Menu Close



The Hopedale Community House and Draper Gymnasium are managed by the private, non-profit Hopedale Community House, Inc.  Both facilities were gifts from the Draper Family to Hopedale Residents, to provide recreational activities.

Designed to be the social and civic center of Hopedale residents and all Draper Corporation employees from towns around, this beautifully appointed Community House was planned and built to meet what the late George A. Draper felt was the most pressing unsatisfied requirement of the town where he was born, of which he had been a lifelong resident and for which he had an abiding love.

Made possible by his munificent gifts while still alive for the building and its endowment, it was approaching completion when his untimely and sudden death in February of 1922 prevented him from seeing the finished structure and being present at its opening in June.

It was in 1919 that Mr. Draper, who had often talked of the need in Hopedale of a proper community center, decided to meet that need at his own expense.  He called together seven leading citizens of the town and gave a general outline of his plan and what he was willing to do in the way of providing funds to make possible its consummation.

These seven men, later the Trustees of Hopedale Community House, Inc., were Frank J. Dutcher, E. D. Bancroft, C. E. Nutting, W. I. Stimpson, C. F. Butterworth, E. A. Darling and Dana Osgood.  Mr. Dutcher was the president of the corporation, Mr. Darling secretary and Mr. Butterworth was the treasurer.

To these seven men Mr. Draper left the working out of the details of the plans and the determination of what town activities should be provided for in the new community home.  They accepted their duties as a sacred trust and devoted more than two years to study of the work of similar institutions in all parts of the country and careful thought and discussion of the special requirements of our own people.

The plans for the building were made by Edwin J. Lewis, Jr., of Boston, and the contract was awarded early in 1922 to the Casper Ranger Construction Co. of Holyoke.  Work was commenced that spring, and the building was turned over to the trustees at a simple formal opening on June 23 of 1923, the keys being presented by Mrs. Helen Draper Taft, daughter of Mr. Draper, and received by Mr. Dutcher for the trustees.

The house has been open for use since August 1, 1923.


The Hopedale Foundation was created by a Declaration of Trust on November 25, 1946. With regards to the first of the two purposes, making grants “to or for the use of corporations, trusts, community chests, funds or foundations exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children, only within the United States and its possessions” the Foundation has made substantial grants since it was created.

For the second of the two purposes, “for the purpose of providing scholarships, gifts or loans to youths who, in the opinion of the trustees, show unusual talent but who otherwise would be unable for financial reasons to continue studies or research in institutions of higher learning” the Foundation has made loans to hundreds of students over the years.

The Foundation currently operates with a six-member board of Trustees who oversee both the Grant and Education Loan Program.

It is assisted with the Education Loan Program by a three member Education Loan Committee that is chaired by a Trustee and includes two public members. This committee meets in July to consider loan requests for the next school year.



Peter S. Ellis, President
Greg Burrill, Vice President
Frederick G. Oldfield III, Treasurer
Steven G. Ellis, Secretary
Christine H. Burke
Daniel L. Malloy
Edward Burt


Bernie Stock, Maintenance Director
Tara Taglianetti-Chambers, Program Director
Dru Bivens, Maintenance
Ernie Volpe, Maintenance


Mike Diorio
Paula Jesness


Hopedale is on the southeastern edge of Worcester County and occupies the valley of the upper Mill River. Benjamin Albee set up a grist mill on the Mill River to grind settlers’ corn in 1669 in the first recorded settlement. Until the mid-19th century, the town followed the pattern of many communities with a combination of agriculture and small industry. But 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, chapel 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.

Unfortunately, disagreements over how to administer the community ended in bankruptcy by 1856 and George and Ebenezer Draper, followers of Ballou, took over the property. The brothers made doors, window sashes and blinds and ran a printing office, but they discovered early on that their most profitable business was making textile machinery. By 1880 there were 400 patents held in Hopedale for textile machinery, 800 Draper employees and $1 million in sales. By 1892, with the advent of the Northrop Loom, Draper became the largest producer of textile machinery in the country. There were 78,000 Northrop looms sold in 1903 because they used less power and could be operated by untrained hands (which resulted in the textile industry abandoning New England and moving south). By World War I, the majority of the 400,000 looms in the United States had been made by Draper and the company was selling to China, Russia and Mexico.

The Drapers believed that good houses make good workers and created a model self-contained company town with one of the best collections of architecturally significant double houses in the country, built on hills and in valleys in garden settings which preserved the views. The company charged low rents, and provided high quality housing, impeccable maintenance, and recreation opportunities. Workers left their handsomely designed duplex houses to walk to work at Hopedale Machine, or Northrop Loom, or Hopedale Elastic and left work to play in company parks or stroll along company streets. In addition, the Drapers donated the high school, playground and bandstand to the town and built roads, sidewalks, sewage systems and water and gas lines to service their 250 buildings of worker housing. Only one strike, in 1913, was ever recorded in Hopedale through the most turbulent eras of American labor unrest.

The Drapers’ secular, paternalistic industrial complex was highly successful, resulting in an integrated, planned community with innovative 19th and early 20th century employee housing, a central institutional complex and proprietors’ estates, all of which remain essentially intact.


If you have any questions please call
Paula Jesness at 508-473-2871

You may also see your Guidance Counselor.