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The Demolition of the Draper Corporation Factory

James M. Hunt


I’m a fine art and environmental photographer and videographer living in Grafton. I moved to the Blackstone Valley just seven years ago. My wife, Chris, and I became capivated by the living history of the area, including of course, the textile mills. Chris had been a customer of several of the woolen mills, searching out knitting yarn, years ago. Since coming here, I’ve enjoyed building a photographic catalogue of the historical sites as well as the natural environment.

While I do exhibit my work in art shows, I’ve been most gratified by the interest from the community and among my college students (I’m also a professor) in the history itself. Many students are fascinated by the story of the industrial revolution and its lessons for the present and future. Of course, many from the area, or their relatives, were participants in the making of that history.

I found the the Draper Corporation building to be one of the most impressive sites in the Valley, with its dominating and quiet presence. We first came to visit Hopedale in 2018. We returned many times to see it at different times of the year and in different light. In spite of its visual impact, It was clear that the buildings were in tough shape and no longer seemed to have a purpose.

The demolition coincided roughly with the pandemic. With everyone’s schedules turned upside down, we were able to visit frequently, and watch the story as it unfolded. The video of the Draper demolition begins with a bit of additional background. You’ll then see what we saw (edited for brevity).

If you’d like to have a better look at the photographs taken during our visits, you can see the full collection at