Hudson Schools 300 Years

 HUDSON SCHOOLS

300 YEARS of HISTORY

This exhibit shows 300 years of Hudson school history (1719 – 2021) in 5 segments.  The text with photos for each segment can be downloaded from the home page of RememberHudsonNHWhen.com.

 In the Beginning (1719 – 1890) is displayed in the Dining Room of the Hills House.  It begins with early schooling and the rise of the 10 local school districts and ends with decision by the voters to transition to a unified (town) district under the jurisdiction of a School Board of 3 members. Files for download:

District School Location Map

School Information Blocks

In The Beginning

Typical Schoolhouse

A New Era (1890 – 1934) is displayed in the Meeting Room.  It begins with the first School Board and the building of two new schoolhouses: one in the bridge area on Sanders Street (Webster School) and one at Hudson center on Windham Road (Smith School).  Fire destroyed the Smith School, and it was replaced with a school on Kimball Hill Road (Hudson Center School).  By 1934 Webster School had also endured a fire, rebuilt, and expanded.  Most of the local district schools had been closed; a few were used as needed.  After grade 7 Hudson pupils attended Nashua schools. File for download:

A New Era

Era of Many Changes (1935 – 1970) also in the Meeting Room. The two schoolhouses were at max capacity.  By 1939 Hudson Junior High school was built off School Street.  Growth of the town increased need for more classrooms.  By 1951 the vision of Dr. Alfred Hills was realized when Alvirne opened as a combined Junior/Senior High School.  The junior high building off School Street became an elementary school and renamed H.O. Smith Elementary.  By the close of this era Hudson Memorial School was in use and ready for expansion. File for download:

Era of Many Changes

Achieving Stability (1970 – 2020) also in the Meeting Room.  Hudson continued to grow.  The town purchased St John’s School for an elementary school:  Library Street School.  Later in this era we see the construction of Nottingham West and Hills Garrison Schools. Files for Download:

Achieving Stability

List of Superintendents

Alvirne Story (1920 – 2021) displayed in Meeting Room near the fireplace.  This segment begins with the vision of Dr. Hills in 1920 to the securing of the Hills Family trust funds in 1948, the first graduating class in 1951, fires at the high school and barn, to the expansion and rededication of the Palmer Center. Files for Download:

Alvirne Story

Alvirne Principals

The text with photos for each of these segments can be downloaded from the home page of RememberHudsonNHWhen.com.

Hills House Tours during Old Home Days

Hills House Tours with the customary

scavenger hunt and prizes

AND exhibit

Hudson School History 1719 – 2021

Friday Aug 13 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Saturday Aug 14 3:00 – 8:30 pm

Sunday Aug 14 12:30 – 3:30 pm

$3.00 admission; children under 12 free with adult

Granite Quarry at the Ledges

The Ledges of Hudson

Hudson residents in many neighborhoods have access to trail systems following along and adjacent to cleared spaces beneath power transmission lines. These have been used for decades by children on adventures, pleasure hikers and off-roaders (legally and otherwise.) There is a particular spot where a combination of power lines, cow paths, and discontinued routes from older times branch out from a century-old granite quarry the locals call “The Ledges”. 

 The Ledges are located in the woods northeast beyond Ledge Rd, but trail access was cut off by development long ago. It is well off the power line trails from the substation at the end of Power St. (road gated) where these transmission towers head off in multiple directions to bring electricity to the region. A trail, once a road, from Ledge Rd. to Power St. is in living memory of a few locals. The quarry as it remains today is hard to conceive a more thrilling, if unsafe, playground for youngsters. Stone steps for scrambling up and down 20 feet or more, natural and man-made features inspire the imagination into a pretend house, or a hero’s hideout. A frog pond at the base of a cliff where throughout the spring one can see eggs become tadpoles, then frogs year after year.

 Modern quarry operations cleave monstrous slabs of granite with house-sized chainsaws, and leave tall, smooth cliffs. When in operation from the1800s until the beginning of the 20th century, the technology involved a series of holes likely by steam drill, then splitting off large pieces with what’s known as “feather and wedge”. Of course explosives were also used, scattering large chunks all to be carried away by wagon. Their destination or ultimate use is unfortunately unknown. Granite was and remains a sought-after commodity primarily for building. Foundations to entire structures, seawalls, retaining walls as well as monuments and markers. In viewing, one can see The Ledges was a small operation with its output probably used up locally. What remains are irregular stair-step remnants of stone in an amphitheater arrangement.

