It all started with Town Meeting Article 4 - presented on March 5, 1888 which read:
"To see if the town will purchase of Mr. Adin Ballou, about five acres of land for town park, or take any action in relation to same." Those attending "voted that the Selectmen be appointed a committee to investigate and report at a future meeting." In 1890 Town Meeting members "Voted to to appoint a committee of three to report at some future meeting on a suitable tract of land for the purpose of a Town Park."
Residents Edward S. Stimpson, Charles M. Day, George A. Draper, and others comprised this group. They secured the services of respected landscape architect William Henry Manning - a protege' of world-renowned landscape designer, and creator of Boston's Emerald Necklace, Frederick Law Olmstead - and begin earmarking prime areas of Town land as potential sites.
Over the next three years, these gentlemen and unnamed others steadfastly began creating the blueprint for a centralized area where common recreation needs could be intertwined with unspoiled natural beauty. Unfortunately, the group was unsuccessful in "making satisfactory arrangements with land owners," and the Town "was not in a position to take land for Park purposes, even if so voted," so plans were postponed for five years until a budget surplus was realized in 1898.
A year later in 1899, the Town voted to create a formal Park Commission. This Board was given a $12,000 budget and authority to broker deals with landowners to obtain property. Within a year land to create a Town Park and Parklands was purchased, and a decade of meticulous, patient, planning was set into motion. The Hopedale Park Commission's legacy was born.
Click on the attached PDF document to read of the many accomplishments along the way. Items highlighted with an ( * ) signify events of importance, or those that helped shape and define the overall philosophy and direction of the Commission. Enjoy...
Completed in 2004, all items within this timeline were researched and transcribed from Park Commission reports - contained within annual Town Reports dating back more than a century - by Commission Chairman Richard Espanet. Quotes reflect the views of the Park Commission, unless otherwise noted.