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Lowell and Birch Street C1970

               Lowell and Birch Street C 1970

For this week’s photo we are flying low over the southern end of County Road looking west and slightly north onto the intersection of Birch Street with Lowell Road. Today this a busy intersection with traffic signals and stacking lanes. In the 1970’s traffic was flowing quite nicely with a couple of cross walks and a stop sign at the end of Birch Street. The building in the top right is the Hudson Super Duper Market, owned and operated by Bob and Doris Provencal. There was a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in 1972. That same year Bob Provencal was named Grocer of the Year by The NH Grocers Association. Their family of Greg, Donald, and Charlene grew up in the grocery business. Charlene studied floral arrangement and would soon have her own shop. Donald was managing the frozen food department, and Greg was studying business in a local college. By 1972 the Super Duper was aligned with the Piggly Wiggly enterprise. Along with this super market the Shop and Wash and Richard Coiffures were located in this building. Today this building has been reconfigured into Citizens’ Bank, Rite-Aid Pharmacy, and office space for Hudson Chamber of Commerce.

Sharing the same parking space and just off Birch Street is the Hudson Shopping Center. At the time of the photo this was the site of Gio’s Pizza on the Birch Street side with Giovanni’s Blue Whale Restaurant facing Lowell Road. Next to the restaurant was Gosselin’s Pharmacy and then the NH State Liquor Store. Today this is known as T-Bones Plaza. T-Bones moved to Hudson C 1991 and has become a popular place for lunch and dinner with outside dining on the Birch Street side of the building. Other businesses in this complex include Subway, Supercuts, Pleasant Smiles Dental, a Tanning and a Nail Spa.

Birch Street takes a sharp turn behind the Hudson Shopping Center and we get a short glimpse of homes at 11 and 13 Birch. The latter, a brown square shaped home was once located on Lowell Road at the “other” corner with Birch Street where it was home to Etienne and Rose Levesque and family. After his passing the building was moved from Lowell onto Birch street by local contractor John Lester. By 1970 a 3- store front building at 87 Lowell Road was built; the first occupants being Cumberland Farms, Anton’s cleaners, and Russel and Son’s Carpets. Cumberland Farms and Hudson House of Pizza were the occupants in this photo. They remained until just a few years ago; Veria Pizza and Hudson Mini Mart are the current occupants.

Proceeding to the opposite side of Lowell we see the side and back of the home at 88 Lowell. Looking north on Lowell (to your right) is a green space and Second Brook which is visible through the foliage. If you follow the brook toward the river you see it was culverted under the street and parking lot; to emerge again behind the Hudson Shopping Center.

Just north of the brook is the business complex of Hall’s Market and Kay’s Donut and coffee shop. Over time this site has transitioned to Palmer;s Market, Suzie’s Diner, a Hair Salon and a Laundromat. Beyond in the photo we get a glimpse of the Phillips 66 Station; not a Sunoco Station. Prior to 1966 this was the home of Xavier and Exilla Gagnon and family. Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

 

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Search for Rev. Benjamin Dean

The Reverend Benjamin Dean moved to town in April 1828 when he became the pastor of the Baptist Church of Nottingham West (now Hudson). We know only a few details of his life before that time. Born in northwestern Massachusetts about 1793 he was ordained at Swanzy, NH in February 1826. Just prior to Hudson he was serving as an Evangelist for the Baptist Society in Westmoreland, NH. Most of his time with the Hudson church was a dark and difficult time. In less than 2 years his connection with the church was terminated as he was deposed by an ecclesiastical council and excluded from the church for immoral conduct. I have no further details about the claims brought against him. To Mr. Dean’s credit it is only fair to say that by 1834 he made a public concession of his wrongdoing and asked forgiveness of both the Baptist and the Presbyterians. You see, at that time both churches were worshipping in two meeting houses at different times; the North meeting house (near Wattannick Hall) and the South meeting house (near Blodgett Cemetery). A short while later he was restored to membership in the Baptist Church; he never returned to the ministry but did reside and work in the Hudson Center community.

Benjamin Dean House on Hamblet Avenue C 1942

The Benjamin Dean house which was located on Hamblet Avenue is known as “The House Twice Moved”. This house was built by Abraham Page in 1747 on the Bush Hill Road and it later became a part of the Haselton Farm. By 1836 the owner, Benjamin Dean, moved the house down to Hudson Center on the east side of the Hudson Center common and a short distance from the North Meeting house where he had once preached. He married Betsey Hadley of Hudson in 1843. The US Census records, and the 1855 Diary of Eli Hamblett give us a sense of Hudson Center at the time. Eli and Benjamin were neighbors, owning the only houses on Hamblett Avenue. Dean often worked for Hamblet in exchange for farm produce. Agricultural lectures and school were sometimes held in Deans Hall; a large room with an arched ceiling on the second floor of Dean’s home.