 In searching for its history, not a whole lot remains. The Historical Society turned its attention here in response to an inquiry concerning a turn of the century map. As is shown below, when operating, the quarry was referred to as ”Lappre’s Ledge” (1889), then later (1908) “Mcqueston property – Duncklee’s Ledge”. What follows are largely verbatim reported accounts from the Nashua Telegraph. These concern the quarry and surrounding areas, (minimally edited to preserve the character of the original accounts). Excerpts in Italics, Warning: There are some graphic descriptions of accidents:

 Jun 6, 1889 – Hudson – NH – Explosion – Lappre’s Ledge -A man in the act of discharging a blast when a gust of wind blew some of the loose powder upon the fuse and a premature explosion followed. The man with a ton or more of fragments stone, was thrown more than 20 feet into the air. He fell within a few feet of the place where he was standing at the time of the discharge, and strange to say, was not killed. These injuries, however, were of a very serious character. His face badly burned and blistered is a eye so badly injured that the doctor feared he will lose it. His left leg and arm were badly burned and blistered, and the skin pierced and torn by stone. In fact, pieces of stone forced into his leg in several places. Besides this, this watch, which stop at 10:40 AM is rendered worthless, and his clothes torn and set on fire. The man was brought to his home in Nashua where he was attended by a doctor who had no occasion for alarm concerning the patient’s recovery.

 Apr 11, 1894 – Hudson – NH – Wagon accident – Ledge Road – a man was drawing stone from the ledge and loaded his wagon and was on the way out in route to Nashua. The road out of the pit was steep up the hill. His wagon jumped over a large stone and he was thrown from the wagon. He fell under the wheels and died on the scene.

Nov 14, 1907 – Hudson – NH – Explosion with injury – A man working at the LP Dunklee ledge suffered numerous fractures, burns and cuts when he was placing explosives to clear rock and a secondary explosion took place. He died from his injuries 8 days later.   

Apr 11, 1908 – Hudson – NH – Large brush fire – Mcqueston property – Duncklee’s Ledge – The fire was started by brush fire being burned and was spread by the wind. Ten acres were burned before the fire was controlled around noon. At 2pm the flames again reignited and were spreading fast. Over 100 acres burned being the largest fire in (town) history up to that time.  Dec 1, 1962 – Hudson – NH – House fire – Ledge Road -Firefighters responded to the vacant unoccupied home and they when arrived heavy fire was showing from the small building. Before crews could bring the blaze under control the home was destroyed.END Excerpt 

This last item, the house fire was unique in that its location was not on a conventional street, rather a lot immediately adjacent to the quarry. It was inhabited by a reclusive woman until 1959 and abandoned a few years before it burned. As it turned out, this woman owned the quarry site and a considerable amount of the associated land which she sold when she vacated. First hand accounts describe the building as “a shanty” with one witness claiming it was built around a large boulder up through the floor. Plausible speculation is that it was the field office during the quarry’s operation (where a boulder might only make sense). A brief mention in the Dec. 3 ’62 Telegraph states the cause as arson. Ample land in a central area of town can only remain untouched for so long. In the 1980s, the quarry site and surroundings combined for a land sale where over one hundred homes stand today. Preservation efforts are fortunately unnecessary for the Ledges remaining rugged stone in the Granite State. 

Written by Steve Kopiski.  Acknowledgements for research assistance to Ruth Parker, Peter Lindsay and Dave Morin; (HFD Call Records from the Nashua Telegraph.)

THE COMING OF ALVIRNE FOOTBALL

             

     The first Touchdown scored for Alvirne football was on March 4, 1994 at the School District meeting when 450 voters approved the beginning of football at Alvirne.  The final score was 232 in favor and 210 opposed, a mere 22 vote margin. Yes, there had been prior attempts at a football program; one as early as 1967, and many in the 1980’s.    As I researched for this story, I could see that 1994 was different;  the first time that Alvirne school administration officially endorsed the idea even though the School Board and the Budget Committee did not. 

    Alvirne’s enrollment in 1995 made it the seventh largest Class L high school in the state but ranking poorly when it came to competitive athletic programs. This was affecting the students, the school spirit, and even educational and scholarship opportunities for college.   

    Alvirne Athletic Director, Clyde Meyerhoefer, presented a well thought out three-year plan to the voters.  The first year, $63,250 budget, would include equipment for 60 players coaching staff, transportation, and game officials.  The second year, $42,000 budget, would expand the number of players to 80.  The third-year budget would be $32.000.   The program started at the junior varsity (JV) level and expand to the varsity level. Support for football came mostly from towns people who were active in Pop Warner football and who wanted their family members to continue to play the sport even into college.

From Alvirne Yearbook 1996

     Alvirne football began in the fall of 1995.  The 1996 class yearbook proudly recorded the excitement and success of the first Alvirne football team coached by Howard Sobolov to a record of 3 wins and 4 losses.  Alvirne football jersey #22 was retired as a tribute to the mystical 22 vote margin at the 1994 school meeting and successful plan spearheaded led by Clyde Meyerhoefer.  That framed jersey hangs to this day in the office of Karen Bonney, Alvirne Athletic Director.

