A trolley traveling along Central near Library Street has exposed the rail lines after a recent snow storm as shown in this C 1907 post card. By 1907 the Bridge section of town, including this part of Central Street, was developing as a residential and business center. This was facilitated by the public transportation between Hudson and Nashua on the trolley.
The Methodist Church and parsonage previously located on Central Street near Melandy Road had burned in 1879 and the parish made the decision to relocate closer to the bridge and the trolley stop. The steeple of the new brick church, built in 1880, can be seen towards the center of the photo on the left side of Central.
Another new building at that time, the IOOF building (also called Association Hall), is visible just this side of the church. The IOOF building was completed by 1905 and it soon became their meeting place plus meeting space for the Rebekah Lodge, and Hudson Grange. Association Hall has a long history of usage for Hudson; once owned by the town and used as a school class room, it is now owned by the American Legion.
The house on the right, now 39 Library Street, was home to Helen and Hannah Georgina Gillis, daughters of the late Jennie (Fulton) and John Gillis. John Gillis purchased the colonial home on this site from Zachariah Hardy and just a few years before this post card replaced it with this house which was modern for that time. John Gillis and later his estate owned much of the land in the area of Central, Gillis, and Fulton Streets. Following the passing of their parents Georgina and Helen continued to live here. Helen passed at the age of 78 and Hanna Georgina at the age of 77; both passing on the same day in 1925 as they became victims in a double murder which occurred in their home. Their funeral service was held at the Congregational Church on Central Street with an atmosphere of simplicity, reverence, and sadness.
By 1934 this was home to Michael and Sophie Stanapedos. Michael passed in the late 1960’s and Sophie continued to live here until the 1980’s. In 1983 it was purchased from her estate by John Sarris and remodeled into an office building appropriately called “Sophie’s Place”.
The house on the left of Central at the corner with Gillis Street has been a Connell Family home for over 75 years. Occupied by Frank and Mary Connell it is now owned by the family of his son, Philip J. and his wife Lucille.
This post card is from my private collection, being mailed to my great-grandmother in 1907. It will soon be on file at the Historical Society.
For many years prior to his passing in 1802 Abraham Page, Jr (also known as Captain Abraham Page) owned and occupied a farm on Bush Hill Road. Mr Page and his wife did not have children but they brought up Nathanial Haseltine after he was 12 years old. In 1795 Nathanial bought the farm from Mr. Page; payment being 234 pounds and a life lease on the premises – thus Mr Page assured himself and his wife of living quarters and support for the duration of their lives. Nathanial Haseltine married Rachel Smith that same year and soon thereafter they changed the spelling of their name to Haselton.
According to Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson,NH there were 2 houses on this Page/Haselton farm as early as 1793. The first was the one built and occupied by Mr. Page; later (by 1836) removed from this farm to Hamblett Avenue in Hudson Center on the east side of and facing the common.
This week we have an early photo of the second house on this farm; built adjacent to the barn perhaps as early as 1793. This house, first occupied by Nathanial Haselton, became home to 4 generations of Haseltons. The first was Nathanial and his wife Rachel. The second was his son, Luther, and his wife Polly Ladd Smith; then George W(ashington) and his wife Lora Poor; and fourth Arthur W. and his wife Mary McCoy. Arthur W. and Mary were married in 1891 and lived here until about 1895 when they built and occupied the present farm house on the opposite side of the road. George W. Haselton remained in this old house until his passing in 1906; at which time ownership passed to his heirs. In 1942 the house and barn were sold to Ben Brintenal and just 3 years later again sold, this time to Ray Lathan and a group of businessmen who had purchased Benson’s Animal Farm. Between 1906 and 1942 the house and barn had various occupants and uses. By 1945 the house was dismantled and the materials used to build a smaller home on Ferry Street. The barn remains today and is part of the Benson Park property.
