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Revisit Hudson Center …Town House Hudson Center

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Town House Hudson Center

This Town House was the second building on this site. The first was the North Meeting House used by the Presbyterians as early as 1771; later shared with the Baptists. By 1811 ownership of the land and buildings were conveyed to the Baptist Society. The pews were not involved in the transaction as they were privately owned. After the Baptist Meeting House was built in 1841 this property was transferred to the Town of Hudson.
In 1857 Hudson contracted with William Anderson of Windham to erect this Town House on the site of the Old North Meeting House in Hudson Center. The North Meeting House was deeded to the town by the Baptist Society after The Baptist Church was completed in 1841. Town meetings were held here until the mid 1930’s when there was a desire among the town people to hold meetings at the bridge area. Wattannick Grange held their meetings here from its organization. In 1963 the town authorized the sale of the building to Wattannick Grange. To the right of the Town House is Harvey Lewis’ Coal Grain and Grocery; on the left and rear is the B&M Railroad Depot. Today, now that Hudson and Wattannick Granges have merged, this building is known as Wattannick Hall the home of Hudson Grange No 11. Photo from the Historical Society collection.

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200 Central Street – The Parker House

200 Central c1895

200 Central St C 1895

The house at 200 Central Street in Hudson Center is known to many as the home of Florence Parker, her sister Ernestine, and Ernestine’s son Raymond Parker. They were the oldest daughters of Rev. Clarence Charles and Hattie (Robinson) Parker. As a pastor Rev Parker served in Nottingham, NH, East Hampton, MA, Bolton, CN, and Post Mills, VT. Their mother, Hattie, passed in April 1912 at the age of 42 while they were serving a church in VT. In addition to her husband she was survived by eight children ranging in age from 3 to 15 years. There were 6 daughters (Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, Mildred, Helen, and Alice) and 2 sons (Charles and Lehsten who was also known as Erich. After Hattie passed her eight children returned to Hudson to reside with either their Parker or their Robinson family. Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, and Erich lived with their Parker grandparents, Lydia (Batchelder) and Charles Clarence Parker in this very house. Mildred lived with a neighbor and aunt, Lillian (Parker) Smith. Charles, Helen, and Alice went to live with their Robinson grandparents on Robinson Road.

So, this house was home to Florence and Ernestine from 1912 until they passed. Florence passed in 1977 just short of her 80th birthday; Ernestine in 1990 at the age of 91. Of the other siblings who also lived here Ruby died at the age of 20 and Erich married Almina Bassett and they moved elsewhere in the area.

Professionally Florence was a school teacher in Hudson for more than 40 years, mostly at the Center School on Kimball Hill Road. She received her training from Nashua High School and Keene Normal School. Florence had a natural aptitude for teaching and received many awards and recognitions. The photo shows Florence as she received the Teacher of the Year Award just prior to her retirement.

Florence with award

Florence With Award

Ernestine commuted to Nashua and was employed for many years in the mills in Nashua. As a young adult Ernestine enjoyed visiting with her brother Charlie on the Robinson Farm.  This photo shows Ernestine and Charlie C 1920.

Charlie and Ernestine c1920

Ernestine and Charlie C1920

By the middle 1950’s the Parkers had reconfigured their home to include a gift shop on the front of their house facing Central Street. From this shop they sold some very fine pieces of glassware as well as souvenirs of Benson’s and Hudson. This shop continued to operate into the early 1970’s.

Both sisters had a talent for the arts and crafts. An untold number of scarfs, sweaters, and mittens were distributed to Hudson children that originated from the needles and hands of Florence or Ernestine. Florence caned chair seats, even into her later years with failing eyesight. Ernestine’s specialty, especially in her younger years, was quilting. I have seen some phenomenal original quilt patterns which she has designed and made.

They were both active with the Baptist Church at the Center. Ernestine served for many years as a financial officer and teacher in the Sunday school. Florence served as the church organist for years.

Before opening their home in 1912 to their grandchildren, Charles Clarence Parker and his wife Lydia Lowe Batchelder had already raised their own family. He was born in Warren, NH in May 1852 a son of Rev. Lafayette and Hannah Wyman Parker. He came to Nashua as a student in the Crosby school. For 30 years he worked diligently compiling and publishing a dictionary of the English language. While engaged in this work he had a book store on Main Street in Nashua.

