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Webster Street looking North C 1920

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Webster St North from Ferry St C 1920

In 1893 the horse drawn trolley line from Nashua came across the Taylor Falls Bridge and ended at the Hudson side of the bridge.  Hudson businessmen and residents encouraged the transit company to extend the line further into the streets of town.  By 1895 the line was reorganized as an electric railway and the line extended into Hudson on Central Street, and down Lowell Road.  At the same time the iron bridge, built 14 years earlier was repaired and strengthened to withstand the extra weight of the engines and the increased traffic.
In 1902 a second  line was extended onto Ferry Street to Hudson Center and then on to Pelham and Salem.  In 1907 a third line was completed also traveling on the bridge into Post Office Square.  Rather than continuing on Ferry Street this line made a sharp turn northward along Webster Street towards Manchester.  Some of the tracks for this line were on the street right of way but many ran off road in open fields or wooded areas.  A trip from Taylor Falls Bridge to Manchester took 45 minutes and the fare was 20 cents.
A business area developed near the bridge.  As you crossed from Nashua you could take a left onto Ferry or a right onto Central Street.  If you turned left  there was a business block on your left known as Martin (later Connell) Block.  This was an apartment building and location of Daniels and Gilbert Grain and Grocery,  Later this was location of a small garage and the 20th Century Store.  After passing this block one came to Webster Street, a left turn from Ferry Street.  In the late 1960’s, to make way for the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (northern span) this entire block and other buildings in the area were demolished.  The northern span was built just north of the old Taylor Falls Bridge at about the same location as this Martin Block.  A a result  in Webster Street ending at a turn around at the Ferry Street end.  Today you can exit from Ferry onto Webster; but cannot enter Ferry from Webster Street.
In the early 1900’s Hudson had a police court  with George W. Clyde and Nathaniel Wentworth acting as judges.  There was a small grainery on the bank of the Merrimack River off Webster Street which also served as a house of detention (jail) for individuals until they were released or transported to Nashua for longer stays and more secure accommodations.

This brings us to this week’s photo of Webster Street, looking north, just after the intersection with Ferry Street C 1920.  Along the left of Webster Street are the  tracks of the trolley which went north to Manchester.  Think of the sharp turn the trolley car(s) made after leaving the bridge, stopping at the transfer station to leave and/or pick up passengers, then making the turn onto Webster street and heading north.

The small building on the left is the grainery which history tells us was also used as the local jail.  You may ask what became of the jail?  According to the Town Report for the year ending 1918 the town paid Law and Ingham $13.00 to move a safe and cells.  Did not state where they were moved from or to.  Also, a brief article in the February 19, 1918 edition of the Nashua Telegraph tells us that a young man named Roland Abbott had plans to repair and remodel the building and use it as a club house for the young people of Hudson.  It is doubtful that this club house ever became a reality.  We do know the building was later moved to Ferry Street, placed on a foundation and used as part of the dwelling at what is now 88 Ferry Street. At the time of this move the property was owned by Nathen Cummings.  Some residents of today may remember it as the home of Clayton and Victoria Smith.  Photo from the Historical Society Collection.

Hudson Center School Bell

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School Bell at Hills House

Each year as part of the Hudson History Tour students delight in ringing the bell located on the front lawn of the Hills House.  This bell once hung high above Hudson Center in the tower of the old two room school house on Kimball Hill Road.  A few rings from this bell would announce to all the beginning of classes or the end of recess or lunch period.
The Hudson Center School was built in 1908 as a replacement for the Smith School on Windham Road which had burned.  Why this alternate site was selected rather than rebuilding on the original site is not entirely clear; but I suspect it had to to with the need for a reliable and safe water source.  By the beginning of the school year 1908 this bell had been placed in the school  tower  where it would remain for over 65 years. The bell was given to the town by Henry C. Brown, a well known resident of Hudson Center.  Mr. Brown served as Postmaster of the Hudson Center Post Office located in the train station which sat along side the tracks off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (not Wattannick Hall). His residence was on Kimball Hill Road opposite the Hudson Center Common and the Baptist Church.  His house became part of the Benson Farm property and was demolished by the state prior to the town’s ownership.
From 1908 until 1956 students from the Hudson Center and even West Windham attended this two room school house for grades 1 thru 6.  I myself remember attending grades 1-3 with Mrs. Marguarite Gilman as teacher; and then grades 4 and 5 with Miss Florence Parker.  By my 6th year we were seeing the possibility of closing this school house due to small enrollment at Hudson Center and available space in the schools in the bridge area.  I attended Webster School for the 6th grade and then on to Alvirne for grades 7 -12.
Charlie and Eric with bell