This is one of the earlier photos in our collection at the Historical Society; presented to us by a member of the Haselton Family. In this photo we see the Haselton Barn and adjacent house before the addition of the cupola. This photo is undated but according to the Benson’s Historic Structures Report prepared in 2003 for The Town of Hudson, NH the cupola along with other additions to the barn were completed between 1885 and 1910.
Including the present family, the Haselton Farm on Bush Hill Road has been home to 6 generations of Haselton’s. The first generation was Nathaniel; born 1762 in Nottingham West (now Hudson). By 1795 Nathaniel had purchased the farm and buildings from Abraham Page, Jr. Mr Page had no known children of his own; but history tells us that he helped raise Nathaniel Haseltine. As part of the sale agreement Mr. Page and his wife secured a life lease on the property; thus assuring themselves of a dwelling place for the duration of their lives. Mr. Page was a farmer and a builder; a trade he learned from his father. A number of 1700 vintage homes in Hudson have been traced back to these builders. Nathaniel married Rachel Smith in 1795 and soon thereafter changed their name to Haselton.
This week’s photo was taken C 1920 from a hillside above and slightly south of the home of Arthur Haselton built about 1895; now the home of Don and Beverly (Gates) Jackson at 25 Bush Hill Road. Their home is on the right side of the photo and faces Bush Hill Road. Opposite this is the Haselton Barn and an older Haselton family home to the right of the barn. In the background is a view of the hillside with Benson’s Animal Farm to the right.
Throughout history the Haselton Farm is known to have 3 different houses; often two at any one time. The first home was located on the same side of Bush Hill Road and slightly south of the present Jackson home. This home was built by and lived in by Abraham Page,Jr. The second home is the house adjacent to the barn. Exact date for the construction of this house is unclear but could be as early as 1793.We do know that by 1826 the first house was moved from it’s Bush Hill location to Hamblett Avenue facing the Hudson Center Common and was the home of Rev. Benjamin Dean, then pastor of the Baptist Church. This house ultimately became the home of Richard and Claudia Boucher and their family; and when Route 111 was built through the Town Common, the house was again moved from Hamblett Avenue to it current location on Windham Road.
This second house became the family home to 4 generations of Haseltons: Nathaniel, Luther, George, and Arthur. The home on the opposite side of the road was likely built by or for Arthur Haselton C 1895. This barn and the adjacent house remained in the Haselton Family until 1943 at which time it was sold to Ben Brintnal. By 1944 the barn and property on that side of Bush Hill Road was sold to The Laphan Group, the second owners of Benson’s Animal Farm. It was about this time frame that the house was dismantled and the materials used to construct a smaller house on Ferry Street.
Of all the buildings which were part of the Haselton farm, the most noteworthy is the 3 story barn with cupola. Perhaps initial construction as early as 1761, this barn was used in each of three centuries. Changes and additions have been made over this period of time, evolving the architecture and construction to match the changing use to which the building was put. Additions made to the barn between 1889 and 1910 included the addition of the cupola; now removed from the barn and in storage for future restoration. Analysis of the barn structure shows a 3 story barn, set into a bank (hillside) so there are entrances to each story at grade level. Today this barn on one of the historic buildings in Benson Park.
The family of Arthur Haselton included his wife Mary McCoy, 2 sons (Merton and Page) and a daughter, Lillian. Lillian married Joseph Gates and their family included Joseph, Jr, Beverly, and George. Some of us have personal memories of Joe and Lillian. Joe Gates had a natural ear for music and served as the church organist at the Baptist Church. During his organ postlude at the conclusion of a service I have known him to break into a rendition of Happy Birthday in honor of his wife, Lillian, or other family member. The present occupants are Don Jackson and his wife, Beverly Jackson; Beverly being the 6th generation in the Haselton line.
