Written by Mark Hagopian, George Hagopian Sr's Grandson.
Born in New England, George Hagopian Sr. lost his sight when he was a mere child. He dimly recalls the appearance of the sun, the green of trees and grass — and that is all. Early in life, he entered Perkins Institution, which is devoted to the education of the sightless. Some years later, his immediate family found it necessary to move to a distant part of the country, but George Sr. remained in Boston alone.
During certain summer vacations, he boarded on the farm which was then owned by a Mr. Fisher. George Sr. developed a love for the country, which eventually drew him back to the open fields.
At the school, Hagopian secured a good general education, the benefit of which was apparent when he spoke on any subject. He also studied music, learned piano tuning, and how to cane chairs, graduating in 1910. Mr. Fisher had passed away and George Sr. took up his residence at the farm, caning chairs as a source of income.
In 1912, a 50-foot poultry house was erected along with an incubator, lamp-heated brooders, and 90 S. C. Rhode Island Reds and the business grew very profitable and more buildings were erected to house the chickens.
During their marriage, George Sr. and Beatrice had 3 children, George Jr., Robert and Sylvia.
In 1949, a large fire of undetermined cause broke out. Over 80,000 chicks were lost and the 250 foot building was a total loss with over $100,000 worth of damage.
George Sr. passed away in 1952 and his wife Beatrice took over the day-to-day operations with both sons working on the farm until 1978 when the farm went out of business.
Beatrice passed away in 1997 and the land remains in a trust.
As a child growing up on Red Bird Farm, each Saturday, my brother George and I would sit in the back of the egg room where they processed and packed all the different sized eggs. We would get a basket of the ones that didn’t come clean through the machines, and sit there for the day with steel wool, scrubbing off the “chicken stool”. Red Bird farm purchased their chickens from Maine and when they were delivered to Wrentham, we would receive a quarter for each one that got away. As we got older, we graduated to more important jobs.
It was a family run business, and George Hagopian Jr., (my father) worked six ten-hour days a week on the farm. He was an accomplished classical pianist, black belt in jujitsu, and an amazing weight lifter who worked out three times a day.
George Hagopian Sr. “the blind mans” first wife couldn’t bear children, so George married Beatrice Bullikan who took over the farm after George passed. Beatrice was fortunate to have an amazing and loyal secretary until the end, named Louise Roby.