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Ferry Street May 30, 1949

Behind this week’s photos we find not one story but two!  The first being the Sherman Tank and army vehicles heading down Ferry Street.  The second is the story behind the houses along Ferry Street we see in the background.

Memorial Day May 30, 1949 Ferry Street

These photos were taken May 30, 1949.  In that year Memorial Day observations for Hudson were  held over a two day period.  The activities were under the direction of American Legion Post #48 with Roger L. Boucher as Chairman of the Memorial Day Committee.  On Sunday, May 29th the Legion and Auxilliary attended Mass at St. John The Evangelist Church.  In the afternoon Post members joined with veterans’ organizations from Nashua and parishioners of St. Patrick’s Church Parish in the dedication of The War Memorial at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Hudson.
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Memorial Day 1949

On Monday Morning, May 30, a parade assembled on First Street with the line of march proceeding to Ferry Street and down the hill to Library Park assembling for the activities to be conducted there.  This  parade included a police escort, parade marshall and representatives from veteran’s and service organizations from Hudson and Nashua.  In these photos we see one modified Sherman tank.  According to newspaper write-ups the next day, there were actually six such tanks included in the Hudson parade.  At Library Park Harry Salvail  Past Post Commander was the Master of Ceremonies.  The guest speaker of the day was Elliot A. Carter of Nashua.  Wreaths were placed on three markers in honor of those who gave their lives for their country.
On Monday afternoon American Legion Post 48 participated in the Memorial Day Program in Litchfield where a tablet was unveiled in honor of the war dead of Litchfield.  The Sherman Tanks, at least five of them, proceeded to Nashua to participate in the Memorial Day parade through the streets of Nashua.
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Sherman Tank on Ferry Street

The second story is with the houses along Ferry Street we see in the background; what is now 44 and 46 Ferry Street.  In the mid to late 1940’s and in to the 1950’s there was a large increase in traffic along Ferry Street; automobiles and gas were more available and  individuals were traveling to Nashua for employment.  During this time period there were a number of small Mom and Pop enterprises opening up.  Of course we remember The 20th Century and before that Sal’s Market. There were also the smaller variety stores like Bradley’s Market at the corner of Library and Ferry.  Even further up Ferry at what is now 44 Ferry was a small variety store operated by Herbert and Mary Shepherd.  If you lived in that area and/or attended Webster School or Hudson Junior High School,  you may have memories of your own.  George Abbott remembers going across the field between School Street and Ferry Street to buy snacks from ‘Mamie’ Shepherd on his lunch hour during Jr. High.  Neil Cunningham who lived further down on Ferry Street remembers his Mom sending him to ‘Mamies’  for a loaf of bread.  Carol (Whittemore) and David Flewelling remember going there for candy and ice cream.

Mary  ‘Mamie’ and Herbert Shephard

Mary ‘Mamie’ (Perkins) and Herbert Shephard  lived in what is now 44 Ferry Street from about 1946 until Herbert passed in 1961; at which time Mary continued to live there until 1972.  During this time Herbert was employed as a bus driver, a railroad worker, or a grocer.  Mary operated a grocery or a variety store there in the mid to late 1940’s.  Mary lived her final years in Milford with family. 44 Ferry street is now a private residence.
These photos are from the collection of the Historical Society courtesy of Paul Whittemore.  My thanks to Carol Flewelling for her assistance with the research.

Methodist-Episcopal Church

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Methodist Episcopal Church C 1912

If you identified this week’s photo as an early picture of the Hudson Community Church, you are partially correct! This photo was taken circa 1910 and at that time this building was the Second Meeting House of the First Methodist Society of Hudson. It was built and dedicated in 1880. So, where was the First Methodist Meeting House and what happened to it?
The Methodist Episcopal Society in Hudson was organized in 1840. For about 10 years prior to that date a number of townspeople were embracing the religious opinions of the Methodists. Many were attending services in Nashua as there was no settled minister in this part of town; and from time to time a Methodist preacher would lecture in Hudson. The interest grew and in 1839 the Rev. Jared Perkins, the Methodist minister from Nashua came to Hudson and lectured in the No 4 schoolhouse, near Blodgett Cemetery. The interest was such that in 1840, at the Annual Methodist Conference, the Rev. Abraham Folsom was placed in charge. He was a man of energy and zeal and he quickly organized a church which would endure and continue for many years to come. Through his efforts $1,250 was raised or pledged for building a house of worship.

