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Independent Thoughts: Understanding local history important for town’s future

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Featured

Chuck Joseph has given a number of talks about the history of Hopkinton. His latest talk should have more appeal to current residents, as he discusses how Hopkinton grew from a rural farming town to a thriving suburban community.

Past talks have focused on Hopkinton during its formative years, during the time of the American Revolution and during the Civil War Era. This talk will start in the post-World War II years and go to the current day.

“It’s taken a long time to put it together, but it’s been fun,” said Joseph, who will present at the Hopkinton High School auditorium (relocated from the Hopkinton Center for the Arts) on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m. “We have the advantage of being able to interview people for this talk, which is different.”

Joseph worked with volunteers at the Hopkinton Historical Society to put together the presentation, which addresses how Hopkinton adapted to changes that were going on nationally.

Old building

Photos of current and former landmarks in town will be part of Chuck Joseph’s talk on the history of Hopkinton from 1950 to the present.

“I’ll talk about the forces that were shaping America in post-World War II and how Hopkinton responded and brought us to where we are,” he said. “It’s really remarkable when you step back to 10,000 feet and look at how the individuals in Hopkinton made adjustments to the changes happening nationally.

“We’re coming right up to date. When you track the population growth, it only tells a fraction of the story. A lot of people have dropped into this town in the last 5-10 years, and they actually believe the town existed like this. They have no idea of the ancestors who did the heavy lifting that helped make this town what it is today. There were much deeper forces that were working in the town that shaped us to where we are today.”

Joseph arrived in Hopkinton in 1975 to teach history as well as sociology and psychology at Hopkinton High School. (He now runs RE/MAX Executive Realty.) He said there were about a dozen elements that contributed to the “suburban sprawl.”

“From 1975 to 1985, we were still a very similar town to when I first got here,” he said. “But the tectonic plate activity was beginning to happen, and you could feel the change coming.”

Joseph noted that this event will not be taped, as he would like people to enjoy the presentation live and with their neighbors. He is, however, planning a follow-up presentation at the Historical Society for those who can’t make it Dec. 13.

“We’re really encouraging people to be there in person,” he said. “It’s different when you’re with other members of your community.”

He will come loaded with photos of Hopkinton landmarks past and present, calling the photos “the star of the show.”

As for the future of Hopkinton, Joseph said it’s a crucial time for the town.

“I think we are at a new level of maturity, much like a young adult, and have to decide what we want to be,” he said.

Joseph hopes his presentation will motivate people to get more involved in town matters.

“We’re really reaching for the 40-somethings, because we’re trying to hand the baton off to those people,” he said. “I hope this presentation helps create cohesion in the town, an understanding for residents of who came before them and what they did.

“The whole point is to give people a common narrative. I think people are really going to enjoy it.”

Legacy Farms Diwali celebration

At the Legacy Farms Phase 3 Diwali celebration on Nov. 19, Vijay Kesvan (right) recognized special guests (from left) Nasiba Mannan, Select Board member Shahidul Mannan and Police Chief Joseph Bennett. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Diwali celebration helps schools

The third annual Legacy Farms Phase 3 Diwali celebration was held Nov. 19 at Keefe Tech in Framingham. In addition to celebrating South Asian culture, the event raised about $1,000 for the Hopkinton Public Schools, according to organizers.

The two honored guests at the event were Select Board member Shahidul Mannan and Hopkinton Police Chief Joseph Bennett.

There were 16 individuals on the organizing committee and another 50 volunteers who helped the event run smoothly. About 400 attendees watched performances from a variety of local groups.

“We had better execution this year, and we were better able to accommodate everyone,” said Vaibhav Garg, one of the organizers. “The team executed flawlessly.”

Garg said the committee would like to look for a bigger venue next year, as the Keefe Tech auditorium reached capacity early.

“We want to be able to invite everybody,” he said.

UniBank seeks donations for PJB

UniBank recently kicked off its annual Holiday Giving Tree Program to “make the season brighter for individuals and families throughout the community.” Each UniBank branch has chosen an organization that fills a need in its community. The branch supports the program by making and purchasing items, and accepting donations from customers and the general public.

The Hopkinton branch is requesting items that will be distributed to Project Just Because. Donations can be dropped off during regular banking hours through mid-December. Contact the branch for more details.

Karlin honored for service

Congratulations to Hopkinton’s Bruce Karlin, who on Nov. 15 was the recipient of the 30th Annual Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award from the Worcester District Medical Society.

Karlin, a former Appropriations Committee chair and Town Meeting moderator, hosted a show on medical topics on HCAM in the 1990s, then started a local cable show called “Health Matters” in Worcester.

Upon receiving the award, Karlin called it “an honor simply to practice medicine.”


  1. Cathy Petrelli

    I miss being part of the Hopkinton community.
    Lived there from 1941 to last year when
    I moved to St. Patrick’s Manor.

    • Stephen D Small

      And we miss you Cathy.