HomeNewsHistoryWhere do you Live? The Origin of Hopkinton’s Street Names.

Where do you Live? The Origin of Hopkinton’s Street Names.

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20th Century Homes

You can trace much of our town’s history through its street names. One of the most common, of course, is Claflin. Hopkinton is home to Claflin Street, Claflin Place, Claflin Avenue and Claflin Commons, which is the location of small retail area behind 76 Main Street, a house known in the late 18th century as the Aaron Claflin Inn.

Confused? The following may or may not help with that, but follow along anyway because there is a fun announcement at the end, and prizes are included!

While it may seem odd to have so many streets bearing the Claflin name, the family and its many branches are integral to the town’s history. Some of the more famous among them are the above-mentioned Aaron, who welcomed travelers to his inn and reputedly hosted trainings of the Hopkinton Militia on his adjacent farm. Lee Claflin, who might be considered an interloper as he was born in Milford, returned to the fold in the early 1800’s when he set up one of the dozen boot and shoe factories that dominated the town center for most of the 19th century.

A short detour: Why shoe factories you might wonder? One reason may be that in 1818, Hopkinton resident Joseph Walker invented the shoe peg here which greatly improved the efficiency of shoe-making and the rest as they say, is history. Our detour takes us to Proctor Street (where Joseph lived) and will end on Walker Street, presumably named for our inventive citizen.

Returning to the venerable Lee Claflin, a factory owner, philanthropist, abolitionist and a founder of the Hopkinton National Bank and co-founder of Boston University. Lee personally financed the building of the Methodist Church, once located on a lot across the street from Saint John’s on – you guessed it – Church Street. Lee was also the father of William Claflin who served as Massachusetts governor from 1869 -1872. It is uncertain which of the many streets bearing the family name is considered as tribute to Lee and William but safe money says they each have one named for them. Lee’s house at 8 Hayden Rowe is stunning example of Greek Revival architecture built in 1840.

The Lee Claflin house at 8 Hayden Rowe

Rocketing out of the mid-19th century to the mid-20th, we find the custom of street naming after prominent citizens continues. From the early 1960’s and into the 1970’s, Robert and Bernice Nealon developed the Eastview Road neighborhood on what was originally part of the Fitch farm. It was charming to learn from one of their grandsons that Robbern Road is a portmanteau of their first names. As Bernice was born a Sullivan it is not surprising that Kerry Lane exists there as well. For those still following along, Sullivan is the most common surname found in County Kerry, Ireland.

Another brief aside: The area around the intersection of Pleasant and Grove Street was once known as Kerry Hill. Stay tuned – named sections of town will be the subject of an upcoming article.

Other streets are more obviously named. Pond Street has, well, a pond, also known as Lake Whitehall. School street is named for the Bear Hill schoolhouse that sat at the intersection of Pond and School Streets until 1950 when it was destroyed in a fire. And Spring street hosted the healing mineral springs that Joseph Norcross used to attract visitors from far and wide to his hotel in the 1800’s.

Win a Prize!

Now, here is where you come in! HopNews and the Hopkinton Historical Society would like to test your knowledge of the origin of other street names in town. Prizes are involved so the competition is sure to be intense.

We would like you to comment below this story with your own list of street names and who or what they were named for. The person submitting the longest and most accurate list will win a gift certificate to Central Public House and a one-year family membership to the Hopkinton Historical Society. The runner-up will win a copy of The Story of Miss Ellen Duffey and a published history of the monuments of the Town Common, both sure to provide you a good shot at winning the next time you find yourself at a Hopkinton trivia contest.

A super mega Grand Prize will go to the commenter that can accurately (or creatively) tell us how Hayden Rowe Street got its name. This is a mystery that has eluded us for years.

Rules, because we have to: All entries must be submitted below by Wednesday evening, May 17th at 7:00 pm, and only one entry per household please. Feel fee to answer in list form with street name and where it came from.

Good luck!

Anne Mattina is Vice President of the Hopkinton Historical Society.

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  1. I don’t have a list of streets but I can report that I grew up in the Norcross house at 133 Spring St. The Inn was down the street where the Lyford farm is/was. We used to walk from our house, through the woods to the mineral baths.

  2. The street names comprising Roosevelt Farms off Fruit Street pay homage to Teddy Roosevelt who is rumored to have stayed at the farm house originally on this land. The street names are Roosevelt Lane, Cubs Path, Rough Rider Ridge and Bull Moose Run.

  3. Well Hayden Rowe was originally Hayden Row as evidenced on maps from 1800s
    I would love to see the street name changed back to be historically correct.
    But I am guessing after the ‘new elmwood school’ is built, all our schools will be on Hayden Rowe and we can simply adopt ‘School Street’ since no schools exist on school street.