First Methodist Meeting House

On August 1, 1840 it was voted to build a meeting house on land donated by Abiather Winn. This plain, modest building 40 x 50 feet was dedicated December 2 of that year. Between Webster’s History and the 1858 map of Hudson; I place this First Methodist Meeting House to have been on the south side of Central Street near the intersection with Melandy Road. This meeting house had 44 pews which were sold at auction; the sale of which raised enough money to pay for the building. The $1,250 raised earlier was returned to the donors. A few years later a small parsonage was built near the south-west corner of the church a cost of $400. This location was inconvenient for the parsonage so a new parsonage lot was secured on the north side of Central Street, east of and adjacent to the Congregational Meeting House which had been build in 1842. Sometime close to 1848 the parsonage building was moved onto that lot and remodeled to include an ell and a small stable. So, the parsonage and church building were near each other on opposite sides of Central Street near Melandy Road.

In 1874 along came the Nashua and Rochester Railroad with the tracks running along Central Street separating the Methodist meeting House from the parsonage even more. This was not just inconvenient, it was dangerous. The church decided move the church to the north side of the highway near the parsonage and on the same lot. At that time the church building was enlarged and rededicated in January 1878.

Disaster struck in August of 1879, a little over 18 months after rededication. On Sunday, August 3, immediately after service a fire broke out in the stable.Both the church and the parsonage were reduced to ashes. If not for the efforts of the Nashua Fire Department, and local townspeople, a number of homes and possibly the Congregational church would have been lost. The buildings were insured for $1,500; less than 1/2 of their real value. This was a severe and nearly fatal blow to the devoted church and society.

Services were temporarily held in a small hall near the bridge owned by James Carnes. Discussions resulted regarding a satisfactory and suitable location for a new house of worship. There was much difference of opinion. Some wanted to rebuild in the same location; others wanted a location nearer the bridge. By this time a number of church members were living on the east side of Nashua. When put to a vote the location of the present brick church, now Hudson Community Church, was chosen. Plans were made and by December 7, 1880 The Second meeting House of the Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated. It was a 40 x 70 ft building of wood and brick, two stories with a tower spire on the north-east corner.

The parsonage building, also destroyed in the 1879 fire, was not replaced at this time. The church provided whatever housing they could for their pastor. By 1888 a parsonage lot was secured by the church on Baker Street; by the fall of 1894 a parsonage was built. The church contracted with Isaac Newton Smith of Hudson Center as the builder. Cost: less that $2,500.

This church and the women’s organization were was very active in the Hudson Bridge community. During World War I the pastor, Rev. Roy Honneywell took a leave of absence from this church to serve as a chaplain in the US. Army. During the 18 months of his absence The Methodists and The congregationalists united for services in the Methodist Church. As time went on, there was more and more union between the two Protestant churches at the Bridge. As we have learned, the Congregation and the Methodist churches merged in 1930 to form the Hudson Community Church.

The photo of the Methodist Episcopal Church shown here is the one used by Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson. It is from the collection of the Historical Society.

Congregational Church at 76 Central Street

Congregational Church Proir to 1909

Congregational Church Prior to 1909

Early Church Prior To 1842

The origin of the Congregational Church in Hudson, NH dates back to November 1737. Rev. Nathaniel Merrill was settled by the town and been ordained as the first minister of Nottingham, Mass.  The town was responsible for hiring a minister, paying his salary, and providing a Meeting House.  The site of the first meeting house on what is now Musquash Road is marked by an historic tablet.
After the boundary was settled between Mass and NH and the town of Nottingham West, NH received it’s charter, many acres of the earlier town had been left in Mass.  The town voted to move the preaching to a more central location just a short distance from the present Blodgett Cemetery.
Rev Merrill’s contract with the town continued until 1774; however he continued to preach in town until shortly before his death.  The last baptism recorded by Rev Merrill was in July 1792; and the last marriage in December 1795.  Although his contract with the town had expired in 1774, the town did vote various sums of money for his support from time to time; including $7.82 plus a coffin for his funeral in 1796.
A short time before 1750 a number of families of the Presbyterian faith settled in the eastern part of town and attended meetings of their own denomination in either Londonderry or Windham and helped to support their own minister.  Naturally these families protested against being taxed in support a minister of a different faith.  It was not until 1770 that the Presbyterians, by vote of the town, were released from these taxes.  By 1771 they built their own place of worship, the North Meeting House, in Hudson Center near the site of the present Wattannick Hall.  The Rev John Strickland was their pastor until 1785.
Meanwhile the Rev Jabez Pond Fisher was called by the town in 1795 amid protests.  By 1802 the town owed him over $1,000 in back salary; he resigned his position and brought a suit against the town for his salary.  For the next 15 years or so the Congregational Church was inactive; by about 1816 there were signs of a union between the previously conflicting sects.  The Congregational church united with the Presbyterians.  This merger lasted until 1841 when the Presbyterian organization was dissolved and 26 of its members formed the Congregational Church of Hudson.

