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The Meadows Restaurant of Hudson Center C 1977

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The Meadows C 1977

In the late 1940’s traffic along the Route 111 corridor known as Central Street in Hudson Center was on the increase.  This was the result of the popularity of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm as well as the convenience of automobile travel for business and pleasure.  Businesses were beginning to open up or relocate  to  this section of the highway.    One of these that holds a permanent place in our memories is “The Meadows”, a seafood restaurant.
 
In September 1947 John Wollen, founder and long time owner of The Meadows,  purchased about 20 acres on the east side of Central Street from Perley B. and Clara E. Smith.  The Smith’s lived in the area and Perley operated a Cider Mill just a few lots south towards Belknap Road.  By the spring and summer of 1949 The Meadows opened for business and soon became a popular eating place for the locals as well as the tourists visiting Benson’s.  Their menu included fried clams, haddock, scallops, and sandwiches along with onion rings, french fries, and cold slaw.  A soda fountain was added for drinks and ice cream based deserts.  In 1962  a miniature golf course and a shuffle board court were added just north of the restaurant and near the meadow around Merrill Brook.  
 
John Wollen was born in Hudson and educated in Nashua Schools.  He was the founder and owner of Meadows until a short time prior to his passing in November 1985.  He also operated the McNulty and Foley catering and function hall when it was located on Amherst Street in Nashua.  
 
The Meadows was destroyed by fire on November 23,1992  after business was closed for the day.  A neighbor across Central Street noticed the flames and called the fire department.  The fire was fought by the Hudson department with assistance from Londonderry, Windham, Nashua, and Litchfield.  At the time the building was owned by Arthur  Bursey of Manchester and the restaurant operated by George Apostolopoulas of Wilmington, MA.  The Meadows did not re-open following the fire.  
Many Hudson residents remember Berk and Son Farm Stand and Scott’s  Wood craft which operated on the northern end of The Meadows parking lot adjacent to Merrill Brook.  Little remains of The Meadows except our own memories of the delicious seafood and the summer evenings playing miniature golf.  The 20 plus acres with 500 feet of frontage onto Central Street which Mr Wollen purchased in 1947 has been idle for many years and is on the commercial real estate market.  
 
Today’s photo of “The Meadows” was taken about 1975 at the time of the preparation of “The Town In Transition” an update to Hudson’s History.

 

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The House at 26 Lawrence Road

 

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26 Lawrence Road C1893

This house at 26 Lawrence Road is remembered by many, including myself, as the home of Hazel and Walter McInnis and their daughter Winnie.  The McInnis family purchased this farm in August 1944 from the family of Edward Senneville.  For many years Walter McInnis was a dairy farmer; using the brook located across from his barn on  Lawrence Road to water his cows when the farm well was low.  Until the new Route 111 was constructed in the middle 1960’s, this was the state road and traffic along the road was often halted while approximately 12 cows crossed the road to get water from the brook!  Mr. McInnis passed  in 1969.  Mrs. McInnis and Winnie lived here until the farm was sold in August 1982 to The Marcum Family.

In 1858 this was the home of Simeon Robinson, Jr. and by 1892 it was the home of  his son Frank.   Simeon, Jr. was born in March 1821 and by the age of 23 he was a single father and a widower.  His first wife, Elizabeth, passed away in 1844 leaving him with their 4 year old son, Lucius.   In 1848, Simeon, Jr married Charlotte Glidden. Their oldest son, Frank, was born in 1850.   Upon the death of Simeon Jr.  in 1897, the farm passed to his son Frank. It was sold in Oct  1924 to Warren Gilcrest  by Frank’s  widow, Alecia, and two daughters , Charlotte and Annette.  Gilcrest  owned  the place until 1942 when it was sold to the Senneville family.