Charlie and Eric Parker Transporting Bell

The old school closed in 1956 and remained unoccupied until mid 1970’s.  By that time the property and school building were owned by Mr and Mrs Robert Thompson.  In 1974 with the help of the Hudson Fire Department the bell was removed from the tower and placed in the bed of “Charlie” Parker’s pick-up truck.  It was then transported by “Charlie”  and his brother Eric to the Historical Society.  The Society contracted with Adrien Labrie  to construct the bell stand for $485.00.  There the bell remains awaiting the occasional ringing by students or visitors to the grounds — especially during Old Home Days.

Aerial View Fulton and Reed Streets C 1955

 

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Aerial View Fulton, Reed, Central Streets C 1955

If you live in the vicinity of Maple Avenue, Reed, Fulton, and Central Street you may well be able to locate your home on this C 1955 aerial photograph. Based upon our accession records at the Historical Society this photo was taken C 1955 from an aircraft owned by Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems of Nashua). The lack of foliage on the trees during the winter months increased the visibility of the buildings from the air. The aircraft was flying in a south easterly direction over this area.

If we look to the left of center the easiest building to locate is the American Legion building at the corner of Central and Fulton Streets at 37 Central. Opposite Fulton at Central is the beginning of Chase Street. We can see the homes from 43 Central westerly toward Maple Avenue and the bridge; including homes to 16 Central Street. The Hudson Community Church (Brick Church) is not shown but you can see the shadow of the church building on Central Street and the home opposite the church. At the time of this photo this home was known as the Dudley/Emerson House; home of Deputy Harry Emerson; a 50 year member of the Hudson Fire Department. In the late 1960’s this home and other homes in the area of Central and Ferry Streets were razed in order to improve access to and egress from the Veteran’s Memorial and New Taylor Falls Bridges. This lot remained empty until 2016 at which time the property was sold and a duplex house is now being built on this site.

Between 27 and 25 Central we see Maple Avenue going southerly past the intersection with Reed Street on the left and on toward what is now Merrill Park on the right and near the edge of the Merrimack River. At the end of Maple Avenue is the remains of the right of way for the steam railroad used by residents to make a connection with the southern end of Fulton Street. Another easy to identify landmark is at the corner of Maple and Reed Street. This house is the former Merrill Family Home. Known to many as the home of Marjorie and Natalie Merrill and a previous site of Hudson’s Town Library.

Returning on Fulton Street towards Central we see most of Reed Street running parallel with Central and extending towards Gillis Street on the upper left of the photo. As we move away from the bridge area we can identify a number of undeveloped lots and open space beyond Gillis and Reed Streets.

One final street to locate is the beginning of School Street just at the intersection with Cummings Street as shown on the lower left in the photo. Easily identified are the homes of Paul and Hazel Buxton and their family on School Street; and the former home of Dr. William Quigley and his family facing the intersection with Cummings Street. The Buxton Family has (and is) serving the town in a number of areas; including Fire Department, Historical Society, and Hills Memorial Library. Dr. Quigley provided medical services to Hudson and Hudson Schools. This photo is from the collection at the Historical Society.

