• The Slater Mill (yellow) and Wilkinson Mill (stone), along the Blacktone River in Pawtucket RI

    Blackstone River Valley

    National Heritage Corridor MA,RI

Valley Sites - Mendon, Hopedale, Upton

Old barn along Gaskin Street

Gaskill Street

R Christopher Noonan

MENDON

Mendon today in many ways resembles Mendon of the past. The hilltop farms of Mendon fed the workers in the mill villages of neighboring towns. Today, houses have grown up on many of those pastures, but Mendon is still imbued with a small town spirit.

Mendon Center
Mendon Center is a classic example of a 19th century New England farming community. Main Street is anchored by the churches and town buildings and lined with small shops and former taverns that tell of the days when farmers would come here to sell their produce, and weary travelers on route from Boston, Providence or Worcester would rest.

Main Street
Mendon, MA 01756

 
Draper Loom

Draper Loom

HOPEDALE

The story of Hopedale is unique. What started as a religious commune developed into a prime example of a factory town. Even as the Draper Corporation became the world’s largest producer of looms, Hopedale still maintained much of its original community spirit.

Little Red Shop
Ebenezer Draper started working in his “Little Red Shop” in 1841, producing parts for looms and other products. His entrepreneurial brother George took this small shop in a new direction, creating the massive Draper Loom Corporation, the largest manufacturer of looms in the world. The massive Draper Corporation Mill, which employed over 4,00 workers at its peak, stands across the street.

Hopedale Street
Hopedale MA 01747

Hopedale Village
Hopedale is the product of two fascinating stories that together created a unique community. It was established in 1841 under the leadership of Reverend Adin Ballou as “Fraternal Community No. 1” a communal association determined to create an ideal society. Hopedale was one of the most successful communal experiments of the era, but failed after fifteen years. The village was taken over by the Draper brothers who used the community as the base for their new mill village that produced looms. Even as Draper went on to become the leading manufacturer of looms in the world, Hopedale was still guided by many of the community’s original principles, a tradition that continues in some respects even today.

Hopedale Street
Hopedale, MA

The Parklands
The Draper family hired Warren Henry Manning, designer of Boston’s park system, to design a park around their millpond. Enjoy a stroll though this carefully planned woodland of over 1,000 acres – almost 1/3 of the entire town.

Dutcher Street
Hopedale, MA

 
CCC Cabin at Upton State Forest

Civilian Conservation Corps cabin at Upton State Forest.

UPTON

With its proximity to Rt. 495, Upton is slowly being drawn into the Boston Metropolitan area. What attracts new residents to Upton though are its classic New England small town features – a delightful Main Street and common surrounded by large amounts of open space open for recreation.

Knowlton Hat Factory
Overshadowed by the many textile mills in the Blackstone Valley, William Knowlton established what was to become the largest women’s hat factory in the world. Upton woman had been braiding straw into hats for many years before William Knowlton came to town, but he had the ingenuity to turn a local handcraft into a major industry. Today, the Hat Factory has been converted into housing, and much of the worker village still remains.

134 Main Street
Upton, MA 01568

Did You Know?

Portrait of Samuel Slater.

Samuel Slater, known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution," was born in Belper, England in 1768. He arrived in America in 1789 and helped to establish the Slater Mill in 1790. More...