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Main Street Station – Photo by Alice Peavey

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Main Street Station – Photo by Alice Peavey

Walter A. Peavey and his wife Alice were residents of the Crown Hill section of Nashua until 1910 when they, and their five year old son Walter H, purchased a farm and  moved to Central Street in Hudson.   Walter was born in Framingham, MA about 1863; his wife Alice Gorham was native to England  and became a citizen soon after immigrating to this country.
Professionally Walter was a machinist, being employed by Nashua Iron and Steel Co, Nashua Lockshop, and Fiather Machine Shop.  By avocation he was a farmer; growing vegetables and fruits on the fields behind his home.  Besides being a homemaker, Alice was a photographer.  The Historical Society has within it’s collection a number of her photographs of Hudson and Nashua, some of these photos were reproduced from the original glass negatives.
Their son, Walter H. married Julie McAlister of Salem, NH in December 1937.  After their marriage they resided in Hudson with his parents.   In 1978 a number of Alice’s photographs were presented to the society by her son Walter H.
The Peaveys were residents of Central Street in Hudson for 29 years.  He passed in April 1939.  From his obituary we see he was active in the Giddings Brotherhood (Men’s Fellowship) of the Hudson Community Church and Hudson Grange.  The Peaveys remained in Hudson a few yeas after his death.  By March 1942 the Peavey homestead was sold to a young, recently married couple named Leon and Gertrude (Gerri) Hammond.  The Peaveys returned to Nashua; Alice became a resident of the Mary Hunt Home until her passing sometime in the 1950’s.  Walter H. and Julia lived at various locations in Nashua.  During WWII Walter H. enlisted in the Navel Reserve and saw active duty.
This week I share with you one of my favorite photographs by Alice Peavey; the Main Street  Station of the  the Worcester Nashua and Rochester Line of the B & M Railroad  located on the site of the present Citizen’s Bank opposite city hall and near the intersection of East Hollis  and Main Street.   Going west from this station the tracks crossed Main Street just south of the present city hall.  Coming east from this station the tracks ran alongside  East Hollis Street into the Nashua Junction and then continued eastward and crossed the Merrimack into Hudson just a few rods south  of the Taylors Fall Bridge.  From there it took the familiar route into Hudson Center and on to West Windham (Anderson) Station.
Soon after 1940 this station was moved from its location, turned 90 degrees and became an addition to the Yankee Flyer Diner.  I have read that it was still in use 1953 and likely was still standing when the diner was moved to Massachusetts in 1965.  Today the area of the Yankee Flyer is identified with a  large mural.
In the 1990’s the rails were removed and in 2000 the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail opened  on the site of  1.3 miles of track  going west from Main Street.  Coming east into Hudson the rails have been removed and paved  to improve street usage or converted into commercial usage.
This photo of the Main Street Station was taken from a green space, called the railroad garden, between the station and East Hollis Street.  In this photo we are looking west across Main Street.

 

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The Hadley /Willoughby Mill

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“Old Mill” Facing Melendy Road

In his “History of Hudson, NH” Webster states it is impossible to determine when, where, or by whom the first mill was built in our town.  Having said that, he does provide us some insights into where early mills did exist and who may have operated them.  Settlers into this area needed sawed lumber.  Just imagine how impractical it would have been to transport these products from Dunstable, across the Merrimack River with no bridge or ferry.  Standing timber was plentiful and a number of brooks existed to provide the necessary power.  Once their homes were established these settlers would also need a grist mill to grind their corn and grains into flour.  Without a doubt these first mills were established by the early settlers along these streams.

This week we look at  some of the history and background of the mills along Otternick (aka Tarnic or First ) Brook from the outlet of Otternick Pond to Melendy Road.  Tradition claims the earliest mill in this area was built near the outlet of the pond on Otternick Brook about 1710.  There are no records to tell us who the builder was or the exact date.  To put this in perspective:  our town was mostly wilderness.  There were a few settlers mostly along the river on land granted to Joseph Hills.  Three of his grandsons were building the Hills Garrison about this time.  The other garrisons, Blodgett and Taylor, would be built within a few years.
We do know that about 1778 Moses Hadley built a small grist mill and probably a saw mill along this brook, near the site of the earlier mill.  Some 20 years later, about 1798, he purchased the Richard Cutter farm located below this site and along the same brook.  He then built another saw and grist mill.  This site of this mill was on what is now Melendy Road.  Our first photo shows the “Old Mill” just east of the dam which secures the pond behind the mill.  The Hadley mill, built about 1800, remained in operation as late as 1870.  Moses Hadley passes in September 1829 at the age of 79. In 1838 two brothers, Ethan and Mark Willoughby moved into town from Hollis.  They purchased the Hadley mill from Moses’ family and continued its operation.  The location of this dam and old mill (now gone) are at 12 Melendy Road; slightly east of the town’s Pickleball Courts (site of old skate park) at the corner of Central and Melendy.
Moses Hadley lived on what is now Central Street.  From the early town records we see that in 1827 the town of Nottingham West (later Hudson) authorized the laying out of a road from Hamblet Ferry (at what is now the bridge) past Moses Hadley’s place to the North Meeting House in Hudson Center.  This was Central Street and the North Meeting House was located on the site of the present Wattannick Hall.
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The Old Mill from Across Melendy Pond

