Let’s meet at Connie’s!! A widely popular spot for Hudson and Litchfield folks is shown in this 1977 photo. As you enter the building you had Connie’s Country Store and Restaurant on your right and the Garden Center and Green House on the left. By the late 1950’s the State of New Hampshire re-routed Route 102 (Derry Road), just north of the Hills House, to proceed north through parts of Litchfield, then back into Hudson, then forward to Londonderry and Derry. Before this time Route 102 followed the route of what is now Old Derry Road. The construction of this New Derry Highway extended traffic onto much previously undeveloped land in Litchfield and Hudson.
In 1959 Connie and Amadee “Midee” Desmarais purchased property at the corner of Derry and Cutler Roads and went into business. In the early years they had a fruit and vegetable stand and soon expanded to include a variety of products, food, and services. In 1965 fire destroyed the Desmarais home and business. Connie’s was rebuilt as shown in this week’s photo.
The Desmarais family operated Connie’s for over 25 years until 1985 when they considered retirement and sold the business; only to be ‘called’ out of retirement. This occured not just once, but twice!! They finally sold again in 2002.
Still known to some as Connie’s Plaza this site at 297 Derry Road is now home to Rocco’s Pizza, Klemm’s Bakery, Findeisen’s Ice Cream, Second Look Consignment, Rhino Tax preparer, and Moonlight nails. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.
In 1960 as you traveled eastward from Nashua into Hudson on the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge you would have the impression you had entered a blighted and economically depressed area. The bridge itself was sagging and straining the reinforcements. The load limit was reduced to prolong it’s life. You entered the Hudson business district. The businesses included a large chain grocery supermarket, a combined variety and pharmacy, two small restaurants, several small businesses, a multitude of rental apartments buildings, and a number of single family homes. The area was dominated by wooden structures dating back a century or more. As the future of this area had been in limbo due to the prolonged planning for a new bridge, many of these buildings were in need of repair.
Once the bridge plans became clear the “revitalization” of the bridge area began. Demolition of buildings was done by both private (business) and public enterprises. Some properties were purchased by the state for the bridge itself or for access roads to the bridge. Private enterprises purchased older properties with the vision of a commercial opportunity once the bridge project was completed. This “revitalization” began in 1964 and by 1970 all of the old landmarks had fallen to the bulldozer. With new bridges and access routes the area had the appearance of a growing and progressive community.
One such home which disappeared from the landscape was this victorian home on Ferry Street near the intersection with Baker Street. Yes! Baker Street did flow into Ferry Street near the intersection of Derry and Ferry. This fine Victorian home was built in 1887 by George Gilman Andrews on land he had previousiy purchased from Kimball Webster. Our first photo shows the Andrews House from the side. Ferry Street is on the left.
A Hudson native, George Gilman was born tin 1847 to Gilman and Sophia J. (Senter) Andrews . Their family homestead was located at what is now 53 Old Derry Road. George and Anabel Follansbee of Manchester were married in 1870. They had one daughter, Maude, born 1871. George was one of Hudson’s more prominent businessmen; postmaster, merchant, former town clerk, selectman, and representative. He succeeded Nathan Webster in the operation of his store in Post Office Square.
On Sunday afternoon September 7, 1903 George and Anabel were passengers on an electric car (trolley) making a return trip from Canobie Lake to Hudson. Perhaps they had taken a Sunday afternoon excursion to the park. Their westbound car crashed with another car coming from Nashua. As a result of the serious accident George was killed. His wife, Anabel, who was seated adjacent to him in the car, was seriously injured and was transported to the Lowell Hospital. She was in dangerous condition but within 24 hours showed sign of improvement. After a long recovery she ultimately regained health to be comfortable but was never entirely well again. With our second photo Anabel (Mrs George) Andrews is greeting guests in her dining room.
Anabel and her daughter Maude continued to live in this home following the accident. Mrs. Andrews passed in 1930 at the age of 81; a well known and respected resident of Hudson. Her daughter, Maude continued to live at this address until she passed in 1963 at the age of 92. Despite her advanced years Maude took a keen interest in town affairs. She had served as librarian early on when the library was located in the Baker Block on Central Street.
At some point prior to 1948 the Andrews home and attached barn on Ferry Street was converted to a multi-family. In 1948 Maude sold the property to Hudson resident Winthrop Hannaford. This sale took place subject to the following; Maude had the option to lease the ell (her living quarters) for $50 per month for the duration of her natural life. Also, there could be no alterations or additions to the building except to the foundations. Garages could be erected in the read for use by occupants of the building.
