The Adin Ballou Memorial Park: A Walking Tour of the Early
Dale of Hope Community
Though Emerson's Brook Farm in Concord ( 1841-46)
is more widely known, Adin Ballou's "utopian experiment" known as the Hopedale
Community of Practical Christians (1841-1856) lasted longer and powerfully
influenced Russia's Leo Tolstoi (1828-1910) and India's Ghandi as well as many
others. Ballou's writings on non-violence, practical Christianity and socialism
spanned over fifty years and adds an international significance to the community
of Hopedale, well known for its former influential Draper Mills, makers of
According to Michael True, Assumption professor
and author of To Construct Peace, Adin Ballou (1803-1890) "is the major theorist
of nonviolence before Tolstoi and Ghandi. Ballou's work was known to both
of them, and particularly important to Tolstoi." Ballou was newspaper
editor, preacher, journal keeper and constitution maker of this community which
believed in equality of the sexes, equal voice and votes for women, non-violence
and universal education for children.
In the beginning, the Jones Farm or "Old House",
formerly located on Union Street in the rear of the Draper factory. 44 persons,
all boarded as one family lived there.
Site 1: Adin Ballou Park, Peace Street,
Hopedale - statue and site of original Ballou home. Statue unveiled October
Site 2: The School/Meeting House
was built in 1843 and was situated in the Community Square with one large room
and two ante rooms. The basement was suitable for a small store and groceries
and dry goods were stored there for the Community. The chapel was used for all
gatherings, religious and secular, and used as a school on weekdays.
Site 3: The original Ballou home is still
intact though moved to 64 Dutcher Street in 1900 when a porch was added. The el
was used as the print shop where the Practical Christian was produced.
This home was built when the Ballous " were worn and weary" from their
experiences in the Old House. Their only son, Adin Augustus, died with typhoid
fever, while attending Bridgewater College in 1852. Ballou resigned his
presidency of the Community in 1852 shortly after his son's death. Ebenezer
Draper assumed the presidency.
In 1854, Ballou published a summary of his
practical Christianity tenets.
Site 4: The Shop at corner of Freedom
and Hopedale Streets - The Red Shop. Fascinating history of looms inside.
The destiny of the Early Dale of Hope Community
was forever altered when George Draper felt that his pursuit of success in
business was hindered by the socialist approach. He urged his brother,Ebenezer,
to also withdraw his stock in thecommunity. As of April1 , 1956, the Community
ceased to exist as it had been known.
Site 5: The Cemetery - George Draper (1887) ,
Ebenezer Draper (1887) , Anna Thwing Draper (1870), Adin Ballou (1890), Frank
Site 6: Nelson Grove - Abolitionist Picnic
Site - Previously an open field, the picnic grove used by the abolitionists,
stretched from the Catholic Church parking lot down to theMill River at
thebottom ofNelson Street. At 155 Hopedale Street, this former Community
House may have "housed" anonymous(URR) visitors. Along Hopedale Street are a few
other early Community homes. Each year, the Dale of Hope's radical abolitionists
used to celebrate the Emancipation of the 800,000 slaves from the Brotish West
Several famous abolitionists, such as William
Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas and Henry Box Brown visited.Sojourner Truth
lived amongst Dale of Hope community.
June 9,1861 George Draper found irreconcilible
differences were his beliefs because of approaching Civil War. About 50 members
of Community now remained faithful to their ideals.
Site 7: Current Town Center, 65 Hopedale
Street - former site of first Unitarian Church (1860-97) Adin Ballou preached
here until 1880. In 188os, at the initiation of George Draper, Hopedale
separated from Milford and became independent town in 1886. Town Hall was built
Site 8: The Bancroft Library - repository of Adin
Ballou's writings. By 1855, library located in school/chapel had over 600
volumes. Also got 130 periodicals regularly and 60 papers. 1847, Joseph
Bancroft joined community and in 1898, donated the present library tot he town
in memory of his wife, Sylvia Thwing Bancroft. He handled housing for Draper