Our second photo is of the same Hadley mill at about the same time.  From this perspective we are looking across the pond at the opposite side of the old mill.  Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection.  The first was courtesy of Natalie Merrill and the second courtesy of Frank Mooney of Nashua.  Both photos are undated.  The  “Old  Mill” has been gone for a number of years.  If any of our readers know when and under what circumstances the mill or the mill stones were removed please contact Ruth at the Historical Society either by email at HudsonHistorical@live.com or leave a message at 880-2020.
Both of the Willoughby brothers lived nearby.  Mark on Central Street a short distance west of Sunnyside Cemetery.  Ethan lived near the mill on the west bank of the mill pond.
During this time a facility was constructed west of the dam for various manufactures.  About 1858 Daniel L. French and his son Edward Payson built tables and furniture using the business name of French  & Gould.  After several years of success the it was operated by Warren and Jacob Spalding under the name Albert Shedd & Co.  Still later George S. Wood operated these mills and a table shop.  Fires occurred in 1874 and again in 1888, each time it was rebuilt.
By 1892 George O. Sanders purchased the property and built a box shop.  After operating for a few years it burned once more.  Sanders rebuilt and sold the building and  part of the land  to George Melendy; retaining the water rights to the brook and the pond.  Sanders built a large well and pumping station to be utilized by Hudson Water Company which he organized in 1893.
The Melendy Box Company operated for several years and ultimately became property of the Town of Hudson.  The site was used by the Highway Department for the town barn.  When the highway department moved into their new facility on Constitution Drive this area was utilized for a skate park and now for Pickleball.

“Camel’s Hump” – A Favorite Picnic Spot

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Camel’s Hump – A Favorite Picnic Spot

As you were growing up did you have a favorite picnic spot?  Living on a farm near Robinson Pond we, as a family, would often pack a picnic lunch on Sundays, then after church take a short “road trip” for a picnic,relaxation and play before returning home in time for evening chores.  We often visited Butterfield Rock in Windham, the shore line of Robinson Pond near the sawmill (now Sawdust Island) or, when gas was unavailable, hike to the top of the hill above our farmhouse and picnic at our family picnic table.
Early on I was not aware of picnic spots in other parts of town.  Later, as I became active in the Historical Society I listened to Natalie Merrill as she reminisced about one of their favorite spots, “Camels Hump” – a natural formation, near a brook, and close to the Merrimack River.  Local residents in the bridge section of Hudson would visit this spot for an outing.  I did not remember anything about it’s location.
I heard and read about Tarnic Brook, Melendy Brook, and First Brook.  Gradually I learned by reading, listening, and looking at maps that these were just different names for the same brook!   It drained from Tarnic Pond into Melendy Pond (with help from a dam) and from there it meandered past Lowell Road and on to the Merrimack River just south of the right of way for the steam railroad tracks.  The information on “Camels Hump” came together for me a few years back as I was browsing through an old scrapbook which had been donated to the Historical Society.   The following details on “Camels Hump” are taken from an undated and unidentified newspaper article.
One of the prettiest spots in this vicinity for a day’s or a few hours’ outing is the Camel’s Hump.  Located just southeast of the railroad bridge in Hudson.  The brook that winds through the dell is as crooked as the imagination would desire, with its clear sparkling water flowing over rocks and smoothly flowing over shallow sands. In this area the grass grows just high enough for a clean grassy carpet.  The smell of the pine needles gives one a generous appetite.  The place known as “Camels Hump” has the most beautiful mingling of dell, meadow, and hills with cooling shade. As nice as this place is, few know of its of location and rare beauty.
First Brook flows into the Merrimack River a short distance south of the right of way(row) for the former railroad, now the southern section of Merrill Park.  To get to this park turn onto Maple Avenue from Central Street;  Merrill Park is located at the end of the street toward the river.  The entrance to the park is the old right of way for the railroad.  From a June 1981 map of the proposed Merrill Park we see that the park includes this town owned  row  plus two land parcels once owned by the Merrill/Nutting Family; a 6 +/- acre parcel north of the row and a 2 3/4 +/- acre parcel to the south which includes most of  First Brook as it flows into the river.
In today’s busy and fast paced times picnics have morphed into brown bag lunches, take out meals, or back yard barbecues. When was the last time a picnic became became a destination event as opposed to a matter of convenience?   This Post Card of Camel’s Hump  is part of the Historical Society collection.  It was published  by Daniels and Gilbert of the Hudson Bridge area.