With this week’s photo of The H.E. Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road we get to visit with another Smith Family in Hudson. By 1924 Elmer Frank and Ethel May (Connell) Smith and their young family of 2 sons (Henry Elmer and Robert Connell) and 2 daughters (Elizabeth Ella and Gloria Lillian) settled on a 300 acre parcel of land on what was then known as Pelham Road, now Kimball Hill Road. The location of the Smith parcel is at and near the intersection with Gibson Road and near the town line with Pelham.
Recently married Henry Elmer and Mary (Kayros) Smith began their dairy farm on a portion of his father’s land in 1933. At that time there were about 70 farms of various sizes in Hudson. Henry and Mary established their home around the corner of this farm stand on Gibson Road. Their they raised a family of 3 boys (Dustin, Tom, and Tim) and 1 girl (Nancy). The family continued with the dairy farm with all members helping out where they could. In 1963 they gave up dairy farming and switched to plants and vegetables and opened the farm stand as means to marketing their produce. This established a tradition which Henry’s son Tom has stayed with and has continued to the present with his own son, Dylan. Management of the farm and farm stand was passed from Henry to Tom in 1977.
Gloria and Elizabeth, sisters of Henry remained in Hudson after they married. Gloria continued to live on the family homestead and married Leslie Binks. Leslie was an animal trainer for Benson’s Wild Animal Farm; Gloria became became a prominent business woman and leader in Hudson. Her sister, Elizabeth married Richard Albee and they settled on Greeley Street; living there for many years and then moved to Alaska.
After raising their family Henry and Mary divided their home into 2 living quarters. Tom, his wife Tina, and their family lived there along side his parents. Henry passed in 1991 at 80 years of age; Mary passed in 2004 at the age of 94. Both remained on and helped with the work of the farm as long as they could. Today operating the farm remains a family affair: Tom, his wife Tina, their son Dylan, and a sister-in-law Charli. Tom’s daughters and his brother, Tim, helps with the operation from time to time.
The Smith Farm specializes in home grown vegetables and plants. It is estimated that over 90% of the products they sell were grown or started on their own farm. This year the stand will remain open through the holiday season specializing in holiday trees, wreaths, and kissing balls. The kissing balls are made by the Smith family; trees and wreaths are brought in from a reliable grower.
By February of next year work will begin in the various greenhouses starting a wide variety of veggies and flowers for both their own gardens and to sell in the farm stand as starter plants. When I talked with Tommy he said…”we’ll be here next year!!”
The Smith family has been farming on Kimball Hill Road since 1933. First Henry and Mary with help from their growing family. The oldest, a daughter Nancy, married and moved to Illinois and raised a family there. Dustin, the oldest brother, remained in the neighborhood and a close brother and friend with Tom, but opted for a different career path. He and his wife, Susan, began a computer business called ‘ComputerSmith’ in the 1980’s. Dustin lived nearby,just a quarter of a mile from brother Tom in the original Smith family homestead. Younger brother, Tim, lives in Hudson and helps with the work of the farm from time to time. The third generation, Dylan, works along with his father Tom.
The photo of the Henry E. Smith Farm Stand C 1980 is from the photo collection of the Hudson Historical Society.
By the mid 1960’s business at the Hudson Shopping Center and their main store, The Hudson Super Market, was expanding and the Provencal Family would soon be expanding yet another time. In early 1968 the State of New Hampshire was searching for a site in Hudson for a State Liquor Store and this shopping center was soon selected as the site. By July of that year the ground breaking ceremony was held. Construction of a multi-unit building was started immediately and completed in November. By the first week in December what was slated as the most modern self service facility operated by the state was opened at the corner of Birch Street and Lowell Road and part of the Hudson Shopping Center. Our first photo shows the building as it appeared In 1977. At that time the building was the site of Gio’s Pizza on the Birch Street side with Giovanni’s Blue Whale Restaurant, Gosselin’s Pharmacy, and the NH State Liquor Store facing Lowell Road.
Today this is knows as T-Bones Plaza. T-Bones moved into Hudson in 1991 and soon became a popular place for lunch and/or dinner. In 2006, when our second photo was taken, this was the location of T-Bones as well as Postal Center, Supercuts, Subway, a dance academy, tanning spa, and a dry cleaners. Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection.
As early as the mid 1950’s the ‘go-to’ grocery store for many Hudson residents, especially those living on or near Lowell Road, was the Hudson Super Market owned and operated by Robert “Bob” and Doris Provencal. Hudson was a fast growing town and business expanded so that by September 1970 the Provencal family held the grand opening of The Hudson Super Duper as shown in this week’s first photo. This event included onsite broadcasting of a local radio station, door prize of 18 inch portable TV, and special sale prices from all departments within the store.
The story of The Hudson Super Market, The Super Duper, and later The Piggly Wiggly, is also the story of Bob and Doris Provencal and their family. It began as early as 1936. Bob, then 16, lived with his family a short distance from what would later become the Super Duper. Bob needed extra money to buy a car. He had the idea of making bleach water and selling it for .20 a gallon to neighbors and friends. His efforts were profitable enough so he could purchase his first car. At 18 he took over his father’s filling station in Hudson as a mechanic. Again he was successful and needed to hire extra people.
After our country became involved with World War II, Bob wanted to enlist in the Army. His classification made him not eligible. Wanting to do something to help, he closed the gas station and went to work at Fort Devens where he ran a dynamometer and tested White Engines. By 1945 he met and married Doris Ledoux, also of Hudson. Soon thereafter he resigned from Fort Devens and re-opened the gas station, hoping to settle in Hudson; but there was a lack of housing in town so they settled in Nashua while making plans for and building an apartment building in Hudson. The rent they received would help pay the mortgage plus they would have a place to live in Hudson. As things were looking bright for the young couple, they were saddened by the loss of their first born son at the age of 10 days.
