MEMOIRS OF SCHOOL STREET VILLAGE

Thanks so much for the great response to this blog!
A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at spinoart@comcast.net
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!


I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

MOUNT HOPE HOSPITAL: A HOSPITAL WITHIN A DREAM : PART I : THE COMPANY

 Historians are wanderers by nature and necessity.  Threads of history flutter from each discovery they make, often they are nudged to take a thread and follow it.  Such is the history of Mount Hope Hospital in N. Dighton, a memory waiting to be enjoyed once again.  It cannot be enjoyed in isolation, however.  It must be studied within the larger context of the Mount Hope Finishing Company experience.  This first post is an introduction, followed in the next by a discussion of the Mount Hope Hospital and lastly, by the final history of The Company.

Small towns lie contiguous to the City of Taunton, and it is sometimes hard to see where one leaves off and another begins.  Taunton itself weaves in and out of some of them: a sign tells you you are leaving and a bit up the road another tells you that you are coming back in.

Dighton is one of those towns, particularly North Dighton.  I grew up in Taunton and never knew about the history of N. Dighton, including its hospital.  I began to notice on the I'm From Taunton Facebook page the number of folks who were born there in the 40's and early 50's.  So I went a-hunting and discovered a fascinating tale within a tale!

From 1901 to 1951 North Dighton was the home of the Mount Hope Finishing Company touted as one of the largest cotton plants in the world!  I will not be able to do justice to the Mount Hope/ N. Dighton story here.  But, I plan to do more reading on the subject as I hope you will as well. Perhaps this will whet your appetite as it has mine.  Although I started with researching the hospital, the rest of it captured my interest and thus, these posts.


                    The name Mount Hope came from the Native American Rhode Island village, 
    Montaup, where Wampanoag chief King Phillip was killed in 1676 (King Phillips war
 was in Colonial southeastern New England)

                           The Mt. Hope Co. published a newsletter, here is one of its 1924  covers
                                      with a good aerial view of the Company campus.


I will get to the hospital in the next post  but first I want to write about the "company town," a phenomena of that era.  Come along with me.  As always I welcome addendum's or corrections, this is far from the scholarly endeavor that I wish it could be.

Much of the next paragraphs and photos are from the web site below about the Mount Hope story. The blog post article is by Eric Schultz.  I am grateful to Mr. Schultz, and to Mryna Santos from the Dighton Historical Society for forwarding it to me.  Also, to Karen from Dighton.com
                                                      The post has excellent photographs.

     http://theoccasionalceo.blogspot.com                         

In 1901, the story begins. Joseph Knowles and his nephew Joseph Knowles Millikin, who was 26 years of age, known to his associates as J.K.happened by an abandoned mlll in the tiny town of N. Dighton, MA.  They immediately saw its potential. The mill soon represented prominent investors: the Hathaways, Stantons, Tiffanys and Crapos.  Eventually Joseph Millikin would be top shareholder due to his phenomenal success.

Within 6 short months, they had established a cloth finishing company to support the booming textile trade in nearby Fall River, New Bedford, and Rhode Island. J.K procured rights to copious water needed, then sought the necessary labor....and therein lies his fame.


                                                    J.K. Millikin on the 1945 cover of
                                                          the company newsletter
                                               Apparently, he led a quiet and simple life.
                                                                  ................

To find and keep good labor in this area of New England, J.K. adopted the Company Town
model.  In the days when there were few cars and no highway system, it helped to centralize housing close to the site of work.  This was not new to the U.S., coal mining companies and others had adopted it.  Perhaps, none as pervasively as J.K.however.  In 1901, there was only one macadam road in N. Dighton. This soon changed.  Eventually, the company created a beautiful park where it hosted employee picnics, sponsored ski trips by train to New Hampshire, created a hospital where a nurse would visit the Plant daily, created the town's water system (some of which is still is use today), a dairy (still historically intact today as well).  If you lived there, as an employee, you were provided with paved roads, had your own police department and fire station.  The farm, though it has changed hands often throughout the year/s remains intact to this day with its current owners, the Reed Family Limited Partnership. Milk and vegetables were sold at cost to employees. There were men from the Village employed at the company, too. The company paid for church buildings, a library, card rooms, dances as well as theatre performances Emergency services were provided and employees never had to shovel.




"Shortly after obtaining the old mill, J.K. bought 13 old tenement buildings and completely remodeled them inside and out. Each was decorated and outfitted with new plumbing.  The Company continued to acquire, build and rent nearly 200 homes, many small bungalows and single family distinctive homes.  Each had its inviting entrance, a well kept lawn, a little garden, was located to best advantage along the roads of the model village.  The Company mowed lawns, trimmed trees, raked leaves and cleared snow for its tenants.  All houses were repainted and repapered every three years.  Rents ranged from $1.25 per week to $5.00 per week (on average salaries tended to exceed those of Fall River).  The newest houses, circa 1922, included steam heat, hot and cold water, baths, set tubes, hardwood floors, electric lights, gas, sanitary closets and sewer connections."
                                                                Eric Schultz internet article



                                          NEXT POST; MOUNT HOPE HOSPITAL




Research for these posts about the Mount Hope experience led me to many sources.  If you would like to further dig into the subject, here are some of them.  Many contributed directly to these posts.



                      Sources for posts on The Mount Hope Finishing Company and Hospital
And More...

*http://www.dighton.com  see Dighton Historical Society therein.



*Thanks to I'm from Taunton Facebook member Carolyn O'Connor Soares
 for photos of
the Old Mount Hope Hospital in the next post.

*Thanks to Arlene Gouveia once again for her knowledge
 of Mt. Hope Finishing Company.

 * For a fascinating look at the booming textile period in Fall River, 
visit the Fall River Historical Society
  (there is much more there than just Lizzie Borden material).

two books: perhaps easier to obtain from inter-library loan:
Harriet O'Brien's "From Grey to Beauty"
  and "A Fierce Personal Pride" by Burke Davis 



1 comment:

  1. First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.

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