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.