Before 1895 a good number of men from Hudson were members of one of two Odd Fellows Lodges in Nashua. The participation from Hudson grew as did interest in organizing a lodge in Hudson. In October 1895 decisive action was taken and Hudson Lodge No 94 was instituted in the newly constructed Andrews hall located near the bridge. Membership grew and so did interest in having their own building in Hudson. In 1902 the Odd Fellows Building Association of Hudson was organized for that purpose. Many members of the lodge as well as many townspeople who were not members became stockholders in this endeavor. A parcel of land on Central Street was purchased from the William Hutchinson and Charles M. Woodward. This parcel, located at what is now 37 Central Street, had been a portion of the estate left to Helen E. and H. Georgina Gillis from their father. At the time of purchase Fulton Street was in the planning stage.
The building contained a large ‘lodge room’ with anti-rooms and other accommodations for the lodge membership. The basement contained a spacious banquet room and adjacent kitchen. The first floor had another large hall, called Association Hall. It was a large assembly room complete with a stage.
The building was completed and occupied by the lodge in early 1903. This building not only provided meeting space for the Odd Fellows and the Echo Rebekah Lodge it also provided meeting and banquet space for other organization and private occasions. The lodge continued as a thriving organization or several years, helping their fellow man, assisting widow and orphans and generally offering a good influence in Hudson. By the early 1940’s membership was dwindling and by 1947 the remaining members transferred to Granite Lodge in Nashua.
In April 1944 after a vote by the residents at the previous Town Meeting the town purchased the building for $4,000. The intent of this purchase was to donate and dedicate the building to the American Legion in honor and memory of all veterans who have or will serve to defend our country. A condition of this purchase and transfer was that future maintenance and improvements were the responsibility of the American Legion Post 48. In 1954, in order to clean up any question of title, the property was again deeded to the American Legion Post #48 by the town. The earliest photo is of the Odd Fellow’s Building as shown in The History of Hudson C 1912. The later photo is the American Legion Building as shown in the town records.
The door on the left was the entrance to the sixth grade in Sept. 1938 to June of 1939.I have no knowledge whether it was for that year only. I was a student there. Then sept 1939 the new Dr Smith Junior High School opened. Grades 7 thru 9.
Allen, At that time it was still the Odd Fellows Building. I did know the building was used for some of the overflow of classes from Webster School but not sure of the years and the grades. Seeing your reply, it makes sense that it would have been before the Junior High (now H.O. Smith) School was built.