Retured #22 Jersey

Stadium lights were added to the field complex through the generosity of the Alvirne Trustees by September 1996; thus, enabling the first home game in Alvirne’s history on Friday evening September 13,1996.  It was a rainy cool night and the football fans stood alongside a fence overlooking the field or stood on the back of pick-ups to get the best vantage point.  Bleachers and an announcement booth were added by September 1999.  

Telegraph September 18, 1996

           Over the past 20+ years Alvirne football has had some successes while other years have been more challenging.  At the end of the day, as AD Karren Bonner reflects, it is about providing students the opportunity to represent their school and their community. 

 So, we ask, when did earlier attempts to start a football program occur and why did it take so long to become reality?

        The earliest I found was in 1967. There was no specific warrant to start a football program, a $3,500 line item was included in the annual school budget for football at Alvirne.  This led to much discussion, amendments to the article, and even amendments to the amendments!  After lots of discussion and compromises between the School Board and the Budget Committee, the football program was removed from the budget (and expressly prohibited).  These are the actual words used by the Telegraph reporter about the meeting.  The budget was then approved without football.

      During the next 10 to 15 years there was a lot of competition for money within the School District.  The completion of Memorial School, the athletic field complex at Alvirne, the fire and rebuild of Alvirne, and the growing need for additional elementary classrooms.  During this same time, the annual school budget were often cut by the voters at the annual meetings.

        As we entered the 1980’s there was one attempt with an article in 1981, but it never came to a vote.  Interest picked up again in 1985 with the introduction of two warrant articles requesting permission to start a football program and to raise $50,000 for it. After much discussion, the voters agreed to form a committee to study the possibility and report back at the meeting in 1986.  For the 1986 meeting there was a $790,000 bond issue to expand the physical education facilities at Alvirne.  Football startup was a part of this article. 300 people attended the School district meeting at Memorial School.  In the end this article was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 236 of 58.   Another proposal was presented in 1987 which called for $132,000.  After about 30 minutes of debate this was defeated 298-70.  That brings us up to the successful proposal spearheaded by Clyde Meyerhoefer in 1994.

        That leaves the question “Why did it take so long?”  These past few months I have had occasions to reminisce with some Alvirne alumni.  The question of football and why it took so long often came up.  Many alumni, myself included, remembered hearing that football at Alvirne was forbidden because the Hills Family who donated the money to start the school had a son who was severely injured or killed playing the sport.  Many had heard it, but none could site the source.  My research and the research of many before me have shown this rumor to be false; in fact, Dr. and Mrs. Hills did not have a son.  So, let’s look at some more realistic reasons for the delay.  

       Alvirne began as a small high school in a small town where the initial building was funded by the trust funds of Dr. Hill’s family.  The growth of school enrollment was aided by students from neighboring towns such as Litchfield, Pelham, and Windham.    These neighboring towns paid tuition which helped with the expenses but the decisions for expansion were made by the Hudson voters.  

        As a small school in the 50’s and 60’s we concentrated on basketball, track and field, soccer, and baseball.  Until the mid-60’s and later with the growth of Pop Warner in town football at the high school did not enter the picture.

        There was always competition for school money.  We saw this as we reviewed discussions from the various school district meetings.  I think of the 1967 school meeting where press coverage of the meeting stated that football was removed from the budget and expressly forbidden.  This fact could have fueled the rumor.

       Clyde Meyerhoefer and his family came to Hudson in 1974 when he became a teacher/coach.  He coached many sports including soccer, track, and baseball.  In 1985 he became the Athletic Director, a position he held until 1999 when he moved to Belmont, MA.  He served there for three years before he passed in 2002.  His impact extends far beyond Alvirne.  He was respected locally, at the state and national level for his work as an athletic director.  During his career he was the recipient of many awards, including NH Athletic Director of the Year 3 times.  The NH Athletic Director’s Association continually recognizes his contributions in this state by presenting the Clyde Meyerhoefer Award each year to a NH athletic director with 3 years or less experience.

          Karren Bonney, the present AD, joined the Alvirne staff in 1985 when Clyde became the AD.  When Clyde moved to Belmont in 1999, she was promoted to AD.  To Karen, Clyde has been a special colleague and mentor, even after he moved to Belmont.

       Any reader, especially alumni, who would like to share their memories with this story are encouraged to add their comments by clicking on the comment line at the end of this story.  