Attached are two photos of this house.  The earlier photo was taken  about 1893 . Based upon the ages of Simeon, Jr and members of the Frank Robinson family at that time period, the people in this photo are likely Frank’s wife  Alecia,  his father Simeon, Jr, Frank himself, and Frank’s young daughters Charlotte and Annette.  The recent photo  shows the house as it looks today  and is the photo of records with the Town of Hudson.

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26 Lawrence Road C 2012

 

The Robinson Family moved into this part of Hudson (then Londonderry) in 1763 when Peter Robinson, Simeon Jr’s grandfather,  purchased a farm of about 150 acres from Elisha and Mary Cummings of Londonderry.  Peter moved here by 1768 with two adult sons, Simeon and Douglas, plus his second wife and their young family.  Douglas removed to what is now Hancock, NH.  Simeon remained in this area and married first Susannah Tarbox.  The descendants of Simeon and Susannah settled on Peter’s farm.  This farm, now at 11 Old Robinson Road, remains in the family line from  Simeon  and Susannah.   After the death of Susannah in 1818, Simeon married a second time to a widow, Susan (Wyman) Tarbox.   They had one son, Simeon, Jr. who ultimately settled at what is now 26 Lawrence Road.

 

Robinson/Parker Homestead 1907

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Robinson/Parker Homestead 1907

 

In 1763 Peter Robinson of Boxford, MA negotiated to purchase a 150 acre farm, including barn and dwelling, FROM Elisha and Mary Cummings of Londonderry, NH.  Sometime between 1764 and 1767 Peter and his large family moved onto this farm.  Members of the Robinson/Parker family have remained here for nine generations.  This farm was located  near Little Massabesic Pond, a name given by the native Americans.  This part of Londonderry was annexed to Nottingham West (now Hudson) in 1788 and over time the name of the water has been changed to Robinson Pond.
 
 
Alphonso Robinson was the sixth generation of his family to live on the farm; he was the great-grandfather of the current generation.  All his life was passed at the family homestead; born in 1837 he passed in 1918 at the age of 81.  Alphonso and Louisa Ann Haselton, also of Hudson, were married in 1862.  Her wedding dress of brown silk was saved and later made over for her daughter Hattie Louisa when she married Rev. Clarence C. Parker.  During the Civil War, Alphonso as a farmer was responsible for the livelihood of his grandfather, David; his parents Marinda Caldwell and John Anderson; his wife Louisa Ann, and their young son; John Abner.  As was accepted practice at the time, he paid a substitute to take his place in the Civil War.  During this time the small farmhouse was enlarged and made into a two family dwelling to accommodate his large and multi-generational family.  The main part of the present house was built and the existing house was split and a piece attached to each end as an ell.  
 
In  their later years Alphonso and Louisa provided a home for three of their grandchildren after the early passing of their mother, Hattie Louisa (Robinson) Parker.  Thus it is that their grandson, Charles C. Parker (aka ‘Charlie’) came to live on this farm.  At the time of his death, Alphonso was cited as one of Hudson’s most respected citizens and a man of high ideals and honest in all his dealings.
 
Hattie Louisa Robinson and her brother John Abner were of the seventh generation.  John Abner remained on the farm and married Julia Ann Webster in 1890.  They lived their entire married lives on the farm of his ancestors.  John worked with his father Alphonso.  He also served the Town of Hudson as a Selectman for  24 years and as a Representative to the General Court.  By 1911 Charles, Helen, and Alice Parker had come to live with their Robinson grandparents.  Soon thereafter Charles worked on the farm along with his grandfather and his uncle John.  All three grandchildren attended the Number 7 school at Frog Corner, located at the corner of Robinson and Griffin Roads.  Helen later attended Nashua High.  While there she became good friends with Ruth E.Blood of Nashua; said friendship led to the introduction of Ruth E. and Charles.  Ruth E. Blood and Charles Parker were married in 1933.  They too spent their entire married life on the farm of Charles’ ancestors.  
 