He married Lydia Lowe Batchelder August 1873. She was born in Hudson May 1852 a daughter to Mark Batchelder and Lydia Steele. Charles and Lydia settled and raised their family in Hudson; spending most if not all of their married life in this house on Central Street. Their oldest Clarence Charles was born April 1874. He was 38 years old when his wife Hattie passed leaving him with 8 children between the ages of 3 and 15. Their second child and only daughter, Lillie Jane,was born July 1877. She married a neighbor, Herbert Newton Smith and resided next door to her parents. Their second son George Henry was born October 1879. He married Edith Snow of Hudson. Their third son Ernest Josiah was born August 1883 and died young at the age of 15. The 1895 photo of the house includes the family of Charles C. and Lydia. From left to right we have Ernest with his dog, Clarence in the grass, Charles seated, Lydia, and Lillie Jane.

Members of the Parker family owned this house at 200 Central Street as early as March 1870 when Daniel Marshall, administrator for the estate of Moses Griffin, sold it at public auction to Josephine Parker in order to settle claims against the estate. A few years later it was transferred to Lafayette Washington Parker, the father of Charles Clarence. It is probable that Charles Clarence and Lydia moved into this house soon after their marriage even though some other member of the Parker family owned it. He did take title to the house in January 1887 after the death of his father Lafayette. Charles retained title until his death in November 1936.

By the will of Charles Clarence the title of this house was transferred to Florence and Ernestine. By 1989 Ernestine entered a local nursing home. Her son Raymond acting as her power of attorney sold the property to Randy Turmel and Kevin Slattery. Soon after thereafter fire destroyed the building. The property remains idle and is available for sale.

It is difficult to determine the age of the house. We do know that in 1858 it was the home of Moses and Dolly Griffin. In 1856, Moses Griffin of Somerville, MA purchased an acre parcel with building from Olivia Tenney. No clues who may have lived here. Moses passed at the age of 69 in July 1858 and was survived by his widow, Dolly, a son, George, and three daughters; Francis, Rachel, and Louisa Ann. He was predeceased by a daughter also named Louisa Ann who passed at the age of 2 prior to their move to Hudson. Dolly continued to reside in the home. After her death it was sold at public auction to settle the estate. Moses and Dolly are interned in their family plot in Westview Cemetery near their Hudson home.

 

Baptist Church at Hudson Center

HBC c1905
Back in the days before oil (and later gas) furnaces the church was heated by wood stoves and later by wood furnaces.  Parishioners would volunteer to provide adequate cord wood for  the purpose.  The wood furnace I remember was located in the dirt cellar under the sanctuary and heat rose into the floor of the sanctuary via a large pipe.  We would cluster around this heat vent for extra warmth on cold Sundays. 
The First Baptist Church of Hudson was organized in 1805 at the home of Thomas Senter on at what is now the Old Derry Road near the Londonderry Line.  For the first 37 years services were held in members’ homes or at the North Meeting House located just east of the Town House.  The sanctuary of this church at the corner of Central and Greeley Streets was constructed in 1842.  In 1888 a short alcove was added to house the new organ; then, in 1897 the large vestry was added.  This photo was probably taken at the time of the centennial celebration of the church in 1905.  Over these years the exterior of the building has not changed significantly except  for replacing the original steeple which was completed  in 2007.  To the left of the church we see part of the Greeley/Wentworth home, now the church parsonage.   The stacks of wood seen here are were used to heat the building.  The dirt roadway in front of the church is either Central Street or a short cut from Central Street to Greeley Street.  Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.