        The following sources were used to research for this article:  Hudson School District Annual Reports, Nashua Telegraph, Hudson Litchfield News, Alvirne Yearbooks, as well an inputs from a member of the Meyerhoefer family, and current Alvirne AD, Karen Bonner.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker 

The Part Played by New Hampshire in the Revolution

An essay, researched and written by H.O. Smith. MD of Hudson was read before the Nashua Historical Society on December 99, 1935. A typed copy of this essay including some of H.O.’s handwritten edits is now a part of the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. The document, passed to his son, Deering G. Smith, MD was donated to the society in 1966 by Deering’s estate.

In summary, New Hampshire was the first colony to establish independent self-government upon a constitutional basis; and,

was the first to make an open attach on the military forces of Great Britain; and

the first to suggest a Declaration of independence; and

lastly, but not least, in the two pivotal battles of the war, Bunker Hill and Bennington she furnished the majority of the men engaged, as well as their leader, General John Stark.

  To read the full text of “The Part Played by New Hampshire in the Revolution” click here.

 

Dr. H. O. Smith

 Dr. Henry Onslow Smith was born in Hudson December 1864.  After graduating Nashua High School he attended Dartmouth college for two years and then entered Bellevue Hospital Medical college in New York.  After completing his studies and a year of residency he returned to Hudson at the age of 24 in 1888 to begin his 57 year medical practice.  In 1940 he was granted a degree of bachelor of arts by the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth college.  In May 1945, after completing a house call for one of his patients, he passed suddenly.  
     Many knew him as Dr. Harry or as Dr. H.O.  He was devoted to his medical profession and also to the education and affairs of the people of Hudson.  One tribute to him stated “Dr.  Smith himself was never old in spirit.”  He greeted all ages as if they were his friends.  He welcomed new residents and kept in touch with his old friends.  He had a respect for the past and found great pleasure in genealogy and town and state history.  I have a personal respect for Dr. H. O. when I reach for a book at the historical society which came from his personal library; often times finding annotations in his own handwriting which offer corrections or updating of the material written in the book.  
     Dr. Harry came from a family of physicians and educators.  His father, Dr. David O. Smith was also a lifelong physician in Hudson and he served on Hudson’s  first School Board.  His brother Dr. Herbert L. Smith and his son Dr. Deering G. Smith practiced in Nashua.  Two uncles from his mother’s family were also doctors.  His father, Dr. David O. and his grandfather Alvan Smith served on the school committee.  His parents were both school teachers in Hudson.  In fact David O. Smith earned most of his money for his medical expenses by teaching a private school.

 

Hills Garrison the Elementary School on Derry Road

 

Hills Garrison School

The first proposal to build an elementary school on Derry Road was presented to the voters  in March 1988 when they were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil elementary schools of identical design; one on the Pelham Road and one on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School.  Included within this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, the conversion of Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town for their use.  The cost of this plan was $12.57 million.  There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800  pupils for an additional $1.23 million.  This school meeting was the largest and liveliest on record.  After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved.  The result being to build one 800 pupil school on the Pelham Road at a cost of $7.3 million; later this new school was officially named Nottingham West Elementary.
     Proposals for the Derry Road elementary school came before the voters again in March 1998 with a $7.5 million bond issue to build on land adjacent and south of Alvirne High School.  A separate warrant article proposed 1/2 day Kindergarten at a cost of $1.8 million for 10 classrooms, with 75% being funded by the state.   The voters of Hudson rejected both  articles.  
     Long term Superintendent Peter Dolloff retired and within three years Randy Bell was hired as Superintendent.  With this new leadership the School Board, School Administration, parents and individuals of Hudson worked together in order to solve the problems of space and class sizes within our schools.  Focusing on the building issues a $17.6 million warrant article was presented to the deliberative session on February 2000 which included the cost of the land plus construction of a new elementary school on land adjacent to Alvirne as well as  renovations and an addition to Memorial school.  When the votes were counted in  March this proposal was approved.  This was a landmark decision by Hudson voters.  The School Board gave credit to the community and various committees working together.  Under the direction of the Building Committee Chairman, Bernard C. Manor, the new school was scheduled for completion for September 2001.  The improvements at Memorial School were scheduled for Spring 2002.
     By the beginning of the 2001 school year Hills Garrison was completed so as to provide elementary education for 512 students in grades 1-5 plus facilities for pre-school.  The total school enrollment for Hudson that year was 4,100.  The photo of the Hills Garrison School is courtesy of the Hudson School District.

