This fine Victorian home was built by Hudson native George O. Sanders between 1873 and 1875. He was born in 1850 and at the age of 17 began an apprenticeship with his father, Abi Sanders, a respected carpenter and contractor in this area. This young man designed and built his own house; as such the dwelling represents the exuberance of youth and is an example of New Hampshire’s finest French Empire style of the Victorian Period.
The main house is a two-and-a-half story dwelling on a granite foundation and covered by a Mansard roof with strongly flaring eaves. Today the exterior walls are sheathed with grey aluminum siding; applied over the original rusticated wood exterior. This work was done in the 1970’s by Leonard Smith. Mr. Smith worked diligently to retain as much of the original detail as possible. The front corner, facing Derry Street, has an elaborate three story tower capped with wrought iron railings and canopy terminated with scroll work and a weather vane bearing the letter “S”.
The L-shaped one-story wing extending from the main house originally had a hayloft door for access to the stable. This has been modified over the years. Above this hayloft door was a dormer, and on the roof stood a tall shingled spire rising from a cupola. The cupola remains today, but the spire has been replaced by a hipped roof.
The lot on which the house stands has been enclosed by several varieties of fencing over the years. When the house was first built, it was supplied by water from a deep well which was pumped up by a tall windmill in the front yard. Later, probably by 1893, when Mr. Sanders became principal stockholder of Hudson Water Works, the well and windmill were replaced by town water mains. The tower and weather vane over the main entry, the hayloft door and shingled spire on the wing, the windmill, and fencing can be seen in the 1887 photo of the George O. Sanders house.
The life of George O. Sanders is also of interest. He was an accomplished builder by his early 20’s. He left Hudson in 1878 to work as an engineer in Kansas, returning four years later to begin a business which would grow to become NH’s largest wooden box factory, employing nearly 190 men in three separate mills. In later years he also engaged in a number of civic interests. This included establishing, surveying, and construction of the Hudson Water Works Company: the construction of the multi-unit housing block and a row of single family houses around what is now Library Park; and the initiation of the Nashua Street railway Company.
In its 142 years, this fine Victorian has had just three owners. In 1904 Harry Kendrick. an employee for Sanders, acquired this home. It was owned by the Kendrick’s until purchased from Mrs. Kendrick in 1943 by Leonard Smith. From 1943 to the present, the home remains in the Smith Family. While the G. O. Sanders house retains its original configuration, certain details have been altered or lost over the years. This is particularly true in the 1940’s when the house was changed from a single-family to a seven-apartment complex by Leonard Smith. In 1986 the George O. Sanders house was proudly entered onto The National Register of Historic Places by Leonard Smith. Our thanks to the imagination of George O. Sanders and to Leonard Smith’s avid interest in maintaining the character and beauty of this house. Photos from the Smith family and the Hudson Historical Society Collection.