For her own health Doris knew she should keep busy. She suggested they put an extension onto their house so she could open a small store. This they did, and Doris ran the store where she met people while Bob ran the business of his own across the street.They added a grill and soda fountain and the endeavor became an immediate success. When not busy in the station he would help Doris in the store. One could say ‘the rest is history’.
The Hudson Super Market was opened in October 1952. Business grew and the store was expanded. A few years later the family realized the existing store could not accommodate the growing demands. On September 2, 1970 the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hudson Super Duper took place. That same year Bob Provencal was named Grocer of the Year by The NH Grocers Association. Doris and Bob had a family of 2 sons (Greg and Donald) and 1 daughter (Charlene). The family grew up with the grocery business; and by 1970 Charlene was studying floral arrangement in Boston. She would later open her own Charlene’s Flower Shoppe nearby on Lowell Road. Donald was managing the frozen food department in the family store; and Greg was studying business in a local college.
By 1972 the Provencal family aligned their Super Duper Market with the Piggly Wiggly enterprise. This Super Market, along with Shop and Wash, and Richard Coiffures were located on Lowell Road, a major part of The Super Duper Shopping Center in Hudson.
By 1977 The Nashua Trust Company, which held the mortgage, foreclosed on the The Piggly Wiggly building. Two business remained there as tenants: Richard Coiffures and the Shop and Wash Laundromat and Dry Cleaners. In 1979 Nashua Trust announced its plans to build a new banking facility on this location and the two remaining tenants had to vacate. By 1980 construction was completed and The Nashua Trust moved from its location at 1 Derry Street to open its Hudson Community Banking Center at 71 Lowell Road. Since that time due to bank mergers and closures the Nashua Trust became The First NH Bank and later Citizens Bank. Our second photo shows this site in 2006 – home to Brooks Pharmacy, Citizens Bank, and Hudson Chamber of Commerce.
Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection. Much of the history of the Provencal family appeared in February 24, 1971 edition of The Hudson News.
The Captain Joseph Blodgett Homestead was located on Lowell Road across from the intersection with the Pelham Road. This Joseph Blodgett was born in 1785 and married Sarah Spalding sometime prior to 1813. He likely built this house prior to or soon after their marriage. After raising a family of 2 boys (Spalding Joseph and Austin) and 2 girls (Sarah Louisa and Martha), Joseph and Sarah continued to live here until they passed; she in 1865, he in 1866. His military rank of Captain was likely received with the local militia.
Captain Joseph was the 4th generation of Blodgetts from this town to have the name Joseph. His father Joseph, born 1760, served in the Battle of Bennington in 1777. Being a lad of 17 he did not receive credit for his service at either the local or national level until 2007, some 229 years later. His service has since been registered at the national level in 2006 by Ruth (Baldwin) Williams, a descendant of his from Oak Forest, IL, when she applied for membership to the Daughters of The american Revolution (DAR). You see, young Joseph served with his father and the records credited the father for the service of his son. His grave site in Blodgett Cemetery received a Revolutionary Soldier marker at a Memorial Day ceremony in 2007. Mrs. Williams coordinated this event with the Blodgett Cemetery Trustees, The Hudson Historical Society, and the American Legion of Hudson.
Captain Joseph’s grandfather Joseph was born in 1718; his great grandfather Joseph in 1689 in Chelmsford,MA. This first Joseph and his wife Dorothy Perham moved to Hudson, then a part of Dunstable, MA, and built a garrision house. The site of this garrison and the birthplace of their son Joseph (born 1718) is identified by an historic marker on Hampshire Drive off Lowell Road and a short distance behind Fairview Healthcare.
Back to Captain Blodgett and his wife Sarah. Of their children, their youngest son, Austin and their youngest daughter Martha, are significant to this story. Martha was born in 1825 and married Royal Burns Buxton of Nashua. This couple remained in the Nashua/Hudson area and became the ancestral parents to the Paul and Hazel (Reynolds) Buxton family. Austin remained on the homestead as a farmer with his parents. He married Susan Davis and they raised a family of two sons (Elmer H born 1852 and Austin J born 1861) and a daughter Vinnie (born 1859). Elmer married Hannah Clyde in 1876. They lived on Central Street in Hudson until their last few years when they moved the Hunt Community in Nashua, Elmer was a carpenter, musician, and an outdoors man.
Vinnie and Austin J. remained on the homestead and did not marry. She passed in 1911 while hospitalized after complications from a fall. Austin J. passed in 1946 at age 85. Vinnie was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church (now the Community Church) of Hudson. She was knows as a kind neighbor and friend to all in trouble. Austin J. remained on the homestead until the mid 1930’s when he retired and moved to Nashua.
The photo of the Joseph Blodgett home shown here is from the Historical Society Collection. It was taken by a Mr. Howe of Ashfield, MA in 1899. The woman in the photo is Vinnie Blodgett, at about 40 years of age. The property remained in the family from Austin to his son Austin J. The house was torn down about 1934. The records of the early church of Nottingham, MA as kept by Rev. Nathaniel Merrill were found in this house at about that time. A handwritten copy has been given to the Hudson Historical Society and the originals placed with the New Hampshire Historical Society. In 1935, through the efforts of historian Dr. H.O. Smith the vital records were published by the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. The site of this home is now part of the Fox Hollow Condominium Community.