Dedication Plaque

     On October 6, 2001 Hills Garrison school was officially dedicated to the citizens of Hudson for their generosity, support, and devotion to the students of Hudson.  The school was named for the long standing contribution to the town  by the Hills Family.  A brief history of the Hills family was a part of this dedication.  Paul Hills, a direct descendent of Joseph Hills, and members of his family were present for this event.  The photo of the dedication plaque is provided courtesy of the Hills Garrison School staff.  
     A short time later the Hills Garrison marker was relocated onto the grounds of this school from it’s Webster Street location where it had been placed by Kimball Webster in 1901.  Photo of garrison marker on school ground is courtesy of the author. 
   Public kindergarten and more specifically the responsibility for funding continued as a discussion point until 2009 when, after years of debate and discussion the Hudson school system provided 1/2 day Kindergarten.

Hills Garrison Marker on School Grounds

Story Behind Nottingham West Elementary

Nottingham West Elementary 2020

Hudson’s Nottingham West Elementary School off of Lowell Road on Pelham Road, was built on Jacques Field. This property was purchased by the Hudson School District in 1966 in order to assure the town of a future school location. Some 23 years later Nottingham West Elementary was ready for occupancy.

Alfred A. Jacques, native to Lowell, and Yvonne I Rodier, native to Nashua, were married in Nashua October 1924. Soon thereafter they moved to Hudson and raised their family of a daughter and two sons. Their daughter Denise was born in Hudson April 1927 and passed at the age of 9 in November 1936. Their sons were Alfred E. born July 1931 and Paul E. born August 1943. When they first moved to Hudson they likely lived with his parents on Lowell Road. By March 1938 they purchased their 20 acre farm on Pelham Road from Eva Kashulines. Here the family remained until 1966 when the property was sold to the Hudson School District. Alfred A. was a farmer and operated a market garden until about 1977 when he was employed by F. H. Bailey and Sons Inc in Nashua, a large florist and flower grower. After selling their property Alfred and Yvonne retired to Orange City, FL. He passed away there on Jan 11, 1969 at the age of 72. He was laid to rest in the family lot of St. Francis Zavier cemetery in Nashua.

By the late 1960’s Hudson Memorial School on Thorning Road, a middle school, was in full use and an addition had been approved by the Hudson voters. In 1970 and again in 1971 voters defeated attempts to hire an architect to develop plans for an elementary school on Jacques field. In 1972 the attempt was successful as voters approved $32,000 for architect drawings for this school.

By the mid 1970’s a number of big changes had occurred in Hudson. Alvirne was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Enrollment at St. John’s school on Library Street was on the decline and the school was scheduled to close by June 1975. The St. John’s and Hudson School Boards worked together on a transition plan. After leasing the school from the Diocese for a year Hudson purchased the property in March 1977 and renamed it Library Street Elementary School. The purchase cost was $615,000; a big savings over the cost of new construction. This removed the pressure to plan for and approve construction at Jacques field.

As school growth continued, the need became reality and additional classroom space was necessary. At the 1988 School District Meeting voters were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil schools of identical design. One school on the Pelham Road site and the second on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School on the former Morey property. Included in this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, converting Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town. The cost of this plan was $12.57 million. There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800 pupils for an additional $1.23 million.

The March 25, 1988 Annual School District meeting was the largest and liveliest on record as some 850 voters met in the Memorial School Auditorium. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved to build 1 800 pupil school at a cost of $7.3 million. Kindergarten, Webster school and Library Street School changes were not part of the approved plan. Construction was quickly started with a scheduled opening of September 1989. During August 1989 the School Board officially adopted the name Nottingham West Elementary in recognition of our town’s former name. The schedule was met and the school was in use at the beginning of September. An open house was held on October 5, 1989 where 1,000 townspeople viewed their new 800 pupil school. At that time the actual enrollment was 600 pupils.

At the close of the first school year on June 21, 1990 at 9:30 am the students burred a time capsule containing first year memorabilia. This capsule was to be dug up in 10 years at the same time of the day. I am not aware of what was found in the capsule. If any of you readers know, please let me know by sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.

Dedication Plaque to Barbara Hamilton

In the fall of 1993 the gym at Nottingham West was dedicated to the memory of Barbara Hamilton, much appreciated recreational director for Hudson. Barbara passed suddenly in early September at the age of 46. The dedication plaque in Barbara’s memory is shown in our second photo. Within the school this plaque is mounted on a wall surrounded by individual tiles made by students of Nottingham West in 1993.

Today Nottingham West is one of four elementary schools in Hudson. Grades 2 – 5 are split between this school and Hills Garrison School on Derry Road. In addition all preschool sessions are held at Nottingham West. The school colors are navy blue and gold and the mascot is the wildcat. Thanks to the staff of Nottingham West Elementary for the photos.  Written by Ruth Parker this article was published in the September 6, 2020 edition of The Telegraph.

