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Further Destruction of Ferry Street

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Memorial Day Parade at Hudson’s Business Center C 1945

In March 1970 the State of NH identified land frontage and specific properties to be taken for bridge access  along Ferry Street.  Many residents remember those times and the major impact the demolition and reconstruction had on Ferry Street.  We have already discussed the destruction of the 20th Century complex and that of the White Cross Superstore on the opposite (south) side of Ferry Street at Post Office Square.  Today we look at  the impact on the north side of Ferry Street up to Library Street.  Three properties from the intersection of  Ferry and Webster Streets to Carl’s Esso were taken by the state:  the Morey Building, a Dry Cleaning shop, and Chick n’ Chips.  Also frontage was taken from the Esso station to Library Street.  The intersection of Baker Street onto Ferry Street was eliminated and Baker became a  dead street.  Frontage, including 26 shade trees, was removed from Library Park.  Initially it was thought that the old ‘trolley stop’ would also be demolished; but, in the final planning it was saved.
The Morey Building was an important part of the business center of Hudson about 1923 when it became the site of the Hudson Post Office.  This  building was also the initial location of the 20th Century Store, a shoe repair shop, and a second hand shop.  It was remodeled in 1948 into a 2 storey brick veneer building.  The Post Office occupied 1/2 of the first floor.  The rest of the first floor was rented to Trombley’s shoe repair.  The second floor provided residential apartments.  The Post Office remained at this location until 1959 when town growth required expansion of office space and parking.  A new Post Office was built at 15 Derry Street.
In April 1926 Ray House contracted with Osgood Construction Company of Nashua to build a 2 stall garage type building on Ferry Street; he then leased space, including office space, to the town of Hudson for a Fire/Police Station. This served as our fire station until after WWII when it was expanded to a 4 stall station.  In addition to the Police/Fire station this was home to Ferry Street Garage, Chevy Sales and Service, and Hudson Cab. As town growth continued plans were made to build a town owned station on town land.  The Central Fire Station (now Leonard Smith Station) was completed about 1953.
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Chicken ‘n’ Chips on Ferry Street C 1970

Once the Post Office, Fire and Police Departments removed from the area these building were used for various commercial purposes and residential apartments until their demolition in 1970. The Nashua Trust Bank used space in the Morey building for a temporary Hudson Office in 1964.  At time these buildings were home to Chicken ‘n Chips, a cleaning establishment, a donut shop, and residential apartments.
Driving on Ferry Street today heading toward the bridge into Nashua, there is no evidence of these buildings; in fact one wonders how there was even enough room for this complex to exist!  The only possible reminder of the old roadway is the dead end of Baker Street.
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Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

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Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

We continue to revisit places to eat in Hudson through the years.  This week we travel to Hudson Center for a fried clam dinner followed by ice cream and a round of miniature golf for desert!!
In the late 1940’s traffic along the Route 111 corridor known as Central Street in Hudson Center was on the increase.  This was the result of the popularity of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm as well as the convenience of automobile travel for business and pleasure.  Businesses were beginning to open up or relocate  to  this section of the highway.    One of these that holds a permanent place in our memories is “The Meadows”, a seafood restaurant.
In September 1947 John Wollen, founder and long time owner of The Meadows,  purchased about 20 acres on the east side of Central Street from Perley B. and Clara E. Smith.  The Smith’s lived in the area and Perley operated a Cider Mill just a few lots south towards Belknap Road.  By the spring and summer of 1949 The Meadows opened for business and soon became a popular eating place for the locals as well as the tourists visiting Benson’s.  Their menu included fried clams, haddock, scallops, and sandwiches along with onion rings, french fries, and cold slaw.  A soda fountain was added for drinks and ice cream based deserts.  In 1962  a miniature golf course and a shuffle board court were added just north of the restaurant and near the meadow around Merrill Brook.
John Wollen was born in Hudson and educated in Nashua Schools.  He was the founder and owner of Meadows until a short time prior to his passing in November 1985.  He also operated the McNulty and Foley catering and function hall when it was located on Amherst Street in Nashua.
The Meadows was destroyed by fire on November 23,1992  after business was closed for the day.  A neighbor across Central Street noticed the flames and called the fire department.  The fire was fought by the Hudson department with assistance from Londonderry, Windham, Nashua, and Litchfield.  At the time the building was owned by Arthur  Bursey of Manchester and the restaurant operated by George Apostolopoulas of Wilmington, MA.  The Meadows did not re-open following the fire.
Many Hudson residents remember Berk and Son Farm Stand and Scott’s  Wood craft which operated on the northern end of The Meadows parking lot adjacent to Merrill Brook.  Little remains of The Meadows except our own memories of the delicious seafood and the summer evenings playing miniature golf.  The 20 plus acres with 500 feet of frontage onto Central Street which Mr Wollen purchased in 1947 has been idle for many years and is on the commercial real estate market.
Today’s photo of “The Meadows” was taken about 1975 at the time of the preparation of “The Town In Transition” an update to Hudson’s History.