1912 Home of George and Hattie Skeels

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57 Ferry Street C 1912

By 1911 the Hudson bridge area had become an attractive and growing community.  The iron bridge connecting the villages of Hudson and Nashua was recently replaced by a  concrete bridge.  This bridge was sturdy and wide enough to accommodate vehicular traffic plus the increased traffic  from the electric street railroad.  Once the street railroad or “trolley” crossed into Hudson the line split to provide service in three directions:  up Central Street to and down Lowell Road to Lakeview and on to Lowell; a second line went up Ferry Street on to Hudson Center and then to Pelham; a third made a sharp turn onto Webster Street and on to Litchfield, Goffstown, and Manchester.
    In addition to the improved roadways and and trolley service a business and shopping area was developing which included the post office, fire and police a new public school named for Kimball Webster.  Just a few years earlier the town received the gift of permanent public library donated by Dr. Alfred K. Hills in memory of his wife Ida Virginia.  Also, across the way from the library was a public park which included a convenient waiting station for the trolley line on Ferry Street.
This was the community which attracted 54 year old George H. and 52 year old Harriett “Hattie” Skeels.  They selected a lot on the corner of Ferry and First Streets from John A. Robinson in November 1911.  Ten months later their new home was completed and they moved in a few weeks later on  October 12, 1912. Our first photo shows Mr and Mrs Skeels on the porch of their new home and their young daugter, Myrtle, at the walkway.  To the right and down the hill is the Hills Memorial Library.  This photo is from a post card of the private collection of Gerry Winslow.
George was born Feb 1868 in St. Lawrence, NY and Harriet Furman was born in 1870.  They were married in 1892 most likely in NY.  By 1900 they were established in the Nashua community.  He was employed as a brakeman for the B&M Railroad and belonged to fraternal orders including Masons, IOOF, and the Brotherhood of Trainmen.  Both George and Harriet were leaders in Christian Endeaver in Nashua.  He often ministered to his fellow employees.  With the convenience of transportation a move to Hudson would be a relatively easy transition for Mr and Mrs. Skeels.
Their life together in the new Hudson home would be short lived.  On November 23, 1917 George passed away due to traumatic shock resulting from a railroad accident.  He died instantly.  Funeral services were from his home in Hudson.  He was laid to  rest in the family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery.  His father, Herman H. Skeels had predeceased him in 1916.  His parents had moved to Nashua about the same time as George and Harriet,  Aside from his widow, Harriet, he was survived by his mother and Little Myrtle.  This is the only mention, other than the young girl in the photo, of Young Myrtle.  He was remembered as a friend of all – an enemy of none.
Harriet continued to reside in her Hudson home and continued her social and christian crusade activities in Nashua.  I have no further information on Myrtle.
In June 1940 Harriett, widow of George Skeels, married Clarence Paige of Manchester.  Following their wedding trip they resided in Manchester.  In July 1942 Harriett Paige sold her Hudson home to Mr and Mrs Carroll Morse.  In June 1948 Harriett (Furman)(Skeels) Paige of Mancheser, a well known former resident of Nashua and Hudson passed.  She was laid to rest with hr first husband George in Woodlawn Cemetery.
From 1948 to the present time, some 70 years, the house at 57 Ferry Street has been home to 12 different owners; including Francis and Florence Fairfield and their family.  Many  remember Francis from service as a window and distribution clerk in our Hudson Post Office and Florence “Ginger” for her hairdressing salon.
57 Ferry 1945

Garage and House at 57 Ferry C 1945

The present owners are Jaqueline Martone and Michael Euliano.  Although they have lived here only a short time they love the house and appreciate the maintence and upkeep by the previous owners.  The second photo taken C1945 is complements of “Jackie” Martone.  It shows the garage which is at the rear of the house and faces First Street.

Revisit To Hudson Center … House at 238 Central Street

This week we revisit the fifth old residence which faced the Hudson Center Common.  This home between the Baptist Church and the old Town Hall has been replaced by an office building operating as Heritage at Hudson.
238 Central

238 Central Street C1976

The house in this photo dates to at least 1850, perhaps earlier.  It stood for many years between the Baptist Church and the Town House at Hudson Center; and over these years was occupied by many families, including:  Robinson, Chase, Greeley, Hamblett, and Biskaduros. This was home to members of the Noah Robinson Family.  Noah was born in Londonderry and at the age of 22 became  one of the 65 charter members of the Hudson Baptist Church in 1805.  After his death the property was purchased by Benjamin Chase in 1864 who in turn sold it to Mahalia Greeley in 1873.  Mahalia was the widow of John Greeley, MD, a holistic doctor, who spent most of his years in Londonderry.  She lived here until her death in 1913.  From 1926 until 1950 it was owned and occupied by Everett and Ruth Hamblett;were  both were in business in Hudson Center.  He operated a ‘filling station’ and garage; and Ruth a gift shop and diner.  This c1976 photo was taken a short while before the original house was taken down  replaced by the current colonial style office building; doing business as Heritage at Hudson.This building appears as the first on Windham Road; in actuality it has retained the old address of 238 Central Street.  Photo from the Historical Society Collection.

Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions

214 Central St 2010 S

214 Central (Formerly Hudson Furniture)

  

Do your memories of Central Street along Route 111 in Hudson Center include Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions operated by Joseph and Ann Gagnon? Shopping for a dining room set, a sofa for your living room, or a comfortable chair for the den? Hudson Furniture offered a display of options with the convenience of local shopping.

