Home » 2021

Yearly Archives: 2021

Hudson Schools 300 Years

 HUDSON SCHOOLS

300 YEARS of HISTORY

This exhibit shows 300 years of Hudson school history (1719 – 2021) in 5 segments.  The text with photos for each segment can be downloaded from the home page of RememberHudsonNHWhen.com.

 In the Beginning (1719 – 1890) is displayed in the Dining Room of the Hills House.  It begins with early schooling and the rise of the 10 local school districts and ends with decision by the voters to transition to a unified (town) district under the jurisdiction of a School Board of 3 members. Files for download:

District School Location Map

School Information Blocks

In The Beginning

Typical Schoolhouse

A New Era (1890 – 1934) is displayed in the Meeting Room.  It begins with the first School Board and the building of two new schoolhouses: one in the bridge area on Sanders Street (Webster School) and one at Hudson center on Windham Road (Smith School).  Fire destroyed the Smith School, and it was replaced with a school on Kimball Hill Road (Hudson Center School).  By 1934 Webster School had also endured a fire, rebuilt, and expanded.  Most of the local district schools had been closed; a few were used as needed.  After grade 7 Hudson pupils attended Nashua schools. File for download:

A New Era

Era of Many Changes (1935 – 1970) also in the Meeting Room. The two schoolhouses were at max capacity.  By 1939 Hudson Junior High school was built off School Street.  Growth of the town increased need for more classrooms.  By 1951 the vision of Dr. Alfred Hills was realized when Alvirne opened as a combined Junior/Senior High School.  The junior high building off School Street became an elementary school and renamed H.O. Smith Elementary.  By the close of this era Hudson Memorial School was in use and ready for expansion. File for download:

Era of Many Changes

Achieving Stability (1970 – 2020) also in the Meeting Room.  Hudson continued to grow.  The town purchased St John’s School for an elementary school:  Library Street School.  Later in this era we see the construction of Nottingham West and Hills Garrison Schools. Files for Download:

Achieving Stability

List of Superintendents

Alvirne Story (1920 – 2021) displayed in Meeting Room near the fireplace.  This segment begins with the vision of Dr. Hills in 1920 to the securing of the Hills Family trust funds in 1948, the first graduating class in 1951, fires at the high school and barn, to the expansion and rededication of the Palmer Center. Files for Download:

Alvirne Story

Alvirne Principals

The text with photos for each of these segments can be downloaded from the home page of RememberHudsonNHWhen.com.

Hills House Tours during Old Home Days

Hills House Tours with the customary

scavenger hunt and prizes

AND exhibit

Hudson School History 1719 – 2021

Friday Aug 13 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Saturday Aug 14 3:00 – 8:30 pm

Sunday Aug 14 12:30 – 3:30 pm

$3.00 admission; children under 12 free with adult

Granite Quarry at the Ledges

The Ledges of Hudson

Hudson residents in many neighborhoods have access to trail systems following along and adjacent to cleared spaces beneath power transmission lines. These have been used for decades by children on adventures, pleasure hikers and off-roaders (legally and otherwise.) There is a particular spot where a combination of power lines, cow paths, and discontinued routes from older times branch out from a century-old granite quarry the locals call “The Ledges”. 

 The Ledges are located in the woods northeast beyond Ledge Rd, but trail access was cut off by development long ago. It is well off the power line trails from the substation at the end of Power St. (road gated) where these transmission towers head off in multiple directions to bring electricity to the region. A trail, once a road, from Ledge Rd. to Power St. is in living memory of a few locals. The quarry as it remains today is hard to conceive a more thrilling, if unsafe, playground for youngsters. Stone steps for scrambling up and down 20 feet or more, natural and man-made features inspire the imagination into a pretend house, or a hero’s hideout. A frog pond at the base of a cliff where throughout the spring one can see eggs become tadpoles, then frogs year after year.

 Modern quarry operations cleave monstrous slabs of granite with house-sized chainsaws, and leave tall, smooth cliffs. When in operation from the1800s until the beginning of the 20th century, the technology involved a series of holes likely by steam drill, then splitting off large pieces with what’s known as “feather and wedge”. Of course explosives were also used, scattering large chunks all to be carried away by wagon. Their destination or ultimate use is unfortunately unknown. Granite was and remains a sought-after commodity primarily for building. Foundations to entire structures, seawalls, retaining walls as well as monuments and markers. In viewing, one can see The Ledges was a small operation with its output probably used up locally. What remains are irregular stair-step remnants of stone in an amphitheater arrangement.