White Cross Store Complex

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Roland’s White Cross Early

The plan to address the heavy traffic and congestion which had developed on the Taylor Falls Bridge between Hudson and Nashua by the early 1960’s was to have two bridges with one way traffic on each. A new bridge, The Veterans Memorial Bridge, north of the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge would handle west bound traffic from Hudson to Nashua. The existing concrete bridge would handle the east bound traffic from Nashua to Hudson. By July 1969 the bid process was completed and construction had began. The Veterans Memorial Bridge was dedicated and opened for traffic by September 1970.

During the five plus years before the opening of The Veterans Memorial Bridge, traffic increased further to the point that this became one of the busiest, if not the heaviest traveled bridge in the state. As early as March 1969 the search was on for funding to replace the ailing concrete bridge and in January 1970 the state announced it would be necessary to close the concrete bridge permanently once the new bridge was completed. The new bridge would be used for two-way traffic until plans were completed for a replacement to the Taylor Falls concrete bridge. There was competition for funding as plans were also being made to build the southern bridge connecting route 3A (Lowell Road) with route 3 in Nashua as part of the circumferential highway plans.

Even though the initial plan called for two bridges with one way traffic on each the design of the access roads were adaptable so that the new bridge could handle traffic in both directions should it become necessary; which it did! By March 1970 the state identified additional properties in both Hudson and the Nashua which were required for bridge access. On the Hudson side this included properties on Chase and Central Streets as well as on both sides of Ferry Street; including some frontage and the removal of trees on Library Park. The future of the old trolley stop was even in question!! The traffic pattern included the extension of Chase Street, which previously ended at School Street, through to Ferry Street. This week we will see the impact on the east side of Ferry Street and on the complex known as The White Cross Super Store.

We have two photos of the White Cross Store to share with you; one taken during the early years of the business and the second in 1968 during the last years of the business just prior to the state announcing that the building would be razed in order to accommodate access to and from the bridge(s).

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White Cross Super Store as seen from Webster Street 1968

The earliest reference to Roland’s White Cross appears in the 1948 Hudson Directory. According to an earlier directory Roland it is possible that Roland assumed operation of an earlier store on this site, Friendly Market with Raymond L. Jolley as Propietor. The store building was an existing Martin house which was renovated with a store front and signage. Apartments were available on the second floor.

By the early 1960’s Roland Levesque had partnered with Leo Noel and the business complex enlarged to include Hudson Pharmacy, Sherburne’s Restaurant, and Hudson Flower Shop. Leo Noel’s daughter was one of the early pharmacists and later Roland’s son, Richard was the pharmacist. Richard was the pharmacist when the business was closed. He later served as pharmacist at CVS on Derry Road. Robert Lynch, a Hudson resident and florist, opened his shop in the White Cross Super Store.

The state announced plans to purchase this complex in October 1970 and soon thereafter the building was razed. The 1970 Hudson Directory listed no buildings from the bridge to Campbell Avenue. The White Cross Super Store Complex was gone. Residents living in apartments were relocated elsewhere in town or to neighboring communities. The Pharmacy did relocate to Derry Road 20th Century Shopping Center.

The bid process for the Taylor Falls replacement bridge was completed by December 1972; construction began with a target completion date of November 1974. The Taylor Falls bridge replacement was in operation by January 1975. Today, as you travel from Nashua into Hudson you are greeted by the welcome to Hudson signage and plantings. There are few if any reminders of the White Cross Store.

Places to Eat Lowell Road … Blue Whale and now T-Bones!!

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Hudson Shopping Center C1977

This site is known for it’s popular restaurants … Gio’s Pizza, Blue Whale, and now T-Bones.