Church at 76 Central Street

By 1842, under the Pastorate of Rev Willard Holbrook, the church building as shown in our first photo, was built at what is now 76 Central Street.  Periods of growth and periods of inactivity continued until 1876 when the church became active with a spirit of growth and union.

 

Congregational Church C 1925

Congregational Church C 1925

By 1906, during the Pastorate of the much beloved  Rev Franklin Perry Chapin the church building was remodeled as shown in our second photo.  Stained glass windows and a basement area were added, and the front entry was modernized.  In 1912 the Congregational Church of Hudson celebrated its 175th anniversary.
As time passed questions were being raised over the need for two Protestant churches (Congregational and Methodist) in the Hudson Bridge Area.  In 1930 these two congregations united to form the Community Church of Hudson.  At the time of the merger, each of the congregations had their own place of worship and their own parsonage for the pastor.  Through the merger, the Congregational Parsonage and the Methodist place of worship were retained.  By 1935 the Congregational Church building was sold to Hudson Grange #11.
In November 1937, the recently organized Hudson Community Church celebrated it’s 200th Anniversary!!  These photos are from the Historical Society collection.  Much of this historical information was prepared by Dr. H.O. Smith and presented by him at the 200th Anniversary in 1937.

Hudson Grange and Andre’s Restaurant C1975

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Hudson Grange and Andre’s Restaurant C 1975

Today we have many favorite places in town to enjoy breakfast or lunch: Cookies, Donna’s Place, North Side Grill, and Suzies to name a few. In the 1970’s one such favorite was Andre’s Restaurant located in the Hudson Grange Building at 76 Central Street, and shown in this photo.

Hudson Grange #11 was organized in December 1873 in the Number 6 Schoolhouse on Derry Road with Kimball Webster as the first Master. The grange, a ritualistic family fraternity originally based on rural and farm life, was one of the leading social organizations in town during the 1920’s. Meetings were quite late, beginning ‘after chores’ to permit farmers to attend to the evening milking and feeding before coming out for a meeting. A typical evening would include a crisply run business meeting, recognition of guests, a program, discussions for the good of the order and/or town, and a lunch. A program might be educational, some relevant agricultural topic, local events and/or politics, or entertaining. Often featuring local musical and/or literary talent.

Hudson Grange rented the Odd Fellows Hall (now the American Legion) for it’s meetings from 1903 to 1920. This arrangement proved satisfactory until the winter of 1920 when differences of opinion resulted between the tenants and landlord; as a result the grange looked into a change in meeting location. A large number of members were from the Hudson Center area and advocated using the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall) in Hudson Center. The body agreed and meetings were moved to Hudson Center; an increase in membership mostly from the center area resulted almost immediately.

For the next 18 months meetings were held in the Town Hall with mixed success; depending upon your proximity to the meeting place. Members from The Bridge area did not want to travel to Hudson Center for meetings and visa versa. Meanwhile representatives from the grange were working to settle differences with the proprietors of the Odd Fellows Hall. Again the matter again came to a vote; and the body voted to return to the bridge area for their meetings.

At about the same time many members from the Center area requested withdrawal cards. This group soon obtained their own charter and Wattannick Grange #327 was organized. A smaller Hudson Grange returned to The Bridge and the Odd Fellows Building until 1935 when the building shown in this weeks photo, the former Hudson Congregational Church Building, became available due to a merger between the Congregational and the Methodist Congregations. Hudson Grange purchased the building from the newly formed Hudson Community Church. Soon after purchase the steeple was removed, the carpet was removed, and the grange held meetings and danced in what had been a church sanctuary.

In 1963 the grange entered into a lease agreement with Andrew Kinsville to establish a restaurant and a catering center; the grange retained ownership and use of the hall as a meeting place. This arrangement continued and Andre’s Restaurant and Antoinnes Catering grew in popularity with many service organizations holding their regular meetings here. Then, in the early morning hours of May 9, 1977 the building known as Hudson Grange (formerly the ‘White Church’ was destroyed by fire. A small group of young intruders were held responsible for the fire as an act to cover up a robbery. At the time of the fire the premises were used for regular meetings by Hudson Rotary, Hudson Lions, chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, and United Commercial Travel. Each of these organizations quickly had to make arrangements to meet elsewhere.

Hudson Grange also made arrangements to meet elsewhere in town and the building was never replaced. By the mid 1980’s the property was sold. A private residence is now located at 76 Central Street. A few years ago in 2001 members of Hudson Grange and Wattannick Grange merged back into the charter of Hudson Grange. Meetings are now held in Wattannick Hall in Hudson Center.