In 1955, eight years after Maude’s passing, the property was sold to Oswald H and Adrienne H. Boilard and in 1967 it was transferred to Gerald and Patricia Boilard. By June 1970 the property was sold to the Humble Oil Company. In September of that year the house was demolished to make room for a new three-bay service station to by operated by Carl Roberts and known as Carl’s Esso. A photo of this demolishion appeared in the Hudson News, September 30, 1970.
Many of us remember Carl’s Esso with the tiger mascot perched on the building roof. It is now the site of the Gulf station. Photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.
Good food at a reasonable price and entertainment!! That was the marketing plan Fred and Annimae Goodwin used for their popular restaurant on Derry Road.
By 1931 Fred T. Goodwin and his wife Annimae had moved to Hudson; and by May of that year Fred , a well known amateur actor, opened a place of business on Derry Road. This was located at what was then the Abbott property and directly across from Saint Patrick’ s Cemetery. He specialized in Ipswich fried clams which he obtained fresh from the flats. Fred. and Annimae had the idea that if they served a good meal at a reasonable price, people would come. And they did! After the first week there were reports that business was so great, many were turned away, and more equipment was quickly added. By 1935 free entertainment to the clam emporium was added in order to attract even more people.
Thanks to the Goodwin/Marshall family we have these early photos of the stand. The first, C1938, shows the cars packed into the lot and along Derry Road. You see the band stand for entertainment on the left and the clam stand on the right. The cars to the right, opposite the stand, are backed up against the stone wall of Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in order to enjoy the entertainment. The second photo of about the same time shows a close-up of the front of the stand. Notice the prices!!
Fred was also very active in local theater and politics; serving as selectman and in the state legislature. His approach to the fried clam business gave him great notoriety as people came from all over to the stand. Over the years the front of the stand did not change except for addition of an ell on the right side which served as a soda and ice cream fountain. Also by the 1950’s traffic on Derry Road was such that parking was not allowed in front of the stand.
Fred, Annimae, and later their family operated the stand for over 20 years. After Fred passed in 1952 Annimae ran the stand with her family. Annimae (Grammy) worked the kitchen, Francis (Bud) worked the grill and fryers, Elsie Marshall was the cashier. Fred, Jr had his own business in Nashua and would come to the stand when he could. He routinely balanced the cash and made nightly deposits.
By the late 1950’s into the early 60’s Fred III (Butch) oversaw much of the operation of the stand. The stand employed about 15 people; some of these were high schoolers working a summer job to save for college expenses. In 1961 the stand had a bank of 11 fryers (perhaps the largest in New England), a long mixing bench where all fried foods were prepared, a chef table for preparing salads, lobster, chicken, coleslaw, and tartar sauce.
By the mid 1960’s business slowed and ownership passed from the Goodwin family and soon after closed. By 1969 this property and adjacent acreage was sold by the Abbott family to Phil Lamoy for the 20th Century Shopping Center.
This week we explore the family neighborhood on Central Street in Hudson Center known as “Parker Row”. This includes the even numbers (north side) of Central Street from 194 to 208 plus one site on the south side, that of 203 Central, the location of Benson’s Bakery. Referred to as “Parker Row”; but, the more I learn about the families who lived here I realize there were as many Smith’s as there were Parkers! Let me share some of what I learned!
In 1890 there was one Smith family and one Parker family living in the neighborhood and all of the subsequent Smiths and Parkers who resided here through the years were descended from these families. In fact, at one point the families intermarried!
The “root “Smith family was that of Isaac Newton and Roxanna (Butler) Smith. Isaac was a Hudson native, born in 1841. His wife Roxanna was born 1842 in Pelham. Their family consisted of three sons; Herbert Newton (B:1864), Arthur Winslow (B:1869) and Perley Butler (B:1871). In 1890 their family of five was living at what is now 194 Central Street. Isaac Newton was a carpenter and a builder; a trade that each of their three sons also adopted! History tells us that Isaac Newton was contracted by the Methodist Church to erect their parsonage at the corner of Baker and Highland Street. He was also the builder of the Baptist Church parsonage when it was located on Greeley Street. All three of their sons and two of their grandsons remained in or returned to this neighborhood to establish homes of their own.