By the mid 1960’s business at the Hudson Shopping Center and their main store, The Hudson Super Market, was expanding and the Provencal Family would soon be expanding yet another time. In early 1968 the State of New Hampshire was searching for a site in Hudson for a State Liquor Store and this shopping center was soon selected as the site. By July of that year the ground breaking ceremony was held. Construction of a multi-unit building was started immediately and completed in November. By the first week in December what was slated as the most modern self service facility operated by the state was opened at the corner of Birch Street and Lowell Road and part of the Hudson Shopping Center. Our first photo shows the building as it appeared In 1977. At that time the building was the site of Gio’s Pizza on the Birch Street side with Giovanni’s Blue Whale Restaurant, Gosselin’s Pharmacy, and the NH State Liquor Store facing Lowell Road.

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TBones Plaza 2006

Today this is known as T-Bones Plaza. T-Bones moved into Hudson in 1991 and soon became a popular place for lunch and/or dinner. In 2006, when our second photo was taken, this was the location of T-Bones as well as Postal Center, Supercuts, Subway, a dance academy, tanning spa, and a dry cleaners. Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection.

The 20th Century Building

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20th Century Building C 1965

The construction of the Veterans Memorial bridge in the late 1960’s and the Taylor Falls Replacement bridge in the early 1970’s completely altered the landscape of and virtually ‘wiped out’ what many Hudson residents knew of as the business center of Hudson. This week we look at how this construction affected one of Hudson’s landmarks, the 20th Century Store.

The 20th Century Building “at the bridge” on the corner of Ferry and Webster Streets dated to 1877. Mr. Elisha Z. Martin purchased the property (land and building) about 1876. Shortly after that the building was destroyed by fire and he rebuilt it the following year. After he passed in 1879, Mrs Martin married a Mr Sherman from Connecticut. Together they continued to make changes and improvements to the building.This site has a long history of being occupied by a grocery or general store. At the time of the fire in 1876 it was the location of Nathan Webster’s store, and following reconstruction his business returned and continued until about 1892. George Andrews succeeded Mr. Webster and continued the business until his death in 1903. Mr Elijah Reed ran the business for about 1 year after which Mr Charles Daniels in partnership with Charles B. Gilbert took it over and continued until about 1925.

Changes occurred through the years. By 1928 it was owned by Mrs. Jennie Connell and known as the Connell Block. The left side was washed away during the 1936 flood. The livery and barn were removed from the right side and remodeled into a grocery store. As early as 1926 the right side of the Connell Block was home to Sal’s Cash Market; with Harry Salvail as proprietor. By 1940 this was the location of the 20th Century Store and building which was owned by Phil Lamoy of Nashua.

The problem of adequate and safe travel over the Merrimack River between Hudson and Nashua came to a head in 1960. Hudson’s population was approaching 6,000 and expected to be near 11,000 by 1970! A comparable increase in Nashua’s growth was also expected. The State of New Hampshire commissioned the consulting engineering firm of Bruce Campbell of Boston to study the already heavy traffic situation and make recommendations. The resulting report, published at the end of 1960, kicked off a controversy which would span more than 10 years. This report made two recommendations. The first that a new, two lane bridge be built about 350 feet north of the Taylor Falls Bridge. This bridge would be used for traffic traveling westward into Nashua. The concrete Taylor Falls bridge would be retained for eastward bound traffic from Nashua. The second recommendation was that in the 1975-1980 time frame a circumferential belt highway be built be built to further ease the flow of traffic!!

This report stimulated much discussion between the two communities and the state. We could not agree on where to place the new bridge and the corresponding access roads. The initial plan was rejected. Another idea was a new span to the south, crossing the river about where the B+M bridge abutments exist. A third was to place the new bridge just north of the Taylor Falls bridge with traffic ovals on each side of the bridge for access/egress. 1966 became the year of compromise.

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State Map of Proposed Bridge 1967

In March 1967 voters of Hudson agreed on a plan. This was followed by agreement by the Board of Aldermen in Nashua. By October 1967 the State issued this map showing the proposed bridge and approaches at Taylor’s Falls between Nashua and Hudson as shown. Access to the proposed bridge would go through the 20th Century Building and eliminate part of Webster Street. This plan did include a rotary on the Hudson side; which was later eliminated with plans to extend Chase Street from School Street to Ferry. With all of these discussions taking so long to resolve; traffic flow on the existing concrete bridge was increasing and the bridge was deteriorating.

In September 1968 it became necessary to make repairs to the concrete bridge to shore it up and prolong it’s life. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic. Foot traffic (and bicycle) were permitted. Vehicle traffic was detoured to the bridge at Tyngsborough or Manchester to the north. Residents on both sides of the river would team up with neighbors and have two cars; one on each side of the bridge.