Joseph (Joe) Gagnon purchased the Lester Gove residence in May 1969 and was soon operating Hudson Furniture. A few years later, as the adjacent residential property of Berkley Swinertin at 216 Central became available, Ann and Joe Gagnon made that purchase along with a smaller parcel from a local real estate agent. Gagnon then consolidated the three parcels and subdivided into two parcels. The first contained two plus acres and the preexisting buildings; Hudson Furniture and the dwelling from the Swinertin home. This dwelling would soon become Home Fashions. The second parcel was a small lot adjacent to Merrill Brook; over time this retail lot was used for Parent Farm Stand and other sellers.

216 Central St 2010B S

216 Central (Formerly Home Fashions)

 
    Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions operated until the mid 1990’s.   By1998 ownership transferred to the present owner, Justine Mary Holdings, Inc. who operates them as multiple  unit commercial properties.  These units are now home to a variety of businesses including iRoof, Northern Dynamics, Shattuck Rug and Flooring, Daigle Pools, Home Town Butcher, and a Tattoo Parlor.
216 Central C1955

216 Central C1955

    Looking into the history of this site we find that in 1858 there were two significant land owners on this part of Central Street.  Joseph Merrill, a farmer,  and his wife Nancy (Baldwin) Merrill lived adjacent to the brook which now has his name, Merrill Brook.  Joseph passed in June 1872 and his widow, Nancy resided on the homestead until she passed in 1897 at the age of 87.
     The second landowner, M. Griffin, had a homestead west of the Joseph Merrill home.  The Griffin home was located on what is now 200 Central Street (currently a vacant lot) .  By the early 1870’s  Charles C. Parker, a  bookseller and publisher from Nashua, purchased the Griffin homestead. Charles and his wife Lydia (Batchelder)  Parker moved to Hudson center where they raised their family of 3 sons (Clarence Charles, George Henry, and Ernest) and 1 daughter (Lydia).  By 1897 Charles Parker also purchased the Merrill homestead from the estate of Nancy Merrill.  The Merrill home remained in the Parker family until July 1958; passing from Charles C. to his granddaughters, Florence and Ernestine about 1945. The home was used as a rental unit until about 1955.  The family of Otis and Julia Barr resided there for some years up to 1955.  Julia is remembered today for her hair dressing salon operated in the ell of this home.  In 1955 the home was transferred  to  Raymond Parker, Ernestine’s son, at the time of his marriage to June (Brickett) Parker. At the time Ray was recently discharged from the Army and was working for a car dealership in Nashua.  He was spending spare time remodeling, painting, and wallpapering his future home. Ray and June lived here for the first three years of their married life  before moving to another house in Hudson as their first child Kathy was to be born in February 1958.    From July 1958 until  consolidation by  Joe Gagnon  this parcel was home to and owned by a number of families:  Halthwaite/Stone, McInnis/Sullivan, and Swinerton.
As stated, the Lester Gove residence was purchased by Joe Gagnon and morphed into Hudson Furnatire about 1969.  Mr. Gove and his family had lived there since the early 1940’s; purchasing the home from George H. Parker, Jr a grandson of Charles C. Parker.  This home had been known as the Woods House prior to purchase by Lester Gove.
As we stand across Central Street today and look at the buildings on 216-214  and lean back to get a good look at the old roof line behind the commercial facade, we do see a reminder of the previous residences and history along this section of Central Street.  The 1955 photograph is courtesy of June (Mrs. Raymond) Parker and her daughter, Kathy.  The 2010 photo were taken by the author.

 

Home of Reuben Greeley now the Parsonage of Baptist Church

 

 

As we continue to revisit the homes around the Hudson Center Common we come to the  home of  Reuben Greeley.  One of the more influential  families in Nottingham West (now Hudson) was that of Moses Greeley.  Reuben  (born 1794) was the oldest son of Moses  and his second wife Mary Derby.

Parsonage c1980 S

Baptist Parsonage C1980

Historians date this house to about 1790 when it, and much of Hudson Center,  was a part of the farm of Henry Hale. This became the home of Reuben Greeley about the time of his marriage to Joanna Merrill in 1817.  From that time  until 1962 this home was occupied by Reuben or a member of his family.  After Reuben’s death in 1863 his son Daniel continued to live here with his wife, Joanna, and daughter Edwina.  Edwina married John Wentworth and in time ownership was passed to their son Nathaniel.  Nathaniel married Jesse Gilbert of Windham who resided here until her death in 1962; after which the Baptist Church purchased and remodeled the home  to be used as a parsonage for their pastor and family.  The parsonage has been located here at 234 Central Street some 53 years.  In this c1980 photo church members are washing windows and cleaning exterior of the parsonage.  Photo courtesy of Hudson Baptist Church.

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