Odd Fellows Building

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Odd Fellows Hall C 1912

Before 1895 a good number of men from Hudson were members of one of two Odd Fellows Lodges in Nashua. The participation from Hudson grew as did interest in organizing a lodge in Hudson. In October 1895 decisive action was taken and Hudson Lodge No 94 was instituted in the newly constructed Andrews hall located near the bridge. Membership grew and so did interest in having their own building in Hudson. In 1902 the Odd Fellows Building Association of Hudson was organized for that purpose. Many members of the lodge as well as many townspeople who were not members became stockholders in this endeavor. A parcel of land on Central Street was purchased from the William Hutchinson and Charles M. Woodward. This parcel, located at what is now 37 Central Street, had been a portion of the estate left to Helen E. and H. Georgina Gillis from their father. At the time of purchase Fulton Street was in the planning stage.

The building contained a large ‘lodge room’ with anti-rooms and other accommodations for the lodge membership. The basement contained a spacious banquet room and adjacent kitchen. The first floor had another large hall, called Association Hall. It was a large assembly room complete with a stage.

The building was completed and occupied by the lodge in early 1903. This building not only provided meeting space for the Odd Fellows and the Echo Rebekah Lodge it also provided meeting and banquet space for other organization and private occasions. The lodge continued as a thriving organization or several years, helping their fellow man, assisting widow and orphans and generally offering a good influence in Hudson. By the early 1940’s membership was dwindling and by 1947 the remaining members transferred to Granite Lodge in Nashua.

American Legion C 2016

American Legion C 2016

In April 1944 after a vote by the residents at the previous Town Meeting the town purchased the building for $4,000. The intent of this purchase was to donate and dedicate the building to the American Legion in honor and memory of all veterans who have or will serve to defend our country. A condition of this purchase and transfer was that future maintenance and improvements were the responsibility of the American Legion Post 48. In 1954, in order to clean up any question of title, the property was again deeded to the American Legion Post #48 by the town. The earliest photo is of the Odd Fellow’s Building as shown in The History of Hudson C 1912. The later photo is the American Legion Building as shown in the town records.

World War II Honor Roll and War Memorial

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WW II Honor Roll at Library Park

 

Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 the registration of young men for the draft was begun by the Draft Board of Exeter, NH. Registration of Hudson men was held in February 1942 in the lower room of the Hills Memorial Library. Males between 18 and 45 were registered and classified. The total population of our town was then about 3,400.

Members of the American Legion Post No. 48 constructed an honor roll on the east side near Library Street) of Library Park in 1942. As individual men and women entered the service their name was added to the honor roll. As the number of service men increased the initial honor roll board became filled and was replaced by a larger one. The Post Commander, Webster W. White, and a committee of three members, Robert Pratt, Chairman, Paul Buxton, and Harold Farnum with cooperation of the Town Clerk were responsible for the posting of names.The earliest photo shown here is that of the World War II honor roll with some 368+/- names as listed in the Town Report for the year ending January 31, 1944. After the hostilities ended in 1945 this honor roll remained in place on Library Park. Just how long it remained, I am not sure. After it was removed there was no War Memorial for veterans of World War II or any subsequent wars or conflicts until August 1991 when the American Legion erected the present War Memorial.

War Memorial 2016

War Memorial 2016

The Hudson Veterans War Memorial is in honor all who have honorable served in our armed forced, both living and deceased, during all conflicts of our great nation. This project was started in 1989 and authorized by the veterans group in early 1990. Past Post Commander “Billy” Mitchel promoted the original concept, which was further refined by other post members. As with most projects of this magnitude, help from many sources were needed. Mr. James Arsenault designed the center of the monument, Hudson Monument Company was contracted for the stones and artwork. Employees of the Hudson Public Works Department volunteered services for the groundwork, concrete was provided by Brox Industrues, and Hudson Paving Company formed the foundation. The completed memorial was dedicated Sunday August 18, 1991 as part of Hudson’s Old Home Days. Both photos are from the collection of the Historical Society.

