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Baptist Church Sanctuary

sanctuary 1888 (2)

Sanctuary C 1888

When the Baptist Meeting House in Hudson Center was built in 1841 it included four walls with windows on probably three sides, a balcony, chimney, one or two wood burning stoves, a platform, a pulpit set, and pews.  The pews were of the square box type and had been carried over from the North Meeting House.  Pews were individually owned and passed down by deed. Likely the balcony was open overlooking the sanctuary and enclosed later to conserve heat.  You may ask about the steeple.  It was part of the early building as evidenced by the bell.  The first bell, donated by Deacon Moses Greeley,  cracked and was replaced in 1847 by the present bell.  At first stringed instruments were used to provide the music.  They were replaced by a pump organ about 1850.  At that time a young doctor in town, Dr. David O. Smith, also served as music director for the church.
Various modifications to the sanctuary have occurred since 1841, but the most notable of these occurred in 1888 when the church received the gift of the Woodbury and Harris tracker organ from Dr. David O. Smith.  In order to house this organ an alcove was added to the front of the sanctuary.  At the same time extensive changes to modernize the sanctuary were made.
The new organ became the centerpiece of the sanctuary with the large archway for the pipes and the console for the organist.  Behind the scenes were doors through which one could enter into the organ.  The doorway on the left side was most important.  As the church did not have electricity a ‘blow boy’ would enter into the organ in order to exercise the pump handle to place air into the organ pipes.  This practice continued into the 1920’s when the organ was electrified.
Other improvements included colored glass windows, a new pulpit set, an updated platform, and new modern pews.  These pews were said to be of the newest type available at the time.  The pulpit set,  windows, and pews are a part of the sanctuary at the present time.  The platform has had various minor changes made to it through the years.  Our first photo show the interior of the church sanctuary C 1888 shortly after the dedication of the new organ and the re-dedication of the sanctuary in April 1888.  Lighting was done by gas; note the center chandelier in the sanctuary.  Also the ceiling is not the steel ceiling of today; this was added about 1905.
Before we ‘fast forward’ to the present time let me make a comment about baptisms.    Prior to 1900 there was no baptistery within the church.  Baptisms occurred at a local lake; Ottarnic or Robinson Pond.  Our church has had 3 baptistries.  The first installed about 1900 and the third C1965 to the left of the organ as a memorial to Deacon Arthur M. Smith.  The mural for the baptistery was painted by Phyllis Moore.
For the past 10 plus years the church at Hudson Center has engaged in a number of building improvements; some of which paved the way for more visible renovations to the sanctuary.  The earliest of these was the replacement of the steeple.  The original steeple was removed in 2000 and for many years we were without a steeple.  As funds and an able contractor became available the steeple was replaced in 2006.  The second major improvement came with the restoration of  the colored sanctuary windows; again as money became available each window was removed, restored, and returned to it’s original place.  The third improvement was to upgrade our heating system and the installation of central air for the sanctuary.  These improvements were completed in 2014.
With these infrastructural items completed it became possible to plan for more visual enhancements to the sanctuary. A Sanctuary Refurbishment committee was organized by the congregation.  The first project is to update and enlarge the platform.  After a planning period and architectural drawing of the proposed platform, see photo,  construction work began  In February 2018.  The goals are to enlarge and modernize the platform, improve access to it and the organ console, and to make sure it was structurally sound.  The construction work is being done by volunteers from the church and the community under the leadership of Richard Tassi as the architect.
FBC platform 2018

Proposed Platform 2018

Follow-on projects will include painting of walls and ceiling, lighting, flooring, and more comfortable seating.  The schedule for these projects is open and will be planned when resources are available.
The Baptist Church in Hudson Center has served our community and our Lord for over 200 years.  The building at 236 Central Street is an historic building.   It is interesting and important that while making these plans for the future we are able to reflect on our past.
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Revisit Hudson Center …Town House Hudson Center