  4. Charlesview neighborhood was named after members of the Colella family, if I am not mistaken. Theresa, Nicholas, Colella Farm Road, etc. They originally owned the lane before it was developed.

  5. Gassett Rd was named after my grandfather Joseph Gassett, Carol Ann Drive was named after my mom Carol Gassett. Queen Anne Rd was named after me 😍. My dad developed that land. I now live on Norcross rd which was named after Joel Norcross who owned a hotel on Lake Whitehall. The DiCarlo roads … Were all named after family members. Andrea dr, Gina Dr, John Matthew, DiCarlo rd, Barbara dr… The roads near Colella farm rd were all named after colella family members.

  6. We don’t qualify for prizes, but wanted to share this interesting tidbit anyway!

    Bear Hill is significant as one of the oldest sections of Hopkinton. Many Indian relics have been found here, and stone structures and earthworks indicate this district was occupied well before the English settlers arrived. It is known that an Indian trail ran from Mendon past Whitehall and over the hill, then north to Marlborough. Although many towns have a “bare hill,” so-named from having been cleared by the native tribes, in this case the name is said to derive from a Scottish family named Blair who settled here.

    In early colonial times, most of the area was part of the vast Whitehall Farm, one of Hopkinton’s original land grants. As the land was divided and settled, the woods and hills bordering the lake and swamp were populated first by squatters, who built tiny shacks or cabins late in the seventeenth century, and subsequently by farmers. Several large farms were established between Bear Hill , just to the south, and Lake Whitehall, (then a smaller pond,) in the eighteenth century. Pond Street was one of the first official roads, approved by the town in 1730-1.


  7. It is hard to believe that the school house at the corner of Pond and School Streets burned down in 1950 since we had neighborhood gatherings at the school house all during the 50’s.

  8. Nicely done! Always important to learn about the town and the people who came before us. It helps to provide a wider understanding of Hopkinton and its character.

  9. Joseph Walker, on my fathers side (Douglas Walker) was my great, great, great grandfather. And we grew up on Spring Street #54, that my grandparents, Charles and Barbara Walker, built. Spring street being named for the mineral springs

      • We re-located to Myrtle Beach SC In the 90’s, my grandparents Charles and Barbara Walker moved to SC in the 1980s

  10. Daniel Shays Road: named after Daniel Shays (born in Hopkinton in 1747), leader of the Shays’ Rebellion
    Walcott Street: named after Charles F. Walcott (born in Hopkinton in 1836), Union Army Officer during the Civil War
    Claflin Commons, Claflin Place, and Claflin Ave: named after the Claflin family
    Colella Farm Road: named after the Colella family
    Chamberlain Street: named after William Chamberlain
    Wood Street: named after John Wood, an early influential resident
    Woodville: also named after John Wood & the Wood family
    Walker Street: named after Joseph Walker, inventor of the pegged shoe and helped Hopkinton’s shoe industry
    Price Street: named after Rev. Roger Price, Rector of King’s Chapel
    College Street: named after College Rock
    Norcross Road: named after Joel Norcross (discovered mineral springs near Lake Whitehall)
    Spring Street: named after the mineral springs
    Rice Street: named after Dexter and Elbridge Rice
    Church Street: named after St. John’s church
    Pleasant Street: named because it’s a pleasant getaway from the construction on Main Street
    Hayden Rowe (also spelled Hayden Row in older town maps): named after Elisha Hayden (August 9th, 1723: Elisha signed a petition of trustees asking the Court to empower the people of Hopkinton to hold a town meeting and elect officers–first town meeting was held March 25th, 1724)

  11. I have the same question about College Rock. I always figured it was named after the street, not the other way around. The streets in my neighborhood (Valleywood) are all named for members of the developer’s family (Erika, Lynn, Tiffany Ewald). Erika was Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 1995! And does anyone know the origin the name of Winter Street, which runs along Lake Whitehall between Pond & Wood Sts.?

  12. Greenwood (Road & Neighborhood) was named for the Greenwood family. The foundation of their house at the summit of Saddle Hill still exists, and has a marker installed by Harrison Bograd for his Eagle Scout project. The Greenwoods were blacksmiths, and one of them made the shoes for General Lafayette’s horse at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

  13. I grew up on Elm St in the early 50’s that was owned by the Fairbanks family , twelve acres of land next to and across the street from Creedan farm, then the Stone family owned it. My neighbors were the King family, Stones and Doyles.
    My parents moved in 1966 for PA., I entered the Army early ’66;

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