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A Brief History of Hopedale

Hopedale was first settled in 1669.  In 1842, Adin Ballou and his followers, idealists who wanted to combine biblical individualism with social responsibility and religious liberalism, purchased 600 acres in what is now downtown Hopedale to establish Fraternal Community Number One.   Thirty houses, chapels and workshops were built on an architectural plan for the 170 people who joined in the social experiment, which combined farming with manufacturing, and took strong social stands on temperance, women’s rights, and abolition.  This successful utopia flourished for about 15 years.

Located in the heart of Massachusetts’ Blackstone Valley, the town of Hopedale has played an important role in the history of American industrial development.  For over 100 years, the Draper Mills were the center of the community.  Draper manufactured textile machinery sold around the world, and employed, educated, and housed nearly all the local residents in a unique socio-industrial experiment that won international awards.

Today, Hopedale represents a slice of New England in transition from a self-contained company town to a largely professional suburban community.  The majority of the town’s 6,000 residents work in high technology and other service industries in nearby Milford, Hopkinton, Marlborough and other communities along Interstate 495.  The cities of Boston, Worcester and Providence are also within easy commuting distance.  

Outstanding recreational facilities in the area, such as lakes, parkland trails, an airport, a classic drive-in movie theater, and the Southwick Zoo give residents a wonderful quality of life.  

Although Draper Mills closed in 1978, the company’s legacy is apparent in the tree-lined streets, grand buildings, architecturally significant double houses, abundant parks, and above all, values of progressive thinking, entrepreneurship and social justice.  There is a strong commitment to public education.  In 1995, the Town completed a new addition that doubled the capacity of the elementary school.  In 2001, the town finished a $1.5 million addition/renovation of the Junior-Senior High School.