Webster St North from Ferry St C 1920
In 1893 the horse drawn trolley line from Nashua came across the Taylor Falls Bridge and ended at the Hudson side of the bridge. Hudson businessmen and residents encouraged the transit company to extend the line further into the streets of town. By 1895 the line was reorganized as an electric railway and the line extended into Hudson on Central Street, and down Lowell Road. At the same time the iron bridge, built 14 years earlier was repaired and strengthened to withstand the extra weight of the engines and the increased traffic.
In 1902 a second line was extended onto Ferry Street to Hudson Center and then on to Pelham and Salem. In 1907 a third line was completed also traveling on the bridge into Post Office Square. Rather than continuing on Ferry Street this line made a sharp turn northward along Webster Street towards Manchester. Some of the tracks for this line were on the street right of way but many ran off road in open fields or wooded areas. A trip from Taylor Falls Bridge to Manchester took 45 minutes and the fare was 20 cents.
A business area developed near the bridge. As you crossed from Nashua you could take a left onto Ferry or a right onto Central Street. If you turned left there was a business block on your left known as Martin (later Connell) Block. This was an apartment building and location of Daniels and Gilbert Grain and Grocery, Later this was location of a small garage and the 20th Century Store. After passing this block one came to Webster Street, a left turn from Ferry Street. In the late 1960’s, to make way for the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (northern span) this entire block and other buildings in the area were demolished. The northern span was built just north of the old Taylor Falls Bridge at about the same location as this Martin Block. A a result in Webster Street ending at a turn around at the Ferry Street end. Today you can exit from Ferry onto Webster; but cannot enter Ferry from Webster Street.
In the early 1900’s Hudson had a police court with George W. Clyde and Nathaniel Wentworth acting as judges. There was a small grainery on the bank of the Merrimack River off Webster Street which also served as a house of detention (jail) for individuals until they were released or transported to Nashua for longer stays and more secure accommodations.
This brings us to this week’s photo of Webster Street, looking north, just after the intersection with Ferry Street C 1920. Along the left of Webster Street are the tracks of the trolley which went north to Manchester. Think of the sharp turn the trolley car(s) made after leaving the bridge, stopping at the transfer station to leave and/or pick up passengers, then making the turn onto Webster street and heading north.
The small building on the left is the grainery which history tells us was also used as the local jail. You may ask what became of the jail? According to the Town Report for the year ending 1918 the town paid Law and Ingham $13.00 to move a safe and cells. Did not state where they were moved from or to. Also, a brief article in the February 19, 1918 edition of the Nashua Telegraph tells us that a young man named Roland Abbott had plans to repair and remodel the building and use it as a club house for the young people of Hudson. It is doubtful that this club house ever became a reality. We do know the building was later moved to Ferry Street, placed on a foundation and used as part of the dwelling at what is now 88 Ferry Street. At the time of this move the property was owned by Nathen Cummings. Some residents of today may remember it as the home of Clayton and Victoria Smith. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.