 In searching for its history, not a whole lot remains. The Historical Society turned its attention here in response to an inquiry concerning a turn of the century map. As is shown below, when operating, the quarry was referred to as ”Lappre’s Ledge” (1889), then later (1908) “Mcqueston property – Duncklee’s Ledge”. What follows are largely verbatim reported accounts from the Nashua Telegraph. These concern the quarry and surrounding areas, (minimally edited to preserve the character of the original accounts). Excerpts in Italics, Warning: There are some graphic descriptions of accidents:

 Jun 6, 1889 – Hudson – NH – Explosion – Lappre’s Ledge -A man in the act of discharging a blast when a gust of wind blew some of the loose powder upon the fuse and a premature explosion followed. The man with a ton or more of fragments stone, was thrown more than 20 feet into the air. He fell within a few feet of the place where he was standing at the time of the discharge, and strange to say, was not killed. These injuries, however, were of a very serious character. His face badly burned and blistered is a eye so badly injured that the doctor feared he will lose it. His left leg and arm were badly burned and blistered, and the skin pierced and torn by stone. In fact, pieces of stone forced into his leg in several places. Besides this, this watch, which stop at 10:40 AM is rendered worthless, and his clothes torn and set on fire. The man was brought to his home in Nashua where he was attended by a doctor who had no occasion for alarm concerning the patient’s recovery.

 Apr 11, 1894 – Hudson – NH – Wagon accident – Ledge Road – a man was drawing stone from the ledge and loaded his wagon and was on the way out in route to Nashua. The road out of the pit was steep up the hill. His wagon jumped over a large stone and he was thrown from the wagon. He fell under the wheels and died on the scene.

Nov 14, 1907 – Hudson – NH – Explosion with injury – A man working at the LP Dunklee ledge suffered numerous fractures, burns and cuts when he was placing explosives to clear rock and a secondary explosion took place. He died from his injuries 8 days later.   

Apr 11, 1908 – Hudson – NH – Large brush fire – Mcqueston property – Duncklee’s Ledge – The fire was started by brush fire being burned and was spread by the wind. Ten acres were burned before the fire was controlled around noon. At 2pm the flames again reignited and were spreading fast. Over 100 acres burned being the largest fire in (town) history up to that time.  Dec 1, 1962 – Hudson – NH – House fire – Ledge Road -Firefighters responded to the vacant unoccupied home and they when arrived heavy fire was showing from the small building. Before crews could bring the blaze under control the home was destroyed.END Excerpt 

This last item, the house fire was unique in that its location was not on a conventional street, rather a lot immediately adjacent to the quarry. It was inhabited by a reclusive woman until 1959 and abandoned a few years before it burned. As it turned out, this woman owned the quarry site and a considerable amount of the associated land which she sold when she vacated. First hand accounts describe the building as “a shanty” with one witness claiming it was built around a large boulder up through the floor. Plausible speculation is that it was the field office during the quarry’s operation (where a boulder might only make sense). A brief mention in the Dec. 3 ’62 Telegraph states the cause as arson. Ample land in a central area of town can only remain untouched for so long. In the 1980s, the quarry site and surroundings combined for a land sale where over one hundred homes stand today. Preservation efforts are fortunately unnecessary for the Ledges remaining rugged stone in the Granite State. 

Written by Steve Kopiski.  Acknowledgements for research assistance to Ruth Parker, Peter Lindsay and Dave Morin; (HFD Call Records from the Nashua Telegraph.)

THE COMING OF ALVIRNE FOOTBALL

             

     The first Touchdown scored for Alvirne football was on March 4, 1994 at the School District meeting when 450 voters approved the beginning of football at Alvirne.  The final score was 232 in favor and 210 opposed, a mere 22 vote margin. Yes, there had been prior attempts at a football program; one as early as 1967, and many in the 1980’s.    As I researched for this story, I could see that 1994 was different;  the first time that Alvirne school administration officially endorsed the idea even though the School Board and the Budget Committee did not. 

    Alvirne’s enrollment in 1995 made it the seventh largest Class L high school in the state but ranking poorly when it came to competitive athletic programs. This was affecting the students, the school spirit, and even educational and scholarship opportunities for college.   

    Alvirne Athletic Director, Clyde Meyerhoefer, presented a well thought out three-year plan to the voters.  The first year, $63,250 budget, would include equipment for 60 players coaching staff, transportation, and game officials.  The second year, $42,000 budget, would expand the number of players to 80.  The third-year budget would be $32.000.   The program started at the junior varsity (JV) level and expand to the varsity level. Support for football came mostly from towns people who were active in Pop Warner football and who wanted their family members to continue to play the sport even into college.

From Alvirne Yearbook 1996

     Alvirne football began in the fall of 1995.  The 1996 class yearbook proudly recorded the excitement and success of the first Alvirne football team coached by Howard Sobolov to a record of 3 wins and 4 losses.  Alvirne football jersey #22 was retired as a tribute to the mystical 22 vote margin at the 1994 school meeting and successful plan spearheaded led by Clyde Meyerhoefer.  That framed jersey hangs to this day in the office of Karen Bonney, Alvirne Athletic Director.

