Hopedale, situated in the valley of the upper Mill River is in southeastern Worcester County, 31 miles from Boston. Typical of most Massachusetts river towns, activity first focused on agriculture, then on small-scale industry and manufacturing. The mid-19th century brought a series of social experiments in combining industrial... Show all »
Hopedale, situated in the valley of the upper Mill River is in southeastern Worcester County, 31 miles from Boston. Typical of most Massachusetts river towns, activity first focused on agriculture, then on small-scale industry and manufacturing. The mid-19th century brought a series of social experiments in combining industrial development with urban planning. In 1842, Adin Ballou purchased property in downtown Hopedale and established the Fraternal Order Number One. His idealistic vision was to offer religious liberalism and social responsibility. His group constructed 30 homes, a chapel and workshops for 170 residents.
The experiment was continued and expanded by the Draper family who built sound, attractive duplex houses for workers of their textile machinery factory. These homes were well-maintained and laid out in garden settings to maximize the view of the hills and valleys of the area. Employees were charged reasonable rent and could walk to work or relax in one of the company-built parks. The philosophy was good houses make good workers.
Though the experiment has passed, the homes have withstood time and are among the architectural legacy of Hopedale. The progressively thinking Drapers also donated a high school, sewer and water and gas lines and a public park with bandstand. The Town of Hopedale now oversees services and offers its 6000 residents additional services including a parks department, police and fire protection and conservation commission. Hopedale schools consist of a preschool, elementary schools and junior-senior high school sites, all within the town.
Other amenities are offered in Hopedale. The Bancroft Memorial Library on Hopedale Street and several parks provide active and passive recreation. Town Park features a bandstand for concerts and cultural events. Parklands has opportunities for hiking, bicycling and picnicking. There is a public beach at Hopedale Pond and athletic fields at Mellen Field. Homes represent a variety of traditional and recent styles, from colonial to Tudor. Neighboring communities accessible by Routes 16 and 140 are: Milford, Bellingham, Mendon and Upton.
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