The family of Thomas Pollard, Jr was one of the earliest to settle in Dunstable on the east side of the Merrimack River. His farm was south and adjoining that of Joseph Blodgett and extended to the river. The exact date of his settlement is unclear but probably was about 1731-2. This part of Dunstable later became Nottingham, MA, then Nottingham West, NH and now Hudson. By 1900 there were two family farms in this area bearing the name of Pollard. This week’s photo is of the farmhouse of the Luther Pollard Farm located at 205 Lowell Road. The second Pollard Farm that of Raymond Pollard will be remembered at a later time!!
Luther acquired his farm in 1853 from Calvin Pollard. Luther and his wife Eliza raised a family of one son, George, and two daughters, Mary and Caroline. After Luther passed in 1898 ownership of the farm went to his children. George passed early, leaving sisters Mary (also called May) and Caroline as owners. Caroline married George Parker a business man from Lowell/Boston, MA whereas Mary remained single. Over time the sisters became residents of Lowell and the Hudson farm became their summer home. The farmhouse was used for the farm manager and a summer home built for the sisters and the growing family of Caroline and George Parker. In the late 1920’s Robert Hardy and his wife Bertha and family of 9 children moved from Durham, NH to work as farm manager for the Pollard/Parker family. Two additional children were born to them later for a total of 11.
For the next fifteen plus years the Hardy family managed the Pollard Farm. During the summer months the Parker/Pollard family spent their vacation time in the summer home. These two families were such a part of each other’s lives that they felt like one big expanded family. They played together, worked together, and took day trips together. The two older Hardy children, John and Helen, graduated Nashua High School in 1941. As the war started John remained in Hudson and expanded the farm to include a small greenhouse so as to start field tomatoes early during the cold weather before transplanting outside. In 1943 he was able to start about 1500 plants to transplant in to the fields.
After World War II members of the Pollard/Parker family decided to sell the property; the entire acreage and buildings to be sold as one parcel. The property was offered to Robert Hardy; he turned it down and suggested the property be offered to his son John as he was the one still farming. John purchased the farm in May 1946. By December 1946 a survey had been done and the summer house was sold. John continued with and expanded the farm operation; specializing on market gardening. In 1948 he erected a steel framed greenhouse over 39 feet wide by 200 feet long!! He became a pioneer in the pick-our-own vegetable harvesting; particularly tomatoes.
John Hardy and Hudson native Elaine Esty were married in 1952. Their family of 2 girls and 2 boys arrived between 1953 and 1959. The Hardy farm continued to operate as a major market garden for several years as the family grew. By 1971 they specialized in tomatoes. Their children grew up, went to school, married and moved on. By the late 1970’s farm operations were winding down; hastened by a collapse of the huge greenhouse. John began to sell parcels of land. He had lived on that farm for about 85 years; passing in February 2007. The final parcel to be sold was the farmhouse and outbuildings to their neighbors, the Fairview Nursing Home in 2008.
The era of the John Hardy farm came to an end August 2008 when the farmhouse was razed to make way for the expansion of the Fairview Nursing Home. It is now the location of the modern Memory care Unit. One final piece of farm history was yet to be completed. In 2010, Elaine Hardy printed for her family and the Historical Society a history of the Pollard, Parker, Hardy Farm of Lowell Road. This photo from of the Historical Society Collection.