Hudson’s Boston Post Cane

        Embossed Gold Head of Hudson’s Cane

The year was 1909. Edwin Atkins Grozier, owner and publisher of The Boston Post, launched his most famous and longest lasting advertising campaign to increase readership of his paper: The Boston Post Cane. A letter was sent to the chairman of the of selectmen in many New England towns. With this letter Mr. Grozier asked them to become trustees of a fine ebony cane with a top of 24-caret sheet gold. He stipulated the cane was to be given to the oldest citizen of the town. Upon the death of that citizen the cane was to be returned to the town and quickly transmitted to the next oldest citizen. The canes were separately expressed to each town.

Some time prior to August 1909 Mr. Grozier had arranged for the manufacture of some 700 canes by J. F. Fradley & Co. of New York, widely recognized for their fine canes. The cane itself was crafted from ebony grown in the Congo of Africa then brought here, cut into the desired length, and seasoned for 6 months. Good specimens were then turned on a lathe to the desired size and allowed to season again. They were then given a coat of shellac, rubbed with a pumice, and coated with French Varnish. Each town received an identical cane except for the name of the town embossed on the head of the cane. The cane for Hudson read: “The Boston Post to the Oldest Citizen of Hudson ” in the center. Around the top edge was “New Hampshire” and on the bottom “To be Transmitted’ This cane was not just an ornament, it was designed for daily use by the holder.

Within a few weeks Mr. Grozier made it clear who was eligible for the cane. The intention from the beginning was for the cane to be presented to the oldest citizen, meaning the oldest registered voter in the town. In 1909 women could not vote so the cane was presented to the oldest male voter in town. Even after women could register to vote most towns continued the tradition of presenting to the oldest male voter. As far as Hudson is concerned the award of the cane followed the original intent until 1999 when the Historical Society assumed the responsibility of presenting the cane.

                    Ebony Boston Post Cane

Mr. Grozier remained as owner of the newspaper until he passed suddenly in 1924 at which time his son Richard, also a newspaper man, took on the responsibility until 1946 when he also passed suddenly. The paper was then sold, circulation declined, and publication ended in 1956. What started as a campaign to increase circulation of the newspaper has turned into a century long tradition, outlasting the newspaper itself!

Hudson’s Selectmen in 1909 were James P. Howe, P. J. Connell, and George F. Blood. Soon after receiving the cane the selectmen presented it to Benjamin A. Merrill, Hudson’s first holder. Mr. Merrill passed in late October 1909; the cane was then presented to Hiram Cummings who held the cane until he passed January 7, 1910.

Some towns kept a record of the recipients of their cane. I have not found nor have I heard of any such early records being kept for Hudson. So, in an attempt to create such a list, I did some research. The remainder of this article shares my results.

Following Hiram Cummings (d:1910) research shown the honor was passed to Daniel Greeley (d:May 1916), Kimball Webster (d:June 1916), and Robert A. Andrews (d:1920). The next recipient I found was Clifton Buttrick who passed in May 1935 at the age of 89. Logic tells we there is an unknown recipient between Robert A. Andrews and Clifton Buttrick. Following Mr. Buttrick we have Willis P. Cummings (d:1939), Edwin Gowing (d:1940), David Monroe (d:1941), Charles L. Spaulding (d:1942), Charles Leslie (d:1948), Arthur S. Andrews (d:1949), Aldon Cummings (d:July 1950), Irven Smith (d:Aug 1950) and Charles Edward Cummings (d:1953). After the death of the younger Cummings brother in 1953 I found no further record of a presentation of the cane by the board of selectmen.

According to accession records of the Historical Society our Boston Post Cane was donated to the Historical Society by the Town of Hudson in 1971. It has been on display at the Hills House since that time; being used only occasionally for special presentations.

In 1999 the Society re-activated the tradition of the Boston Post Cane with updated eligibility rules. Both ladies and gentlemen are candidates with the requirement they be a resident of Hudson for the previous 20 years. The recipient is honored with a proclamation from the selectmen, a pin/tie clasp replica of the cane and his/her name engraved on a plaque. This presentation is made at the convenience of the recipient’s family.

Since 1999 we have 10 recipients. James Glispen was honored in 1999 at the age of 100. Lillian Leaor was Hudson’s first lady to receive the honor in 2005. Following Mrs. Leaor the recipients are: Ella Connell, Thelma Lemire, Ida Hill, Paul Wheeler, Mildred Emanuelson, Laura B. Landry, Clara Charest, and at present Doris Widebeck.

Before leaving the history of honoring our oldest residents I share a couple of events which occurred during the 1970’s. The first event was Founders Day in 1973; a week long celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Dunstable. For this event Hudson sponsored a parade which proceeded from School Street down Lowell Road, to Jacques Field. Being the oldest native of Hudson Ralph Steele (d:1999) was selected as the Grand Marshall.