The trolley or electric street cars provided a cheap, pleasant, and relatively rapid form of public transportation in Hudson from 1895-1931. There was a trolley line from Nashua’s Tremont Square (corner of Main and Pearl Street) that proceeded east over the Taylor Falls Bridge thru Hudson via Central Street, Lowell Road, and on to Lakeview and Lowell, MA. The New Hampshire portion of this line was owned by the Nashua Street Railway, but operated under a lease by the Lowell and Suburban Street Railway Company (later known as Bay State Street Railway Company). The power to operate this line was provided by a Bay State owned substation on what is now River Road adjacent to Aeyers Pond.
In 1918 the Bay State Company discontinued service and turned the line back to Nashua Street Railway Company. The Nashua Company chose to operate the line and picked up the previously discontinued service down Lowell Road to Stewerts Corner (junction of Lowell with Dracut and River Roads) making 2-3 trips a day to accommodate workers, students, and week-end picnickers. The needed electric service was no longer provided by the Bay State powerhouse; it was supplied by the Nashua Light, Heat, and Power Company and converted to DC type at 600 volts in Nashua and Hudson. In Hudson, a powerhouse was constructed for this purpose at what is now 48 Lowell Road. This building was of sturdy construction as evidenced by the large beams and crossbeams used in the basement to shore up the main floor of the building.
The end of the electric cars occurred gradually as the auto became more and more affordable and popular. By 1924 they were operating at a loss and by 1931 they were discontinued in Hudson. Soon thereafter, the Powerhouse on Lowell Road was re-purposed into a private residence.
For nearly 50 years, beginning in 1956, this was home to Vincent J. Zelonis and his wife Mary (Wisneski) and their large family. Vincent was a man of many interests and talents – a devoted gardner and accordian player. He worked in the culinary field at a number of resort hotels. He attended technical school and received his diploma in refrigeration and air conditioning. During WWII he served in the Army and maintained HVAC-R equipment at a base in Puerto Rico. After the war he worked for J. Lawrence Hall Co. of Nashua and in 1953 started his own HVAC-R business, Hudson Service Company, where he worked with his sons William, Charles, and Daniel and his brother Richard. Vincent passed in 2005. Son Daniel and his wife Gayle and family continued to reside at 48 Lowell Road until a few years ago when the property was offered for sale. Daniel was a CPA and established his accounting and bookkeeping services here about 1979 until his retirement. Daniel and Gayle continue to live in Hudson and are active in various church and community organizations.
Within the past 2 weeks this property has been sold. After almost 85 years as a private residence, nearly 60 of them with the same family, we are about to witness a new era for this property. Will it be used for residential or will it be re-purposed again?
We share two photos of this property. The first shows the house and business of Vincent Zelonis C 1983 as seen from Lowell Road. The second shows the house as seen from the south side, looking north about two weeks ago. Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection.
From Lowell Road take a left onto Wason Road which is between Market Basket and Goodwill. Stay on Wason and then take a right onto Musquash Road. In less than 1/4 mile, the observent traveler will see a relic of Hudson’s history – a cellar hole on the left at 20 Musquash Road; a reminder of an ancient homestead for many Hudson families.
The last family to live here was that of Leslie and Florence (Chadwick) Barrett. They moved to Hudson from Bowdoinham, Maine in 1938 with their family of 2 boys and 2 girls. By 1941 the family moved to “Happy Hills Farm” at 20 Musquash Road. Mr Barrett was employed at Bensons Animal Farm and later as a maintenance person in Nashua. After moving to Hudson the family grew to include 7 sons, one of whom died young; and 3 daughters. They all attended Hudson Schools. Mrs. Barrett passed in 1951 at the age of 40. In 1965 Mr Barrett retired and by July of that year had sold the farm. Members of his family were living elsewhere, working or attending college at UNH, or serving in the armed forces.