In the spring of 1969 the state relocation assistant expressed concern over the re-location of some 37 Hudson falmilies resulting from bridge construction. Many of these were families of 1 or 2 people living in apartments in the 20th Century Complex. The average rent paid by these families for a three room apartment was $16 per week. Comparable housing for a comparable amount of money did not exist in Hudson. The closest they could get for decent and safe conditions were going for $25 per week; over a 50% increase. The zoning ordinances of Hudson encouraged the construction of better homes without considering the needs of low cost housing.

By June 1969 the state offered $158,000 for the 20th building including the 20th century market. $38,000 for the purchase of a building on Webster Street, adjacent to the 20th Century which was used as a laundromat.

Construction was awarded to Cianchette Brothers of Maine and work on the new bridge began in July 1969 with forms for the first pier on the Nashua side by the construction The bridge was slated for completion September 1970. Meanwhile the Taylor Falls bridge to the south continues to be the work horse for traffic between the two communities.

In October 1969 we would see the end of the 20th Century store at the bridge in Hudson. On October 8 there was the ‘Sale of the Century”; designed to empty the store of all items as the building was scheduled for demolision within a few days. A new store at the 20th Century Shopping Center (now 102 Plaza) on the Derry Road was being readied. The “Welcome to Hudson, NH” sign which sat atop the building was removed. In less than two weeks the 20th Century building was gone.

September 1970 the Veterans Memorial Bridge opened for two-way traffic. State and local officials were present on September 16 for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mrs. Georgianna Manter, a 99 year old resident of Londonderry was given the honor of cutting the ribbon. She had outlived all previous bridges. She had driven a horse and buggy over the wooden bridge and driven an auto over each of the later bridges. Finally our traffic needs no long depended on the old, crumbling concrete bridge.

Revisit Winn Farm and the Restaurants at 49 Lowell Road

The farm fields of the Frank Winn farm stretched between what is now Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive at Lowell Road. Development included apartment buildings, candlepin bowing lanes, banks, and restaurants. Of particular interest to those familiar with Hudson is the series of restaurants which have existed at 49 Lowell Road. By my count there have been 10 different restaurants at this location since 1964. They are: Winstead, Hayward Farms, Pizza by Giovanni, Straw Hat, Primo’s, Ziggy’s, Stevie P’s, Yaght Club, Charmans, and SOHO. Did I miss any?

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Home of Frank A. and Effie May Winn

This week we visit the homestead of Frank Almon and Effie May (Wyeth) Winn on Lowell Road. Frank moved to Hudson from Pelham with his parents, Franklin A. and Lizzie Winn, about 1883 when he was 8 years old. His family purchased a farm of over 70 acres which stretched from Lowell Road to the river. Across one part of the farm was a large brook which traveled through fields and woods, making it’s course through the rocky gorge to the river. This is where Frank played, grew, and worked with his family. By today’s landmarks, this farm includes most, if not all of , the land between Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive (between 35 and 49 Lowell Road) and extending westward to the river. Between these roads and adjacent to Lowell Road was a large tilled field for growing vegetables for market. The family home with the large attached barn was located at what is now 1 Winn Avenue and faced this field. On December 24, 1958 the barn was destroyed by a spectacular fire. The fire fighters were able to save the house.

As a young man Frank made his way across the United States, but he soon returned to his home here in Hudson. Along with his parents, he tilled the farm fields all his life. In due time he came into possession of the farm. In September 1915 he and Effie May Wyeth were married; and it is here that they raised their family. Frank was a tireless worker with both his hands and his head. He not only knew about agriculture, he also knew about the wider world of business and economics.

Effie May was born in Nashua, May 1886, and educated in Nashua schools and Keene Normal School. Prior to their marriage in 1915, she taught school in Nashua. She later did substitute teaching in Hudson, Pelham, Merrimack, and Nashua. Frank and Effie May raised a family of 3 girls; Lillian Emma (b: about 1918), Effie May (b: about 1921) and Frances (b: about 1923).

Frank passed in September 1935, at the early age of 60; Effie May and her daughters continued to live at the homestead. By the end of 1942 all three daughters were married. Lilliam Emma was married to Walter Schindler; Effie May married Clayton Oban; and Frances Stebbins married Alton Drown. Mrs. Winn, Effie May, was a resident of Hudson most of her 97 years. She passed in 1983 at the home of her daughter Frances (Drown) Hosmer, with whom she had lived for a few years. Many Hudson residents remember Effie May; particularly with her involvement with the Hudson Fortnightly Club for over 50 years.