The second event was the Bi-centennial in 1976; again celebrated with a parade from School Street to the site of Memorial School. The grand marshal for this event was 96 year old William D. Tandy. Mr. Tandy(d:1978) had previously been recognized by the Hudson Lion’s Club as early as 1974 as the oldest man in Hudson.

If any readers have additional information or insights into missing Boston Post Cane recipients please contact me via email at HudsonHistorical@live.com. The photo of the cane was taken by Sue Misek and is part of our collection at the Hills House.  Written by Ruth Parker this article appeared in the August 16, 2020  edition of the Nashua Telegraph.

Story Behind H. O. Smith Elementary

 

H O Smith

Dr. H O Smith c1940

Have you ever wondered about the history behind the H. O. Smith Elementary School and the family background of Dr. Smith?

During the dedication of the Hudson Junior High School on November 5. 1939 long time School Board Member Dr. H.O. Smith provided a brief educational history of Hudson. The first school in town dates to 1766 when 15 pounds was voted by the citizens of Nottingham West for education. Five years later the sum was reduced to eight pounds and during the Revolutionary War no sum of money was allocated for that purpose. The town was divided into ten districts with each district responsible to provide a location for class and salary for the teacher. Since, for the most part, pupils walked to school these districts divided the town by residential groupings and the school house conveniently located within each district. At first private homes were used for classrooms.

S5 Center

Hudson’s First Schoolhouse

The first school building was built in 1806 at or near the crest of Kimball Hill. This was district #5, known as the Center District, Other district buildings were built and soon after 1810 there were 10 district houses located in town.

Not until 1847 were the number of pupils recorded. At that time there were 346 pupils and the education costs totaled $433; approximately $1.25 per pupil! The teaching staff consisted of men and women. Men were typically hired for the winter months and women for the summer months. Men teachers received between $16 and $18 per month which was significantly more than the salary for a woman teacher. There was a town wide committee which reviewed the qualifications of and issued certificates for the teachers.

This concept of local management of the schools continued until 1885 when the town voted to operate as a single district and the first School Board consisting of Kimball Webster, Dr David O. Smith, and Daniel Gage was selected. Hudson was one of the few towns to adopt this system before it became a state requirement. Under the town system use of the local schools were continued; they were phased out over time as new or expanded facilities were available.

By 1935 all Hudson pupils in grades 1-8 were educated at either Kimball Webster School at the bridge or at a school at Hudson Center. Webster was built as a 4 room house in 1896 and later expanded to 8 in 1921. At the Center the D.O. Smith School was built in 1896 as a 2 room house on Windham Road. This school was destroyed by fire in 1907 and replaced by the Hudson Center School on Kimball Hill Road. Pupils in grades 9-12 were educated in Nashua with Hudson paying the tuition,

The completion of the Hudson Junior High School on School Street in 1939 near First Street provided 6 classrooms, an auditorium/gym, manual and domestic arts, an office, and a large study room. Upon graduation pupils would be eligible to attend any high school in the state. Hudson contracted with Nashua High School.

At the final assembly In June 1940 of the Hudson Junior High school there occurred a special ceremony which is remember to this day my members of Dr. H.O. Smith’s family, Dr. Smith was invited to come to this assembly and to bring his son and grandchildren with him so they might see the new school. The doctor was visibly overcome with emotion when his granddaughter, Elizabeth, unveiled a portrait of him at the climax of the program. This portrait was a gift to the school from a group of Hudson citizens as a tribute to Dr. Smith’s interest and dedication to the education and well being of the people of Hudson. The portrait was placed in a prominent place in the upper hallway of the school. It was attractively set in a walnut frame made by Bertram Tardif, Manual Arts teacher of the school. The wood for the frame originated from a discarded piano from the Hudson Center School. Placed there in 1940 it remains to this day. Accompanying Dr. Smith on that day was his son Dr. Deering Smith of Nashua and his granddaughter Elizabeth Deering Smith and grandson Robert Greeley Smith.

Dr. Henry Onslow Smith was born in Hudson December 1864. After graduating Nashua High School he attended Dartmouth college for two years and then entered Bellevue Hospital Medical college in New York. After completing his studies and a year of residency he returned to Hudson at the age of 24 in 1888 to begin his 57 year medical practice. In 1940 he was granted a degree of bachelor of arts by the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth college. In May 1945, after completing a house call for one of his patients, he passed suddenly.

Many knew him as Dr. Harry or as Dr. H.O. He was devoted to his medical profession and also to the education and affairs of the people of Hudson. One tribute to him stated “Dr. Smith himself was never old in spirit.” He greeted all ages as if they were his friends. He welcomed new residents and kept in touch with his old friends. He had a respect for the past and found great pleasure in genealogy and town and state history. I have a personal respect for Dr. H. O. when I reach for a book at the historical society which came from his personal library; often times finding annotations in his own handwriting which offer corrections or updating of the material written in the book.

