Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Fotos (October 11, 2013) -- Lake Whitehall, Hopkinton, Massachusetts circa 1916

Walter W. Cooke and his daughter, Ruth E. Cooke at Lake Whitehall circa 1916

The above photograph was taken around 1916 at Lake Whitehall in Hopkinton, Massachusetts roughly 30 miles west of Boston.  It shows my maternal grandmother, Ruth Eaton Cooke, with her father (my great grandfather), Walter Wilson Cooke.  My grandmother was born in N. Attleboro, Massachusetts on September 8, 1897, so she is about 19 years old in this photograph. Her father would have been about 47 years old.

Lake Whitehall is now a State Park that is "almost completely water and very little park."  It was once used as a source for local drinking water, but is now mainly a recreational lake for small, non-motorized boats and fishing.  Boston seized Lake Whitehall for its water supply back in 1894 and as a result the cotton clothmaking factories and a shoe factory that were along its shores were closed because they were considered sources of pollution.  Any factories that remained were destroyed in a fire in 1909. 

There was a time when it was believed that the waters of Lake Whitehall had healing powers based on the content of the swamp waters that flowed into the lake.  The area around the lake was developed into a resort area and visitors traveled to the the Hopkinton Hotel (located between the lake and the swamp) by stagecoach.  The location of the mineral baths that attracted visitors can still be seen today.  Most people outside the Boston area and New England know of Hopkinton today, if at all, because it is the starting point for the Boston Marathon. 

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Original photograph in the collection of the author. 

For more information on Hopkinton and Lake Whitehall, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopkinton,_Massachusetts
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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