Today’s photo shows the charred remains of this landmark home after the unoccupied house was destroyed by fire in April 1966. The Hudson Fire Department used 5 pieces of equipment under the direction of Chief Campbell to fight the fire over a 3 hour period. This building had been a landmark in town for over 170 years. Local legend says this house was a stagecoach stop during the early days — entirely possible when you consider that before 1746 Musquash Road (then called Back Road) was the main road through the center of town!
From this photo and memories offered by family members we can imagine the homestead. The barn was on the opposite side of the unpaved road from the house, with a faded painted sign over the barn door “HAPPY HILLS FARM”. Mr Barrett used a team of work horses around the place. The farm included a few fruit trees, apple, pears, peaches; cows, a few goats, a sheep, pigs, and chickens. The barn was large with a central aisle and stanchions for cows on one side and pigs, sheep, and goats on the other. The Barrett children would play in the hay and on the barn floor during cold and rainy days.
It was a 3 story house with 4 large rooms on each floor, 2 massive chimneys and 8 fireplaces. Looking at the photo, you can see the details of the fireplaces and the separation of each of the floors. There were secret places to hide in the house with large closets accessible from the bedrooms. On the first floor, between the kitchen and living room, there was a small room with an 8 foot dutch oven built into the base of the large chimney, all brick faced, with iron doors for 2 large ovens. This dutch oven was not used by the Barrett family but it was the centerpiece of the house. The house was wired for electricity in the 1940’s and the family had a radio in the living room and an electric washer with a ringer for the laundry. The children helped with the household and farm chores; baking bread, pies, cakes, canning vegetables and fruits, jams and pickles. All these were stored in the cellar along with potatoes, squash, and cabbage for the winter. After helping with the chores the children would explore and play in the woods nearby.
Attached to the front and side of the house was a large porch about 8 feet deep. There were at least 6 pillars in the front of the house and 3 along the side. The lawn contained a large tree and a circular driveway.
The earliest family to occupy this house that we know much about was that of Zaccheus Colburn, born 1765 the youngest son of Thomas and Mary Colburn. He married Rachel Hills in 1788 and they purchased this home from Ebenezer Dakin. Little is known of Ebenezer except that he was on the tax list from 1745 to 1793. Zaccheus and Rachel has a family of three sons and two daughters. One son died young. The other two sons, Elijah and Zaccheus, studied for and became medical doctors. Dr Elijah began his medical career in Hudson about 1823 and by 1825 had settled in Nashua where he had a long and useful career. Dr. Zaccheus began his career with his brother Elijah in Nashua until 1831; then returned to Hudson and practiced until 1838 at which time he moved to Manchester. The youngest daughter, Molly, married Thomas B. Wason and they remained on the farm with her parents. Thomas was active in town affairs; serving as a selectman and representative to state legislature. In fact, it was Thomas who presented the motion to the NH Lesiglature in 1830 to change the name of Nottingham West to Hudson.
Title of the Thomas B. Wason place passed to their son-in-law Obadiah F. Smith who married their youngest daughter, Philena. In June 1891, James F(ranklin) Wilson purchased the farm of 190 acres. James Wilson was a farmer, in fact his father Franklin had owned a farm at the very southern end of Dracut Road. By 1909 James transfered title of his homestead farm to his son, Frank A. Wilson. By June 1917 the farm was sold to Matilda Parker. Ownership remained with this Parker family until 1941 when it was purchased by Leslie Barrett.
In 1988 a tax lien was placed on the property and in 1990 it was conveyed to the Town of Hudson and is near or part of the Musquash Conservation Area. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.
