Side A: Platted by educator and abolitionist Cyrus McNeely in 1849, Hopedale was the site of McNeely Normal School, later Hopedale Normal College, the first coeducational college for teachers in eastern Ohio. It operated from 1849 to 1902. Among its graduates was George Armstrong Custer in 1856. Hopedale served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves fleeing bondage in the southern states. Local tradition notes several “stations” in the village, three at private homes and one at a hotel.
Side B: Born in Cadiz, Ohio, on February 1, 1901, William Clark Gable lived and attended school in Hopedale from 1903 to 1917. After several years as a stage actor he went to Hollywood, where he made sixty-seven movies in a remarkable career that spanned four decades. Gable won an Academy Award for It Happened One Night in 1934 but is best known for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind.” Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and fought in Europe. He died in Los Angeles in 1960. His boyhood home is located 1/4 mile south on Mill Street.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, The Village of Hopedale, and The Ohio Historical Society