1977001003s

Town House Hudson Center

This Town House was the second building on this site. The first was the North Meeting House used by the Presbyterians as early as 1771; later shared with the Baptists. By 1811 ownership of the land and buildings were conveyed to the Baptist Society. The pews were not involved in the transaction as they were privately owned. After the Baptist Meeting House was built in 1841 this property was transferred to the Town of Hudson.
In 1857 Hudson contracted with William Anderson of Windham to erect this Town House on the site of the Old North Meeting House in Hudson Center. The North Meeting House was deeded to the town by the Baptist Society after The Baptist Church was completed in 1841. Town meetings were held here until the mid 1930’s when there was a desire among the town people to hold meetings at the bridge area. Wattannick Grange held their meetings here from its organization. In 1963 the town authorized the sale of the building to Wattannick Grange. To the right of the Town House is Harvey Lewis’ Coal Grain and Grocery; on the left and rear is the B&M Railroad Depot. Today, now that Hudson and Wattannick Granges have merged, this building is known as Wattannick Hall the home of Hudson Grange No 11. Photo from the Historical Society collection.

200 Central Street – The Parker House

200 Central c1895

200 Central St C 1895

The house at 200 Central Street in Hudson Center is known to many as the home of Florence Parker, her sister Ernestine, and Ernestine’s son Raymond Parker. They were the oldest daughters of Rev. Clarence Charles and Hattie (Robinson) Parker. As a pastor Rev Parker served in Nottingham, NH, East Hampton, MA, Bolton, CN, and Post Mills, VT. Their mother, Hattie, passed in April 1912 at the age of 42 while they were serving a church in VT. In addition to her husband she was survived by eight children ranging in age from 3 to 15 years. There were 6 daughters (Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, Mildred, Helen, and Alice) and 2 sons (Charles and Lehsten who was also known as Erich. After Hattie passed her eight children returned to Hudson to reside with either their Parker or their Robinson family. Florence, Ernestine, Ruby, and Erich lived with their Parker grandparents, Lydia (Batchelder) and Charles Clarence Parker in this very house. Mildred lived with a neighbor and aunt, Lillian (Parker) Smith. Charles, Helen, and Alice went to live with their Robinson grandparents on Robinson Road.

So, this house was home to Florence and Ernestine from 1912 until they passed. Florence passed in 1977 just short of her 80th birthday; Ernestine in 1990 at the age of 91. Of the other siblings who also lived here Ruby died at the age of 20 and Erich married Almina Bassett and they moved elsewhere in the area.

Professionally Florence was a school teacher in Hudson for more than 40 years, mostly at the Center School on Kimball Hill Road. She received her training from Nashua High School and Keene Normal School. Florence had a natural aptitude for teaching and received many awards and recognitions. The photo shows Florence as she received the Teacher of the Year Award just prior to her retirement.

Florence with award

Florence With Award

Ernestine commuted to Nashua and was employed for many years in the mills in Nashua. As a young adult Ernestine enjoyed visiting with her brother Charlie on the Robinson Farm.  This photo shows Ernestine and Charlie C 1920.

Charlie and Ernestine c1920

Ernestine and Charlie C1920

By the middle 1950’s the Parkers had reconfigured their home to include a gift shop on the front of their house facing Central Street. From this shop they sold some very fine pieces of glassware as well as souvenirs of Benson’s and Hudson. This shop continued to operate into the early 1970’s.

Both sisters had a talent for the arts and crafts. An untold number of scarfs, sweaters, and mittens were distributed to Hudson children that originated from the needles and hands of Florence or Ernestine. Florence caned chair seats, even into her later years with failing eyesight. Ernestine’s specialty, especially in her younger years, was quilting. I have seen some phenomenal original quilt patterns which she has designed and made.

They were both active with the Baptist Church at the Center. Ernestine served for many years as a financial officer and teacher in the Sunday school. Florence served as the church organist for years.