The “root” Parker family was that of Charles Clarence and Lydia Low (Batchelder) Parker. Charles was born 1852 in Warren, NH. His wife Lydia was a Hudson native born 1852. Ttheir family consisted of three sons and one daughter: Clarence Charles (B:1874), Lydia Jane (B:1877), George Henry (B:1879), and Ernest Josiah (B:1883) all native to Hudson. In 1890 this family of five was living at what is now 200 Central Street. Charles had moved from Warner to Nashua to attend school. He later established a bookstore and publishing business in Nashua and purchased his home on Central Street. Of their sons, Clarence became a minister and relocated to various towns depending on where he was serving. Ernest passed away during his teen years. Their daughter Lillie married Herbert Newton Smith in 1906 and they built their home adjacent that of her parents. at what is now 204 Central. Likewise George, a builder by occupation, remained and built his home next to that of his sister.
About this time Mrs. Nancy Merrill, widow of Joseph Merrill, was living west of the Parker home and adjacent to the brook which now bears her name, Merrill Brook. After her passing a part of her estate, including her homestead, was purchased by the Parkers. Here is a brief history of each home as we see them today, beginning with 194 Central and moving west.
We are not certain when the house at 194 Central was built but we do know that Isaac Newton Smith lived there in 1870 and likely before. By 1906 his oldest son, Herbert Newton, and Lillie Parker married and moved into their new home at 204 Central. About the same time his youngest son, Perley, built his home at 196 Central on a piece of land from his father. 194 Central then became the family home for Arthur Winslow and May Louise (Snow) Smith and their sons Byron Butler (B:1910), Gardner Isaac (B:1912), Eliot (B:1915), and Edward (B:1918). Arthur passed in 1926. May married a second time and continued to raise her family in this home. Byron Butler and Gardner Isaac remained in the neighborhood; Eliot and Edward moved elsewhere. By 1936 this house was owned by Luther and Victoria Knights; by the mid 1940’s it was owned by the Pelletier Family. 194 Central is currently a multi-family owned by Floyd Gorveatt.
The house at 196 Central was the family home for Perley Butler and Elizabeth (Robbins) Smith and family of 2 daughters and two sons. Their oldest daughter, Ruth Elizabeth (B:1895) married Everett Hamblett and they lived and worked in Hudson Center. Their youngest daughter, Eva Roxanna (B:1897) married Albert Eaton. Their sons were Orin Newton (B:1899) and Neal Onslow (B:1901); each of whom move from the neighborhood. Perley lived here until a short while before he passed in 1961. By 1962 Gardner Butler and Ruth Athalie (Henry) Smith purchased the home from his estate. Prior to this time they were living at 208 Central; they sold the house at 208 and moved into his uncle’s home at 196 with their family. Ruth Athalie passed in 1977 and Garnder in 1985 at which time the house was sold by his estate to Ronald and Nancy Graven.
The next house, 200 Central, was the family home of Charles Parker and later more recently his granddaughters Florence and Ernestine. The Parker family built a home (202 Central) on the hill in back and overlooking Central Street. This was a rental home until 1946 when it was sold to Byron Butler and Maude (Chamberlain) Smith. This was their home until 1953 when they moved down the hill and purchased the 203 Central Street site. They live the remainder of their married live here. Byron passed in 1961 and Maude in 1971. The original house has been expanded and the site converted to a commercial complex. Benson’s Bakery is located in that section which was the home of Mr and Mrs Smith.
Adjacent to the Parker homestead was the home of Herbert Newton and Lillie (Parker) Smith at 204 Central. Our first photo shows their home circa 1910. They had one son, Newton Parker (B:1907). Newton was educated in Hudson schools and then Nashua High. Following high school he had plans to attend college; but, unfortunately he was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a passenger in a side car when the cycle left the highway and crashed. Herbert and Lydia Smith continued to reside at 204 Central. They had no further children of their own but a niece, Mildred Parker, came to live with them until her marriage to Joseph Boulanger. Following the passing of Herbert Newton in 1928 Lydia remained on Central Street. She was active as a Christian Science Practitioner until just before her passing in 1964. Our first photo shows their home at 204 Central Street soon after it was built. It has since been the home to Harold and Vivian Moore and until lately home to the family of Edward Curan. The house remains to this day.