Dr. Harry came from a family of physicians and educators. His father, Dr. David O. Smith was also a lifelong physician in Hudson and he served on Hudson’s first School Board. His brother Dr. Herbert L. Smith and his son Dr. Deering G. Smith practiced in Nashua. Two uncles from his mother’s family were also doctors. His father, Dr. David O. and his grandfather Alvan Smith served on the school committee. His parents were both school teachers in Hudson. In fact David O. Smith earned most of his money for his medical expenses by teaching a private school.

In 1951, after the completion of Alvirne the Junior High building was repurposed and dedicated as H. O. Smith Elementary.

Hudson is unique in that two physicians David O. and Henry O. Smith, father and son each served on the school board and each had a school named in their honor. It has been said and I will repeat it: Dr. Harry and the role he and his family played in Hudson cannot be matched. Thank you Doctors! These photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.  Research and written by Carol Flewelling and Ruth Parker.  Published in Nashua Telegraph June 28, 2020.

The “Poplars”

The Poplars

The “Poplars” on Lowell Road

The farm homes and productive farm fields along Lowell Road, coupled with the street railroad (trolley) operating between Nashua and Lowell, bolstered a cottage industry of guest houses and country resorts along Lowell Road in Hudson during the early 1900’s. By 1895 the Lowell and Suburban Street Railway from Nashua was extended down Lowell Road to connect with the line at Lakeview in Tyngsborough. This provided inexpensive, pleasant, and relatively rapid public transportation from Nashua, through Hudson and on to Lowell and the Boston area. By 1913 this line was in its hayday and offered frequent travel daily along this route. Within a few years as more and more residents operated autos the use of the trolley diminished. Operating at a loss these lines were discontinued about 1931.

Some Hudson residents opened their homes as guest houses during the summer months; providing opportunities for city dwellers to spend vacation time where they could enjoy the rural, cooler farm life of Hudson and still have access to home and easy travel to Nashua, Manchester, and sites in the mountains. One such guest house “The Poplars” was operated by Mrs. Alfereta Joan (Batchelder) Dustin.

Alfereta was born in Hudson November 1853; her parents were Lydia (Steele) and Mark Batchelder. She married Washington Franklin Dustin of Antrim, NH February 1876 here in Hudson. They had three children, one of whom died young due to a heart condition. Sons Mark Willis and Carrol E. had families of their own; one family living near Boston and the other in western Massachusetts.

About 1900 Alfereta remodeled a house on the west side of Lowell Road which had been built by George Kuhn. She named it “The Poplars” and it became her residence and her place of business. She operated a summer guest house from about 1901 to 1910. “The Poplars” consisted of one acre of land with a two story house and an ell; 9 rooms, 2 piazzas, a grove of pines, and a small cottage which was called Camp Crescent. We at the Historical Society are fortunate to have this post card view of “The Poplars”. This postal was sent from Alfereta to one of her perspective boarders providing some details of her location and accommodations. By my research and research of others in the society I place “The Poplars” at or near 143 Lowell Road, just south of Fox Hollow Condominiums.

She was doing a flourishing business as early as 1903 and she continued in this business until 1909 and possible 1910. Her location was convenient to the trolly line thus providing transportation for her guests to/from Nashua, Lowell and even the Boston area. Guests would come to enjoy the cooler more rural setting for their vacation while still being accessible to sightseeing, entertainment, and their homes. The months of June, July, and August were the busiest. At one point in August 1906 there is a record of her having 20 and some days more persons registered at her guest house principally visiting from the Boston area and vicinity.

In 1911 Alfereta became ill and required mastoid surgery. She did not recover from this and passed July 1911. Her funeral service was held from her home “The Poplars” and she was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery here in Hudson.

Following her death “The Poplars” was occupied by the family of William Hadley. In 1913 this family moved to Billerica and “The Poplars” was placed for sale at auction. After that it was owned by various families. At one point, about 1932, it was operated as a tearoom under the name of “The Green Lantern”.

There were other guest houses in Hudson; I know only a few by name: The Twiss Farm on Pelham Road, Pleasant View Farm on Wason Road, Riverside, and Morning Glory Farm. As late at the mid 1950 at least one farm family hosted a guest house for city dwellers; that was Butternut Hill Farm on Robinson Road operated by Charles and Ruth E. Parker. These welcoming homes in Hudson were an earlier version of our Bed and Breakfast.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker and published May 31, 2020 in Nashua Telegraph.

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