In this C 1930 photo we see a horse drawn wagon traveling west on Robinson Road just west of Robinson Pond near the present intersection with Parker Drive. On the wagon seat are Charles “Charlie” Parker, Whitney Westneat, and Alice (Mrs. Arthur) Westneat. In the wagon is the Rev. Arthur Westneat. Their oldest son, Arthur is riding horseback. Rev. Westneat, a former pastor of the Baptist Church of Hudson, and his family, were spending their summer vacation time visiting with John Abner and Julia Robinson. Photo complements of the Parker/Robinson Family and now a part of the Historical Society Collection.
For many years this Derry Road location was the site of the Abbott home, milk business, and farms. Abbott’s Dairy was operated by George Abbott for many years. After his sudden death in 1929. his son’s Roland and Kenneth ran the milk room. Local dairy farmers would deliver their milk for processing after which milk and cream were delivered by Abbott’s Dairy to homes and businesses in the Nashua and Hudson area. After Roland’s death in 1964, “Kenny” carried on until the property was sold for the new Hudson Mall.
In 1973 Vickerry Realty, owner and developer, publicized their plans to build Hudson Shopping Mall on the east side of Derry Road, just north of St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Estimated to be a 3 million dollar complex of a climate controlled, enclosed sidewalk mall with a large Alexander’s Super Market on the north end. Alexander’s opened for business in 1974; other smaller stores and First Federal Bank soon followed along the indoor mall. This new supermarket created significant competition for other markets in town. By May 1977 McDonald’s Restaurant was added as a stand alone business.
This photo shows Hudson Mall C 1977 at the time of the publication of “Town in Transition” by The Hudson Historical Society. At that time, in addition to the large Alexanders supermarket, the mall included: Books and Cards Unlimited, CVS and CVS Pharmacy, Flower World, Norms Hardware, and First Federal Savings and Loan.
Significant changes have occurred over the years. In 1988 the Post Office was relocated to this mall from 15 Derry Street. In 1990 Alexander’s supermarket moved up in size and out of its original location as a large superstore was added onto the south end of the mall, and Alexander’s, now Hannaford’s, moved into their new quarters. At about this same time, the mall itself was modified to eliminate the interior sidewalk mall. Each retail business had direct exterior access. Photo from the Historical Society collection.
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.
During the decades of the 1940 and 50’s a business center developed in Hudson along Central and Ferry Streets as you approached the bridge into Nashua. This center evolved, for the most part, in pre-existing wooden buildings many dating back to 1900 or earlier. With the planning of the twin span bridges, new access routes were necessary on both sides of the Merrimack. As a result a large number of buildings in the Hudson bridge area were demolished.
Phil Lamoy, owner of the 20th Century Stores, announced his plans to build a shopping center on the Derry Road. Ground breaking on the 25 acre parcel, which included the site of the former Goodwin’s Fried Clam Stand, took place July 1969. As the buildings in the bridge area were scheduled for destruction, Lamoy moved his 20th Century Market into this center in 1970. The shopping center expanded to include a drug store, beauty salon, barber ship, restaurant, department store, and parking for up to 700 cars. Businesses at the time of this photo included: Bargain outlet, China Village, Clean and Handy Laundromat, Dion Cleaners, Haps Donut and Coffee Shop, Hudson Barber Shop, Hudson News and Card Shop, One-stop auto parts, Photo Island, and Continental Academie of Hair Design. This shopping center continued as the 20th Century Shopping Center, but by 1977 the 20th Century Store itself was no longer doing business in Hudson.
This shopping center has evolved over time. Today it is knows as 102 Plaza. Photo from the Hudson Historical Society collection.
How many of our readers remember the ice break in the Merrimack River? Not many years after the wooden bridge was built at Taylor Falls, an ice jam and high water pressed so hard against the Hudson pier that there were fears for the safety of the bridge. To avoid this danger in the future this ice break was erected in 1834. Placed in the river on the Hudson side just north of the bridge this ice break has protected three bridges against surging ice flows: the wooden bridge, the iron bridge, and the concrete bridge. It was removed during the construction of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, the northern span of our current twin bridges. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.