The house at 208 Central, see second photo, was likely built by George H. Parker about the time of his marriage to Edith Florence Snow in 1908. Their family consisted of Claudia (B:1910) and George Henry, Jr (B:1912). Claudia married Richard Boucher and they lived in Hudson Center. George , Jr moved to northern NH, near Franconia, and went into business and raised a family there. By 1944 this was home to Gardner Butler and Ruth Athalie Smith and their family of Janet Athalie, Gordon Henry, and Evelyn. In 1963 the Smith’s sold the property to George and Mary Johnson and moved into the former home of his uncle Perley. The Johnson’s refurbished the building and established Hudson Animal Hospital. That business remains to this day although the ownership of the property has changed through the years.
Given this neighborhood history perhaps we should revise history and call this “Smith-Parker” Row. Photos are the courtesy of June Parker.
This week our Revisit series will shift to ‘Places to Eat In Hudson’; beginning with those on Derry Road beginning at the bridge area and working northward. Pizza Hut at 62 Derry Road is the first we come to and the most recent to close it’s doors to business.
For the past few years we have seen changes take place from 62 -68 Derry Road. First with the conversion of the long time idle property of the former Hogan’s Garden Center into the Dollar Tree and O’Reilly Auto Part stores; now with the Pizza Hut property, 62 Derry Road, on the market more changes are in the works.
60 years ago, in 1961, this section of Derry Rad consisted of the home of Roy and Flora L. Griffin at 62 Derry plus undeveloped land at 64 – 68. The Griffins operated Banner Photo of Nashua. Roy passed about 1966 and Flora continued as President and Treasurer of Banner Photo and retained her residence in Hudson.
The first change toward development came about 1959 with the opening of Hogan’s Garden Center and Flower Shoppe at 68 Derry Road. Hogan’s was a popular place for trees, shrubs, garden supplied, and flowers. They remained in business until the early 1980’s. From that time until a few years ago the land and buildings remained idle; including the large green house used by both the garden center and flower shoppe.
In 1978 the site of the Griffin home was purchased by Pizza Hut of America and by 1981 the Pizza Hut Restaurant in Hudson was in operation. Although changes did occur in the corporate ownership and structure of Pizza Hut this restaurant remained in business some 35 years; closing for business within the last year. The property is for sale, so ‘stay tuned’ for further change.
About the same time, 1981, and adjacent to Pizza Hut the Derry Road Car Wash opened for business. Although operating under different names a car wash remains at this location to the present day,
More recently, in 2014, the site of Hogan’s was sold for new development. The first to emerge was the new, stand alone, Dollar Tree in 2015. That was followed soon thereafter by O’Reiley Auto Body in 2016.
As we pull back the layers of time we see the time line of development. Our photo for this week is an aerial of 62 and 64 Derry Road soon after 1981. We see Pizza Hut and Derry Road Car Wash. To the right, and off the photo, was Hogan’s Garden Center and Flower Shoppe. Upon the sale and re-use of the pizza Hut facility we will have the opportunity to watch further changes.
The Cumming Brothers began their business in 1882 as a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, later expanding to the manufacture of carriages. With the advent of the auto they transitioned to building truck bodies. This building at what is now 15 Central Street was built about 1930 as a garage and repair shop for their business. In 1950, after the business closed, it was sold to C&R furniture of Nashua and used by them for a warehouse for several years. In 2017, after remaining idle for some time, this 21/2 story wood frame building was purchased by Peter DeSalvo and has been remodeled both inside and out to current building codes. This building will soon be used for the headquarters for the Peter DeSalvo Construction Company. Lets explore the history surrounding this location.
The Cummings Brothers was not the first business on this site nor was it the first blacksmith in Hudson Village near the bridge. About 1842 James Carnes moved to Hudson from Henniker, NH and built his home at the corner of Main Street (now Ferry Street) and Lowell Road (now Central Street) using materials from the old South Meeting house which was located near Blodgett Cemetery on Lowell Road. Using additional materials from the old meeting house he built a store building on the opposite side of Central Street and uphill from his home. He operated a grocery store for some years with little success. About 1851 he closed the grocery and immediately began to manufacture wheelbarrows; later he changed the business to a wheelwright. Unfortunately, by 1859 this building with all contents and tools was destroyed by fire. Mr. Carnes rebuilt re-established the wheelwright business.
In 1882, Willis P. Cummings purchased the shop, tools, and business from James Carnes. He and his younger brother Charles E. became partners in the Cumming Brothers. This was the beginning of a business which expanded and changed with the times until sometime after 1946.