As time advanced and the land usage changed, the Frank A. Winn farm was developed. At first with the apartments and residential buildings in wooded area and adjacent to the river. Later the farm field between Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive were developed. The earliest development occurred in 1963 with the construction of LNL Bowl at what is now 8 Winn Avenue. Named for the three owners: Earl Libby, Leon Noel, and Adrien Labrie; LNL bowl offered candlepin bowling lanes, a sport unique to New England, The lanes operated until 1978. By 1979 this site became the home of Dessault Engineering Associates. It is now home to Opti-Sciences.

By 1964 construction began for the first of many restaurants to operate at 49 Lowell Road, likely owned by members of the Winn Family. The Winstead Restaurant began operation in 1965. By 1969 this was the site of Hayward Farms Restaurant. Over the succeeding years a number of restaurants were located here. From what I can piece together the list is as follows: 1972 – Pizza by Giovanni; 1980 Straw Hat Restaurant; 1984 Primo’s. Following Primo’s there were Ziggy’s, Stevie P’s, Yaght Club, Charman’s, and presently SOHO.

Construction for Nashua Federal Savings and Loan at 45 Lowell Road began in 1979. A bank has remained at this site; becoming Bank of America and more recently Enterprise Bank.

190 Central Street

190 Central C1958

190 Central Street C1958

This home at 190 Central Street on the corner with Burnham Road was built by the McCoy Brothers, Herman, Elgin, and Daniel, about 1948. Prior to that time the land was a part of the James McCoy Homestead. When James passed in 1915 his home at 192 Central was passed to Herman McCoy. Later, in 1948, Herman transferred a smail lot to a brother, Herbert, and the McCoy brothers built the house.

After The McCoys the first occupant of this home was Mr and Mrs. Joseph Lantagne from Chelmsford, MA in 1949. The Lantagnes sold the home to the next owners, Chester and Gladys Bradlee. Chester worked for the the railroad in the mail car. He and Gladys had three children, Alan, Leslie, and Ellen. There was an older son Jimmy by a previous marriage. By 1954 the Bradlee family moved to Derry Road, where Jimmy passed away. After this the Bradlee family moved to Newburyport, MA. This Derry Road home is no longer there as it was torn down to make way for a commercial building.

In 1954 Robert Allen Sr and his wife Violet (Doherty) Andrew purchased the home on 190 Central from the Bradlee family. At the time of the purchase they were living at 6 Library Street in Hudson and Robert (Bob) was a machinist working at OK Tool in Milford, NH. After moving to Central Street Bob and Violet later establish Robert A. Andrew Real Estate. For this purpose Bob purchased a narrow strip of land from his neighbor Merrill Ives. Merrill Ives was the son-in-law of Herman and Ethel McCoy. This land was used for a second driveway and parking area for the real estate business.

Robert and Violet’s family consisted of a daughter Doris and a son Robert, Jr. Doris was born in January 1927; she married Henry (Hank) Nixon. Hank had a military Career and after leaving the service sold real estate for MacRitchie Realty. Hank passed in 1980 and Doris in 2006; they are buried in the Andrew’s lot in Westview Cemetery. Robert Jr. was born in April 1934; he married Mary S. Graves and the couple celebrated 60 years of marriage. He passed away in Northwood, NH in July 2015.

Violet passed in May 1967. Following her death Bob married Dorothy (Bresnahan) Beland. This couple purchased a home on Griffin Road in Hudson; however Bob did not sell the Central Street home. The couple divorced and Bob returned to his home on Central Street. Bob married Marion Dingle in 1973 and they lived at 190 Central Street until he passed in March 1983. They are buried in the family lot in Westview. Both Violet and Bob were members of the Nashua Board of Realtors.

By will the property passed to Robert Jr. In 1984 it was sold to Richard and Terry Jean. It is presently owned by Paul and Diane Goulet as a two family home with two driveways. The drive for the right side exits onto Central Street; the one for the left exits onto Burnham Road.

190 Central 2017

190 Central 2017

The first photo of 190 Central was taken C 1958 when the real estate office was first established. This photo was taken from the Burnham Road side.The second photo, taken from Central Street, shows us the same building C 2017 as a two family home. Thanks to Carol Flewelling for sharing her Doherty family history and to Don Smith for his research on the families of 190 Central.

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