188 Central Street at the corner with Burnham Road was home to Ivan Robinson Smith and his family of Mary (Manning) and their son Donald. Ivan was employed as a molder in Nashua; retiring from White Mountain Freezer Company. This Smith family homestead was a family farm on about 3 acres of land. Ivan was born in Hudson in 1897 and lived the better part of his life on this farm. Our first photo shows the Smith home in 1942 shortly after it was reconstructed and reduced in size following a fire. The fire started in the house and destroyed about 50% of the house and the entire barn. The house, white with shutters, had a doorway and driveway onto Central Street. After Ivan’s death in 1966, Mary and Donald continued to live here until the property was sold to the Cloutier Brothers for commercial purposes in 1972. A few years prior to this final sale two other parcels had been sold. The first was sold as a residential lot to Mr and Mrs George Tetler who became good and faithful neighbors to the Smiths, living at what is now 21 Burnham Road until 1979. The second parcel was for commercial purposes and gave rise to the commercial building at 23 Burnham Road. After the sale of their home Mary and son Donald moved to a house on Tessier Street here in Hudson. Mary passed in 1990; known for her gentle disposition despite being bed ridden for over 20 years with arthritis. Donald attended Hudson schools, graduated Alvirne and Andover Institute of Business. He retired from The Telegraph as Business Manager after 45 years of service. He remains in Hudson, living on Glasgow Circle.
Prior to Ivan this was home to his father Marcel and his grandfather William. William moved here from Massachusets with his family in the 1800’s. Hudson has a number of Smith families; and as far as we know, there is no known connection between this Smith line and the others in our town.
Our second photo shows the corner of Central and Burnham C 1977 as photographed for the “Town in Transition”. In the foreground is Hudson Professional Building built by Cloutier Brothers; now the location of Family Vision Care, Sapphire Salon, Julies, Merry Maids, and Electrolysys. At the time traffic flow at the corner was controlled by a stop sign – no traffic light!
Further along on Burnhad Road we see the private residence at 21 Burnham; originally home to Mr and Mrs George Tetler. In between is the commercial building at 23 Burnham; the location of Hudson Hair Design and Veteran Chimney. Two other commercial sites, not shown on this photo,were built on the Smith Homestead. They are Hudson Endodontic and Clean Monster Car Wash at 182 and 184 Central Street.
Thanks to Don Smith for the early photo and information about his family home. The 1977 photo is from the Historical Society collection.
Any story about Centronics Data Computer begins with Robert Howard. Earlier in his career Howard worked with An Wang (Wang Laboratories) on computer systems for the casino industry. This led Howard to invent the dot-matrix printer, and soon after he started Centronics Data Computer with 7 employees in Hudson, NH about 1968. Centronics commercialized the small dot-matrix printer which helped fuel the explosion and popularity of personal computers. From this small start-up the company grew to more than 6,000 workers worldwide, including 3,000 in NH. Robert Howard passed in 2014 and is remembered for his curiosity and his generosity. He is credited with the invention and popularity of the dot-matrix printer and the parallel interface. During his lifetime he formed more than two dozen companies. After Centronics he later founded Presstek and Howtek in Hudson during the 1980’s.
Centronics purchased a 3 acre land parcel from Clement Industrial Park on Route 111 in 1969 with an agreement to begin construction of a commercial building costing no less that $70,000 within 6 months. Clement Industrial Associates was formed in the 1960’s by a group of Hudson residents desiring to foster the growth of industry within town. This park was built on a portion of the farmland of Harry and Mildred Clement. The old Clement Farmhouse which burned in 1935, was located on the corner of what is now Clement Road and Route #111, about where Tip Top Tree Service is now located.
By 1971 Centronics was operating from this building on Route #111, The company reached a prime about 1979 with annual revenues over $100 million. The business of small printers became very competitive; plus there were product problems and lawsuits. By 1982 Control Data Corporation (CDC) merged their printer business into Centronics; invested $25 million in the company and took the business control away from Howard. By 1987 Control Data sold the printer business to GENICON. Using the proceeds from this sale, Centronics purchassed EKCO Housewares in 1988 and the company was renamed EKCO.
This commercial property is located at 1 Wall Street in Hudson and shown in this C 1977 photo from the Historical Society Collection. This building is now a part of Century Park, LLC and is home to Nutfield Technology, Princeton Technical Corporation, American Infrared Solutions, and possibly others.