In the 1950’s as a way of helping to balance the family budget, Ruth and Charles joined forces with Farm Vacations and Holidays of New York.  This provided city families an opportunity to spend their vacation “down on the farm”.  This experience resulted in national publicity when an article about Butternut Hill Farm of Hudson appeared in the August 3, 1957 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.   Charles continued to work the farm until the mid-1960’s.  By that time the pressures and cost of modern dairy equipment made it impossible to continue.  His dairy cows were sold to The Emery Nadeau Farm of Hudson. Since that time it became necessary to divest part of the farm.  The present Town Recreation Area at Robinson Pond and the Parker Wildlife Sanctuary were once a part of this farm.  Some acres have been retained, along with this homestead for future generations.  
 
In 1989, as a result of research on the part of Ruth E. Parker, Butternut Hill Farm was named as a Bicentenial Farm.  The significance being that the farm has been actively farmed by members of the same family since 1789 or earlier.  This is one of two such farms in Hudson so named.  The second was that of Paul Hills on Barretts Hill Road.  
 
This photo shows the family homestead in 1907.  The home exterior remains the same today except for the extension of the front porch and the addition of a garage.  This photo is a part of my private collection and I am pleased to share some of my family history with you today.  Charles “Charlie” and Ruth E. Parker were my parents.

Martin Block at PO Square 1913

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Martin Block at PO Square 1913

By 1913 a business center was developing near the Taylor Falls Bridge at the intersection of Central and Main Streets, called Post Office Square.  The Martin Block, as shown in today’s photo, was at the center of  the activity.  As one came across the bridge from Nashua the roadway branched: right took you up Central Street and past the Methodist/Episcopal Church (now The Community Church).  If you kept to the left you were on Main Street; the Martin Block was at 1 Main Street.  In 1913 Main Street was a short street extending from the bridge to the intersection with Derry Road where it’s name changed to Ferry Street.
The Martin Block and the building shown here dates  to 1877.  Mr. Elisha Z. Martin purchased the property and building about 1876.  Shortly after the building was destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Mr. Martin the following year.  After Mr. Martin’s passing in 1879, Mrs Martin married a Mr Sherman from Connecticut.  Together they continued to make changes and improvements to the building.This site has a long history of being occupied by a grocery or general store.  At the time of the fire it was the location of Nathan Webster’s store, and following reconstruction his business returned and continued until about 1892.  George Andrews succeeded Mr. Webster and continued the business until his death in 1903.  Mr Elijah Reed ran the business for about 1 year after which Mr Charles Daniels in partnership with Charles B. Gilbert took it over and continued until about 1925.

From the information on the reverse of this photo we know the following:  In the left el was a barber shop along with Daniels and Gilbert  Flour, Grain, and Grocery.  Charles  Daniels was the Postmaster at that time so the Post Office occupied a corner of the local grocery.  On the extreme right was a blacksmith shop and horse barn, or livery.  In the main building there were apartments.  In 1913 property taxes were $98 and it cost $50 for insurance!
In the foreground we see the tracks for the  street railway and overhead the electric wires which provided t power to the cars.  On the right is an early street lamp.
This building remained until it was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for the Veterans Memorial Bridge and the access route onto that bridge.  Changes occurred through  the years.  By 1928 it was owned by a Mrs. Jennie Connell and known as the Connell Block. The left side was washed away during the 1936 flood.  The double dormers on the third floor were replaced with a single dormer.  The livery and barn were removed from the right side and remodeled into a grocery store.  As early as 1926 this side of the Connell Block was home to Sal’s Cash Market; with Harry Salvail as proprietor. By 1940 this was the location of the every popular 20th Century Store and owned by Phil Lamoy of Nashua.  Business continued here until demolition when Mr. Lamoy moved his grocery in Hudson to the 20th Century Shopping Center on Derry Road.
My best guess for a present location of this site would be on Ferry Street just as you entered the northern span (Veterans Memorial Bridge) and part of the green space which lied between the access to that and the southern span (Taylor Falls Replacement Bridge).  This photo is a recent addition to our collection at the Historical Society.