Willis was 32 years of age when he partnered with his 19 year old brother in 1882. He was born 1850 in Lowell, MA the oldest son and child of Hiram and Abby (Clark) Cummings. He came to Hudson at the age of 6 with his parents. He was educated in public schools of Lowell, Hudson, and later at the Nashua Literary Institute.
In 1869, when he was nearly 20 years of age and soon after the completion of the railroad to the Pacific Coast, he went to California to assist his uncle with the supervision of his herd of 10,000 sheep! Willis remained for 2 years and then returned home; after which he established a carpenter and building business at North Chelmsford, MA. In 1873 he married Hattie D. Lawrence, daughter of Hartwell and Sarah (Blood). Their daughter Bertha Ella was born 1875. He moved his family to Hudson in 1876. Meanwhile his uncle in California passed away. At the request of the executor he returned to California in 1877 to assist with settlement of the estate. He returned to Hudson after 3 months.
In 1885 his wife Hattie passed and he married a second time in 1885 to Francis M. Clement. Willis continued with his building business until September 1880 when he established a wheelwright and carriage business near the bridge in Hudson. Then in 1881 he and his younger brother Charles became partners and purchased the wheelwright shop, tools, and lot from James Carnes.
From 1881 until the mid 1940’s the Cumming Brothers operated in Hudson Village; first as a blacksmith and wheelwright and expanding to a carriage manufacturer. When the automobile became of age the business transitioned to the manufacture of truck bodies. Willis P. passed in June 1939 at which time he was the holder of the gold headed Boston Post Cane as the oldest male resident of Hudson. He was particularly proud of this as his father Hiram, some years earlier also held the cane. Following his passing his daughter Bertha (Cummings) Nokes became active along with her uncle, Charles, in the management of the business. Poor health forced Charles to retire from the business in the early 1940’s. By 1948 the Cumming Brothers was no longer in business and in December 1950 the land and buildings of 15 Central was sold to C&R furniture of Nashua. Charles passed in February 1953
C&R Furniture was a three generation, family owned business of the Hebert family with a retail store on Elm Street in Nahsua. They used this building as a warehouse. In 1954 the Hudson Community Church had plans to build a parish house on property they owned between their present building and the driveway to the C&R warehouse. C&R sold a triangular piece of land of about 980 square feet which enabled them to erect the parish house. C&R retained to right to pass over by foot or vehicle, any portion of this piece not used by the church.
Our first photo of the warehouse was taken about 1975.. The building could be entered from the driveway into the first floor. It was also possible to enter the building via a bridge from the high point of the driveway into the second floor.
In March 2017, after a number of years of no-use, the old C&R warehouse was sold by the Herbert family to Peter Desalvo. Since that time the building and driveway have undergone extensive modifications to meet current building codes. Basement walls were restored, original beams were retained but structurally enhanced. The interior has been reconfigured to include a reception area, conference room, office space, and a break room for the employees. The exterior has a new roof, dormers, windows, and siding; all with low maintenance in mind.
In recognition of his this project to retrofit and re-purpose this facility of the past, Peter DeSalvo was the recipient of the Third Annual Hudson Historical Society Community and Cultural Service Award. This award was presented to Peter during the Annual Charity Auction to benefit the Historical Society held at the Hills House grounds this past Sunday June 24. Peter and his workmen can be justly proud of the transformation to this building. Desalvo Construction recently passed their 10th anniversary. Peter and his young family reside in Hudson. Our second photo, complements of Zach Piotrowicz (ZMP Photography) shows the 15 Central Street property soon to be home to Peter Desalvo Construction.
The steam railroad crossed the Merrimack River into Hudson just south of what is now Veterans Memorial Bridge as you cross from Nashua into Hudson. It then made a path easterly and slightly north through Hudson. The tracks crossed Lowell Road at Central Street and then on to Hudson Center and West Windham. The one railroad station in town was at Hudson Center just off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall). In this 1896 photo we are standing on the tracks near the station looking west along the tracks and the Greeley Street crossing. The corner of the station house can just be seen in the right of the photo. Greeley Street is a narrow dirt road and the area on the opposite side of Greeley appears as a wooded area or field. Today there are few reminders of the railroad bed. The area on the left is now the parking lot of the Baptist Church and the area on the right is the Greeley Street playground. Photo from the Society collection and courtesy of Len Lathrop.