Before opening their home in 1912 to their grandchildren, Charles Clarence Parker and his wife Lydia Lowe Batchelder had already raised their own family. He was born in Warren, NH in May 1852 a son of Rev. Lafayette and Hannah Wyman Parker. He came to Nashua as a student in the Crosby school. For 30 years he worked diligently compiling and publishing a dictionary of the English language. While engaged in this work he had a book store on Main Street in Nashua.

He married Lydia Lowe Batchelder August 1873. She was born in Hudson May 1852 a daughter to Mark Batchelder and Lydia Steele. Charles and Lydia settled and raised their family in Hudson; spending most if not all of their married life in this house on Central Street. Their oldest Clarence Charles was born April 1874. He was 38 years old when his wife Hattie passed leaving him with 8 children between the ages of 3 and 15. Their second child and only daughter, Lillie Jane,was born July 1877. She married a neighbor, Herbert Newton Smith and resided next door to her parents. Their second son George Henry was born October 1879. He married Edith Snow of Hudson. Their third son Ernest Josiah was born August 1883 and died young at the age of 15. The 1895 photo of the house includes the family of Charles C. and Lydia. From left to right we have Ernest with his dog, Clarence in the grass, Charles seated, Lydia, and Lillie Jane.

Members of the Parker family owned this house at 200 Central Street as early as March 1870 when Daniel Marshall, administrator for the estate of Moses Griffin, sold it at public auction to Josephine Parker in order to settle claims against the estate. A few years later it was transferred to Lafayette Washington Parker, the father of Charles Clarence. It is probable that Charles Clarence and Lydia moved into this house soon after their marriage even though some other member of the Parker family owned it. He did take title to the house in January 1887 after the death of his father Lafayette. Charles retained title until his death in November 1936.

By the will of Charles Clarence the title of this house was transferred to Florence and Ernestine. By 1989 Ernestine entered a local nursing home. Her son Raymond acting as her power of attorney sold the property to Randy Turmel and Kevin Slattery. Soon after thereafter fire destroyed the building. The property remains idle and is available for sale.

It is difficult to determine the age of the house. We do know that in 1858 it was the home of Moses and Dolly Griffin. In 1856, Moses Griffin of Somerville, MA purchased an acre parcel with building from Olivia Tenney. No clues who may have lived here. Moses passed at the age of 69 in July 1858 and was survived by his widow, Dolly, a son, George, and three daughters; Francis, Rachel, and Louisa Ann. He was predeceased by a daughter also named Louisa Ann who passed at the age of 2 prior to their move to Hudson. Dolly continued to reside in the home. After her death it was sold at public auction to settle the estate. Moses and Dolly are interned in their family plot in Westview Cemetery near their Hudson home.

 

Baptist Church at Hudson Center

HBC c1905
Back in the days before oil (and later gas) furnaces the church was heated by wood stoves and later by wood furnaces.  Parishioners would volunteer to provide adequate cord wood for  the purpose.  The wood furnace I remember was located in the dirt cellar under the sanctuary and heat rose into the floor of the sanctuary via a large pipe.  We would cluster around this heat vent for extra warmth on cold Sundays. 
The First Baptist Church of Hudson was organized in 1805 at the home of Thomas Senter on at what is now the Old Derry Road near the Londonderry Line.  For the first 37 years services were held in members’ homes or at the North Meeting House located just east of the Town House.  The sanctuary of this church at the corner of Central and Greeley Streets was constructed in 1842.  In 1888 a short alcove was added to house the new organ; then, in 1897 the large vestry was added.  This photo was probably taken at the time of the centennial celebration of the church in 1905.  Over these years the exterior of the building has not changed significantly except  for replacing the original steeple which was completed  in 2007.  To the left of the church we see part of the Greeley/Wentworth home, now the church parsonage.   The stacks of wood seen here are were used to heat the building.  The dirt roadway in front of the church is either Central Street or a short cut from Central Street to Greeley Street.  Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.