Retured #22 Jersey

Stadium lights were added to the field complex through the generosity of the Alvirne Trustees by September 1996; thus, enabling the first home game in Alvirne’s history on Friday evening September 13,1996.  It was a rainy cool night and the football fans stood alongside a fence overlooking the field or stood on the back of pick-ups to get the best vantage point.  Bleachers and an announcement booth were added by September 1999.  

Telegraph September 18, 1996

           Over the past 20+ years Alvirne football has had some successes while other years have been more challenging.  At the end of the day, as AD Karren Bonner reflects, it is about providing students the opportunity to represent their school and their community. 

 So, we ask, when did earlier attempts to start a football program occur and why did it take so long to become reality?

        The earliest I found was in 1967. There was no specific warrant to start a football program, a $3,500 line item was included in the annual school budget for football at Alvirne.  This led to much discussion, amendments to the article, and even amendments to the amendments!  After lots of discussion and compromises between the School Board and the Budget Committee, the football program was removed from the budget (and expressly prohibited).  These are the actual words used by the Telegraph reporter about the meeting.  The budget was then approved without football.

      During the next 10 to 15 years there was a lot of competition for money within the School District.  The completion of Memorial School, the athletic field complex at Alvirne, the fire and rebuild of Alvirne, and the growing need for additional elementary classrooms.  During this same time, the annual school budget were often cut by the voters at the annual meetings.

        As we entered the 1980’s there was one attempt with an article in 1981, but it never came to a vote.  Interest picked up again in 1985 with the introduction of two warrant articles requesting permission to start a football program and to raise $50,000 for it. After much discussion, the voters agreed to form a committee to study the possibility and report back at the meeting in 1986.  For the 1986 meeting there was a $790,000 bond issue to expand the physical education facilities at Alvirne.  Football startup was a part of this article. 300 people attended the School district meeting at Memorial School.  In the end this article was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 236 of 58.   Another proposal was presented in 1987 which called for $132,000.  After about 30 minutes of debate this was defeated 298-70.  That brings us up to the successful proposal spearheaded by Clyde Meyerhoefer in 1994.

        That leaves the question “Why did it take so long?”  These past few months I have had occasions to reminisce with some Alvirne alumni.  The question of football and why it took so long often came up.  Many alumni, myself included, remembered hearing that football at Alvirne was forbidden because the Hills Family who donated the money to start the school had a son who was severely injured or killed playing the sport.  Many had heard it, but none could site the source.  My research and the research of many before me have shown this rumor to be false; in fact, Dr. and Mrs. Hills did not have a son.  So, let’s look at some more realistic reasons for the delay.  

       Alvirne began as a small high school in a small town where the initial building was funded by the trust funds of Dr. Hill’s family.  The growth of school enrollment was aided by students from neighboring towns such as Litchfield, Pelham, and Windham.    These neighboring towns paid tuition which helped with the expenses but the decisions for expansion were made by the Hudson voters.  

        As a small school in the 50’s and 60’s we concentrated on basketball, track and field, soccer, and baseball.  Until the mid-60’s and later with the growth of Pop Warner in town football at the high school did not enter the picture.

        There was always competition for school money.  We saw this as we reviewed discussions from the various school district meetings.  I think of the 1967 school meeting where press coverage of the meeting stated that football was removed from the budget and expressly forbidden.  This fact could have fueled the rumor.

       Clyde Meyerhoefer and his family came to Hudson in 1974 when he became a teacher/coach.  He coached many sports including soccer, track, and baseball.  In 1985 he became the Athletic Director, a position he held until 1999 when he moved to Belmont, MA.  He served there for three years before he passed in 2002.  His impact extends far beyond Alvirne.  He was respected locally, at the state and national level for his work as an athletic director.  During his career he was the recipient of many awards, including NH Athletic Director of the Year 3 times.  The NH Athletic Director’s Association continually recognizes his contributions in this state by presenting the Clyde Meyerhoefer Award each year to a NH athletic director with 3 years or less experience.

          Karren Bonney, the present AD, joined the Alvirne staff in 1985 when Clyde became the AD.  When Clyde moved to Belmont in 1999, she was promoted to AD.  To Karen, Clyde has been a special colleague and mentor, even after he moved to Belmont.

       Any reader, especially alumni, who would like to share their memories with this story are encouraged to add their comments by clicking on the comment line at the end of this story.  

        The following sources were used to research for this article:  Hudson School District Annual Reports, Nashua Telegraph, Hudson Litchfield News, Alvirne Yearbooks, as well an inputs from a member of the Meyerhoefer family, and current Alvirne AD, Karen Bonner.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker