Street, the first sights are the beach and the bathhouse. The beach was created in 1899 and the bathhouse was built in 1904. Swimmers were required to sign in before going into the pond and sign out when leaving. Pond attendance peaked at 18,387 in 1968.  Up to 1952, the pond extended almost to the road, just north of the bathhouse, but it was a very shallow, swampy area, and was filled in that year.

 Walking on a little further, you’ll see the Willard Taft marker. Willard lived nearby, at 90 Dutcher Street, and spent a great deal of time in the Parklands. In 1987, a logging operation was done with the intent of improving the area. Instead, it created something of a mess and a bit of a controversy. Many trees along the roadside still show the scars that were left. After the job ended, Willard spent a large amount of time cleaning up what had been left there. The Park Department website states, ” A major brush and deadwood clearing operation in the Parklands was halted when the forestry agent representing the town resigned, leaving behind a mess of slash and debris of considerable size.”

 Shortly after entering the woods, there’s a fork in the road. The main road goes to the right and the other path goes to the First Fireplace. It continues through the picnic area and rejoins the main road near the Dutcher Street entrance road.

 Wildflowers in this area include blue-eyed grass, within a few feet of entering the wooded area, a patch of moneywort near the intersection of the Dutcher Street entrance road and the main road, and wild geraniums along the Dutcher Street entrance road. The shore here, as it is along most of the pond, is lined mainly with blueberry bushes and sweet pepperbush. Alder, red  maple and honeysuckle are also common. Elsewhere in the area, beech, white pine, red maple, witch hazel, wild black cherry, several species of oak, gray birch and black birch can be found. There are a few larches on the grassy area between the bathhouse and the woods.

 The small bridge with the fieldstone sides, a very short distance north of where the Dutcher Street entrance road meets the main road, was built in 1930, replacing an earlier one at that location. The brook that flows under it begins behind my house at 49 Inman Street. It goes south behind the next four houses, then turns west, just before Tammy Road. At this point it is piped under several yards and under Inman and Dutcher streets, emerging just west of Dutcher Street, alongside the Parklands entrance road.

Shortly after entering the woods, when entering the Parklands by the Hopedale Street/Bathhouse entrance, you’ll come to a fork in the road. To the right is the main road. The path to the left goes through the First Fireplace area and continues on, rejoining the main road a few hundred yards on.

The First Fireplace. According to the Park Department history on their website, the concrete tables were set out in 1964.The spot had been built as a picnic area with fireplace and picnic tables long before that. The concrete tables replaced ones that had been vandalized. The original fireplace had been vandalized also. You can see a sample of that below, in a picture taken in 1964.

The road to the right, near the middle of the picture, is the Dutcher Street entrance road. The main road goes to the left.

   Next page: First Bridge to the Second Fireplace  

   Parklands, Pond, and Sports Menu  

   History of the Parklands by Gordon Hopper                 Parklands Map – 1904 

    Parklands Trails Info            1913 Map 

        Wildflowers of Hopedale               HOME