147 Derry Road

147 Derry Road 2015

The Home at 147 Derry Road C 2015

This house at 147 Derry Road was vacant for many years, boarded up for security and recently marked as a training site for the Hudson Fire Department. These past few weeks any visible evidence of it’s existence has been removed by the skillful operation of a back hoe. I visited the site a few times while the demolition was taking place and noticed the basement (cellar) of the house was a poured concrete foundation. I would expect stones or stones with a leveling layer of bricks. I was also able to see the center support beam under the main floor. Clearly one end had been rotted and repaired in order that it may be returned to service. As this 3.95 acre parcel gets ready for the next chapter in it’s existence, let us look back at previous chapters and some of the families who lived there.

Town records show this was a single family colonial style home consisting of 7 rooms including 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, built C 1790 on approximately 4.49 acres (the actual deed says 3.95 acres). The current owner is 147 Derry Road, LLC who purchased the property in 2008 from the estate of Gladys (Alukonis) Kosman. This home was owned by the family of Walter and Annie Alukonis from 1945 to 2008, a period of 63 years. Prior to that the home was owned by the family of Mary and Albert Kopitsko who purchased the property (land and buildings) from Joseph Cerier in July 1927.

At this point let’s step back in time to 1892. The heirs of Enoch S. Marsh sold a 125 acre parcel (land and buildings) of the Marsh farm to Kimball Webster. A few years later, in 1898, a 3.95 acre parcel of land was separated and sold to Sophrinia Smith. Smith owned this parcel until May 1927 when the land was sold to Joseph Cerier. By July 1927 the same 3.95 acre parcel with buildings were sold to Albert Kopitsko. In summary, the deeds for this parcel indicate there was no building on the 3.95 acre piece until July 1927.

At this point let me leave you, the readers, with a mystery. When was this house constructed? Was it constructed on some other location and moved to this spot in 1927? Are the deeds in error and the house constructed on this site in the early 1800’s and then given the benefit of major repairs to repair the support beam and improve the basement? If anyone has comments or insights, please share them!!

So, we know something of the history of the site; let’s now look at the families who lived there. The family of Marie and Albert Kopitsko from 1927 to 1945 and the family of Walter and Annie Alukonis from 1945 until the death of their daughter, Glayds (Alukonis) Kosman.

Family of Albert and Mary Kopitsko

Our story of the Albert and Mary Kopitsko family begins in September 1909. 18 year old Wojciech Kopicko arrived at Ellis Island on the Kaiser Wilhelm II from Germany. He had been a resident of Russia. It is not known when he changed his name to Albert Kopitsko. A short time later in June 1910, 17 year old Stanislawa Muckrowska arrived at Ellis Island on the Nieuw Amsterdam from the Netherlands. She decided to use the name Margerne (Mary). By October 1913 both Albert and Mary had been residing in Nashua. They were married in Nashua October 12, 1913 at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church.

The 1930 US Census places Albert and Mary with their family of four children owning their home on Derry Road, Hudson. Albert was employed as a laborer in the Shoe Shop in Nashua. Their children were John (b:1915), Stephen (b:1916),Priscilla (b:1919) and Annie (b:1920). Annie was born in Hudson; most likely her older siblings were born in Nashua.

John and Stephen both served in World War II. Prior to entering the service John married Agnes Walkawicz in 1937 and was employed by he Granite State Tanning Co. John ended his service with a rank of Sergeant and was stationed at Fort Devens with the Military Police. Stephen was drafted into the service in 1941 and served in the infantry. He was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge towards the end of the conflict in Europe and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was discharged in 1945 after serving nearly 4 years. Prior to entering the service he was employed at the International Shoe Co. Stephen and Lois Straub were married in Hudson in 1961.

During the war years Albert along with John and Agnes, Stephen, and Priscilla and Raymond resided at the Derry Road home which he had purchased in 1927. After the war
the younger generation returned to their jobs and sought their own homes. Albert sold the Derry Road home in 1945 to Walter and Annie Aulkonis. It is not entirely clear, but I believe that Mary passed as early as 1937. In the years after selling the home, Albert resided with his daughter Priscilla and son-in-law Raymond Bouley. Albert passed in December 1957. Each of the families of John, Stephen, and Priscillia continued to live in Hudson. Agnes (Mrs. John) was employed for a number of years at The Meadows in Hudson Center.

