This past week, bulldozers lined up at the corner of Main and Lumber streets to begin their demolition of the Golden Spoon. When that building is gone, so will one more piece of “Claflinville,” and an intersection once known as “Four Corners.”
For those who cherish Hopkinton’s past, these names stir fond memories. Decades ago, many neighborhoods of Hopkinton had quaint unofficial names that today evoke a less complicated time. While they rarely appeared on maps, they are nonetheless imprinted upon many who grew up here.
Hopkinton maps from the mid-1800s showed six official sections of town: Woodville, Hopkinton Town Center, Hayden Rowe, North Pond, Bear Hill and Hopkinton Springs. Each area had a strong sense of place, almost like a separate town.
Hopkinton Center is the town’s oldest neighborhood; homes and churches began appearing there within a few years after the town’s founding in 1715. The How, Heminway and Taylor families were among the first to move in; the area had 40 families by 1720. Samuel Barrett opened its first church in 1724 and Hopkinton Center grew more quickly after that.
A mile to the south, the Hayden Rowe neighborhood had its own post office (still standing) at what is now the blinking-light intersection of Hayden Rowe and Chestnut streets. Trolleys once traveled along Hayden Rowe Street, stopping at where the Hopkinton Historical Society is now. Some have said that Hayden Rowe was once a headquarters for temperance groups, who were alarmed at the heavy drinking that took place there.
Along Spring Street, near Norcross and Lyford roads, is an area of town that was once called Hopkinton Springs, after the famous mineral springs resort that operated there more than 100 years ago.
Bear Hill, covering a wide swath between Oakhurst Road and the intersection of School and Pond streets, once had its own school. Eccentric resident Ora Cheney, who passed away in 1991, was its unofficial mayor.
“My parents lived in Bear Hill since before I was born,” says Andre Navez, who has called it home for most of his 81 years. “I was in the foreign service and lived all over the world, and Bear Hill was always where I wanted to come home to.”
Navez remembers the dairy farm on Pond Street that sold cream to the Boston & Maine Railroad, the vegetable farmer who supplied the A&P, and the dirt roads that were scraped once a year.
North Pond, which also shows up on old maps, was named for the nearby body of water that eventually became known as Lake Maspenock. This Nipmuc name means “the waters at the base of the great hill,” referring to Peppercorn Hill in nearby Upton.
“North Pond was a big vacation spot for people back in the 1920s,” said Russ Greve of the Hopkinton Historical Society. “Back then $50 would buy you a plot by North Pond.” When the town expanded its utilities to the North Pond neighborhood, it made larger year-round homes possible.
Aside from these places that were on the map, other unmarked neighborhoods gave residents a strong sense of home. “There were a lot of little neighborhoods around town, not just bigger places like Woodville,” recalled longtime resident Russ Ellsworth. “If you asked people in Hopkinton where they lived, they would tell you Poseyville, Keanyville, Four Corners or another neighborhood.”
The area on Hayden Rowe Street between Granite Street and the Milford town line was known as “Squash End.” Follow Granite Street to its intersection with Lumber Street, and you’ll find yourself in a place once called “Skunk Hill.”
“Keanyville” was the name for a neighborhood near Wood Street and what is now the Rte. 495 overpass. Old Hopkinton maps show the homeowners’ names, and two Keanys lived in that area. Not too far away, at Wood and Elm Streets, was “Poseyville.” Farther up Elm Street was “Claflinville,” named for cluster of homes belonging to the Claflin family, one of Hopkinton’s oldest.
The intersection of Elm, Lumber and West Main streets marked the end of Claflinville, and was known to its residents as “Four Corners.” While that neighborhood once included at least a dozen homes, only one remains now: the green house next to the Mobil Station on West Main Street.
Between Hopkinton center and Hayden Rowe – near where the middle and high schools are now -- once was a neighborhood called “Honey Hill,” named for a farm that sold eggs. The Karian family ran the farm, which is located where the school administration building is now.
“I remember learning to candle eggs there,” says Donna McKenna, referring to a process that shines a light on an egg to see if it has been fertilized. McKenna said she often stopped by the Karian’s house to watch their television, a novelty at the time.
The area of downtown that included Walcott, A, B and C streets was known as “The Lane.” And along Winter Street, about a mile from where it empties into Wood Street, is a neighborhood named for a tortuous stretch of Winter Street called “Snake Hill.”
Another name not on any map is “East Hopkinton”: the section of town near Clinton and North Mill streets and the Laborer’s Training Center. Many of its former residents are buried in the old cemetery on Clinton Street.