214 Central (Formerly Hudson Furniture)
Do your memories of Central Street along Route 111 in Hudson Center include Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions operated by Joseph and Ann Gagnon? Shopping for a dining room set, a sofa for your living room, or a comfortable chair for the den? Hudson Furniture offered a display of options with the convenience of local shopping.
Joseph (Joe) Gagnon purchased the Lester Gove residence in May 1969 and was soon operating Hudson Furniture. A few years later, as the adjacent residential property of Berkley Swinertin at 216 Central became available, Ann and Joe Gagnon made that purchase along with a smaller parcel from a local real estate agent. Gagnon then consolidated the three parcels and subdivided into two parcels. The first contained two plus acres and the preexisting buildings; Hudson Furniture and the dwelling from the Swinertin home. This dwelling would soon become Home Fashions. The second parcel was a small lot adjacent to Merrill Brook; over time this retail lot was used for Parent Farm Stand and other sellers.
216 Central (Formerly Home Fashions)
Hudson Furniture and Home Fashions operated until the mid 1990’s. By1998 ownership transferred to the present owner, Justine Mary Holdings, Inc. who operates them as multiple unit commercial properties. These units are now home to a variety of businesses including iRoof, Northern Dynamics, Shattuck Rug and Flooring, Daigle Pools, Home Town Butcher, and a Tattoo Parlor.
216 Central C1955
Looking into the history of this site we find that in 1858 there were two significant land owners on this part of Central Street. Joseph Merrill, a farmer, and his wife Nancy (Baldwin) Merrill lived adjacent to the brook which now has his name, Merrill Brook. Joseph passed in June 1872 and his widow, Nancy resided on the homestead until she passed in 1897 at the age of 87.
The second landowner, M. Griffin, had a homestead west of the Joseph Merrill home. The Griffin home was located on what is now 200 Central Street (currently a vacant lot) . By the early 1870’s Charles C. Parker, a bookseller and publisher from Nashua, purchased the Griffin homestead. Charles and his wife Lydia (Batchelder) Parker moved to Hudson center where they raised their family of 3 sons (Clarence Charles, George Henry, and Ernest) and 1 daughter (Lydia). By 1897 Charles Parker also purchased the Merrill homestead from the estate of Nancy Merrill. The Merrill home remained in the Parker family until July 1958; passing from Charles C. to his granddaughters, Florence and Ernestine about 1945. The home was used as a rental unit until about 1955. The family of Otis and Julia Barr resided there for some years up to 1955. Julia is remembered today for her hair dressing salon operated in the ell of this home. In 1955 the home was transferred to Raymond Parker, Ernestine’s son, at the time of his marriage to June (Brickett) Parker. At the time Ray was recently discharged from the Army and was working for a car dealership in Nashua. He was spending spare time remodeling, painting, and wallpapering his future home. Ray and June lived here for the first three years of their married life before moving to another house in Hudson as their first child Kathy was to be born in February 1958. From July 1958 until consolidation by Joe Gagnon this parcel was home to and owned by a number of families: Halthwaite/Stone, McInnis/Sullivan, and Swinerton.
As stated, the Lester Gove residence was purchased by Joe Gagnon and morphed into Hudson Furnatire about 1969. Mr. Gove and his family had lived there since the early 1940’s; purchasing the home from George H. Parker, Jr a grandson of Charles C. Parker. This home had been known as the Woods House prior to purchase by Lester Gove.
As we stand across Central Street today and look at the buildings on 216-214 and lean back to get a good look at the old roof line behind the commercial facade, we do see a reminder of the previous residences and history along this section of Central Street. The 1955 photograph is courtesy of June (Mrs. Raymond) Parker and her daughter, Kathy. The 2010 photo were taken by the author.