. The youngest, Ann, attended schools in Hudson and later Nashua; graduating from Nashua High in 1939. She graduated Peter Bent Brigham Hospital School of Nursing as a registered nurse. Ann and her husband, George Christopher were married in 1942
and made their home on Melendy Road in Hudson. She served her town and the school district for 22 plus years as a school nurse. She was beloved and respected by both the students and their parents. Her activities extended beyond the school system. She was active in the Hudson community Church, Hudson Historical Society, a trustee for Hills Farm Cemetery to name a few.  She has been honored through the years for her humanitarian service to this town: Citizen of the Year in 1982, Appreciation awards by
Wattannick and Hudson Granges as well as the Kiwanis Club. The latter created a scholarship in her honor. Ann passed in 1989 leaving  with us many fond memories.

Family of Walter and Annie Alukonis

Annie (Tartalis) and Walter Alukonis were each natives of Lithuania, coming to this country and this area in their early 20’s. They purchased the home at 147 Derry Road from
Albert Kopitsko in 1945. Walter was a farmer and they previously lived on Barretts Hill Road. After Walter passed in 1950, Annie continued to live here until she passed in 1977; the last years she made her home with her daughter, Gladys (Alukonis) Kasman. Gladys or members of her family remained here until she passed in 2008.
This has been an interesting article to research and like most family history stories, they never finish. I am grateful to the family of Stephen and Lois Kopiski for the information and memories they provided me. The spelling used for the family surname has many variants: Kopiski/Kopisky etc. This has made the research for this article an interesting adventure. The photo shown here is of the house at 147 Derry Road C 2015. If you wish to comment on the history of this house, please send email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.

United Pentecostal Church (The Sanctuary)

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United Pentecostal Church C 1975

     The Hudson United Pentecostal Church was organized in 1961 with the first services being held at the home o Mr. and Mrs. Sam Lapan on the Boyd Road.  Sunday School classes were begun at the same time; using the family basement, garage, and re-purposed chicken house for classrooms.  The services were conducted by the Rev. Harvey H. Howe, then pastor of the Manchester United Pentecostal Church.
      Pastor and Mrs Howe along with the small parish began searching for a church site and were successful in purchasing land at the corner of Derry Road and Philips Drive in Hudson in 1963.  Work began on the church building and by September the foundation was completed.   On a few subsequent Saturdays, as many as 29 men from other churches in the district gathered for a “church-raising Bee”.  The first floor was completed followed by the sidewalls, and then the roof.  Within 11 days the building was made weather tight; all with volunteer labor.  Through the winter months others volunteered services to complete the interior.  Sam Lapan served as head carpenter with Pastor Howe overseeing the work.  The church was completed and dedicated in June 1964.
     In the spring of 1965 a seven-room garrison style house was built by the membership as a parsonage; thus providing a permanent residence for the Rev. and Mrs. Howe and their family.  Some funding for these buildings came from district and international headquarters of the Pentecostal Church.  The local church took out a mortgage from a New Hampshire bank for the balance.  A short time after the completion of the parsonage, the Rev. Harvey M. Howe resigned his pastorate in Manchester, moved to Hudson, and assumed full-time duties of the church here.  Beginning as a small handful of members the growth of this church has mirrored the growth of the Town of Hudson over the years.
     The present pastor is Rev David Howe; son of the founding pastor Harvey Howe.  Rev David worked as Associate Pastor with his dad prior to assuming the pastorate.  He and his wife June have shared 45 years of life together serving the church in Hudson.  In 2013 the church celebrated 50 years of organization in Hudson and changed their name from Pentecostal  to The Sanctuary United Pentecostal Church.  The new name provides more identification for a church in these times; offering a sanctuary in a troubling world.  As a church, Sanctuary United Pentecostal is not a mega-church.  It is a church that knows it’s individuals, provides an influence in the community, and in the world.
     The photo of the Pentecostal Church is from the Historical Society Collection; showing the church C 1975.  Much of this historical background is from “The Town in Transition” as published by the Society in 1977; as well as various newspaper articles.

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