George Otis Draper (1867-1923) was born in Hopedale and attended MIT to prepare to help run the extremely busy Draper Corporation in town, a family business (featured previously). With his position at the company, he had the money in the late 19th century to build a massive country estate known as The Larches. The shingled Colonial Revival style home featured a massive castellated tower and appeared like a castle in the countryside. George O. Draper sold this home to his aunt Hannah Thwing Draper Osgood in 1909, and within a month, the home burned to the ground. Around the time her husband died, she rebuilt the Larches and lived here with her daughter until they both died in 1929. The “new Larches” is a stunning blending of Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles. The home was likely designed by Robert Allen Cook, who was based out of nearby Milford, MA. The property today is run by Crossroads Clubhouse, an employment and recovery center that offers people with mental health conditions opportunities to achieve their full potential.
Located on “Millionaires Row” in Hopedale, MA, a street of homes formerly owned by factory owners and managers, sits “Urncrest” a stunning Queen Anne mansion. The home was built around 1875 for William Lapworth (1844-1937) an English-born weaving expert, who worked at Hopedale Elastics Co. and patented certain weaving processes for suspenders, boot webbing, and garters. Hopedale Elastics was absorbed by the Draper Corporation in 1890, and Lapworth was given a large pay increase. With his new salary, he “modernized” his home to what we see today, adding a corner tower, wrap-around porch, and many Colonial Revival details. Additionally, he had the detached 1870s carriage house updated with a full basement, heating, four horse stalls, and a coachman’s apartment with a bedroom and bathroom. The owners today maintain the home and carriage house beautifully! I can’t even imagine how gorgeous the interior is!
When the Draper Corporation’s building boom of its factories and workers housing transformed the formerly sleepy industrial village into a bustling town, the mill owners realized that the inadequate fire station nearby would do little to prevent a fire that could wipe it all away. In 1915, the Drapers hired architect Robert Allen Cooke – who had already designed numerous buildings for the factory owners in the village – to furnish plans for a substantial new fire station. The Renaissance Revival station is larger than many firehouses built in cities nearby with populations two- or three times more citizens. The station features four arches equipment bays, a tall hose-drying tower, and fine terra cotta trimming. The fire department in Hopedale, thanks to funding by Draper, was always one of the finest in New England, and is credited as one of the first to have a vehicular fire truck in 1906.
This Queen Anne/Shingle Style home in Hopedale was built in the mid-1880s for Frederick E. Smith, who (like everyone else in town) was employed by the Draper Corporation. Frederick Smith worked as the manager of the livery stable for the Draper Corporation, and later as the foreman of the trucking department of the Draper plant when automobiles took over. It is clear that the wealthiest Draper men encouraged their employees to live close to them in their mansions as this home is nearby the Draper mansion. Could you imagine Jeff Bezos living next-door to his employees? Me neither!
Benjamin Helm Bristow Draper (1908-1957) was the grandson of Governor and Industrialist Eben Sumner Draper, who along with his brother, turned Hopedale, MA into the industrial village it is today. Benjamin purchased his uncle’s old mansion across the street from his cousin, who a decade earlier built the massive Tudor mansion featured previously. Benjamin razed his uncle’s old mansion and built this French Eclectic house in 1935 with a hipped roof, casement windows, and sleek design.
Located across the street from the soon-to-be-demolished Draper Factory in Hopedale, MA., the company’s former office building stands as an excellent example of how adaptive reuse of old buildings can meet current needs of a town, while preserving the past. In 1910, the Draper’s hired architect Robert A. Cooke, a local architect who had previously designed many workers’ housing projects for the company nearby. The new office building replaced an older 1880 building which held a staff of 6 men, the new building would have a staff of 90! With the unfathomable success of the Draper Corporation, the new office building, resembles a school building for a large town, showing how rich the company had become. The renaissance revival building was abandoned around the time Draper closed in 1980, but this building was adaptively reused as a senior living facility in the 1990s, saving this piece of local history!
In 1886, Hopedale, Massachusetts separated from Milford, almost entirely due to the young, and successful Draper Corporation growing in The Dale village of town. When George and Eben Draper succeeded in creating their own town of Hopedale, with their factory at the center, it gave the Draper brothers almost complete control over the development of a 3,547 -acre community. In the ensuing decades the factory village of Hopedale became a “model” company town. The Draper Corporation controlled every aspect of the town and worker life in a paternalistic program that extended beyond social structure to include architecture and urban planning of the village, with the company developing hundreds of homes for workers, a town hall, library, churches, schools, and recreational facilities, generating an entire town centered around the industrial giant. Draper Corporation originally 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 1892, with the advent of the Northrop Loom, Draper became the largest producer of textile machinery in the country! Due to their success at the end of the 19th century, much of the complex was built and rebuilt in fire-proof brick factory buildings with large windows to allow light and air into the facilities. Draper’s dominant position within the textile machine manufacturing industry began to erode shortly after World War II, and the company began to sell its company houses to their occupants as private homes in 1956. During the 1960s American textile machinery makers such as Draper lost their technological leadership to foreign manufacturers due to cheap labor, and the general American textile industry collapsed. The plant eventually closed in 1980, and has sat vacant until the bulldozers came this year. The site is undergoing a full demolition, which is striping this town of its historic heart. It is truly sad to see.
Adjacent to the Warren House (last post) on Beacon Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, this massive mansion is one of my favorites on the street. Built in 1905, and designed by architect Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. an amazing local architect, and nephew of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The grand mansion was the home of Eben Sumner Draper and his wife, Nancy. Eben Draper was a manufacturer of cotton machinery in the Draper Corporation, founded by his father in Hopedale, MA. Draper graduated from MIT and entered his fathers business, which upon the time of his graduation, was the largest plant for manufacturing cotton machinery in the world. In 1905, Draper was nominated and elected as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, the same year he had this mansion constructed. In 1908, Draper was elected Governor, and served two terms under the Republican Party, pushing a pro-business, and anti-reform agenda, a bill legalizing the merger of the Boston and Maine Railroad with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, signaling approval of what was seen as monopolistic business practices, something the Draper Corporation was known for in Hopedale. The former single-family home was converted to six condominium units in 2000. Fun fact: the Draper Mansion replaced the 1860 home David Stewart, a merchant from New York, built as a wedding present for his daughter, Isabella Stewart, and John (Jack) Lowell Gardner. Isabella would later create the beloved and iconic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The couple purchased the adjacent townhome in 1880 to store their growing art collection.