The census records gave me a clue that he passed between 1850 and 1860. Whenever I searched for his date of death and where he was interred, I hit a brick wall. As it turns out he passed in December 14, 1856 and was interred in the early potter’s section of Westview Cemetery; burial places set aside for the indigent. The “rest of this story” has more to do with how this information made itself known to me than the facts themselves! The information came from two documents; one a part of the Historical Society collection and the second the old Westview Cemetery record book.

From a work ledger (1840 to 1865) kept by Eli Hamblet I learned that on December 14, 1856 he recorded a charge of $1.40 against the Estate of Benjamin Dean for taking his team to Nashua for a coffin and for sexton duties. Since Hamblet had a definite connection with Westview Cemetery I had reason to think Rev. Dean was buried there. This work document came into possession of the Society just a few years ago; it had been in a private collection and the donor wished that it be returned to this town!! Later, while doing some cemetery research on lot 76 (the Simpson family lot) I had reason to look up that lot in the old record book. Two thirds of the present day lot were once a part of the potter’s field which had remained unused except for one grave, that of Rev. Benjamin Dean. This fact had been lost from the records when the new book was started about 1900. I quickly looked at the layout of lot 76 in the current record book. The center of the lot shows the outline of the Simpson family monument superimposed over an outline of a coffin. I knew where Rev Dean was laid to rest! This information has been incorporated into the current cemetery records and steps will be taken for the site to be marked.

The (unmarked) Grave Site of Rev. Dean

A dear friend of mine once said, “if you are looking for information about someone and that person (past or present) wished to be discovered they will assist you by making the information available to you. This may seem “spookey” but in this case with Rev. Dean this omen is true! The photo of the Dean House is from the collection of the Historical Society. That of the gravesite was taken by the author.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revisit Sidney Gowing Farmhouse C 1917

Sidney Gowing Farmhouse C 1917 Lowell Rd at Gowing Corners

This house was located on Lowell Road opposite the intersection with Wason Road. This area was known as Gowing Corner.

This 1917 photo of the Sidney Gowing Farmhouse, located at Gowing Corners, was taken by a traveling photographer from Derry, NH just about one year before Sidney passed. Sidney and Clementine (Fuller) Gowing raised a family of 2 sons (Edwin E, and Percy S.) and 3 daughters (Mabel, Eva, and Josie). Sidney, with his family and hired laborers, operated a market garden beginning as early as his marriage to Clementine in 1881. After Sidney passed in 1918, Clementine, his wife, and later Mabel, their oldest daughter continued to operate the farm until about 1950. In 1939, after Clementine passed, ownership of the property was transferred to Mabel.

In July 1958 Mabel moved to Central Street and sold the property to Gerard and Medora Viens. Mabel continued to live at Central Street until she passed in 1969. From 1958 until about 1973 the Gowing farmhouse was used as a residence or for rental units. In 1973 the building was demolished to make way for an industrial park.

At least a portion of this Gowing Farm was part of the original Thomas Pollard, Jr. farm which was settled about 1731-32. Between the Gowing and Pollard families the property was owned by James Palmer and Mr. Richardson and by Rodney Fuller. Over the years this section of Lowell Road had become known as “Gowing Corner”; located at the intersection of Lowell and Wason Roads. Flagstone Drive and the industrial park opposite Wason Road did not exist; in fact that was the industrial park which emerged from the Gowing farm. Based upon discussions with Eleanor (Gowing) Freeman and my own memory, the Gowing farmhouse was located on the right of way for Flagstone Drive and what is now Dunkin Donuts. To challenge your memory even further do you remember Bank East; a commercial bank located where Dunkin Donuts is now!! Photo from the Historical Society Collection. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

George O. Sanders

               George O. Sanders C 1890

George O. Sanders began his career as a carpenter, builder, and architect. He left the area for a few years working under contract designing and constructing for the railroad. Returning to the Hudson/Nashua area he immediately established himself as a manufacturer and soon became one of the more progressive businessmen in the area.

George O. Sanders was born in 1851, the oldest son of Abi and Palmyra (Whittemore) Sanders who were married in Hudson January 1850. Their early married life was spent in Hudson and Windham moving to Nashua when George was six years old. Abi established himself as a carpenter and builder. George attended the public schools of Nashua and finished his education at Crosby’s Literary Institution. At the age of 17 he apprenticed the carpenter trade with his father who had become a well known builder in Nashua. George had two younger brothers; James born in 1854, and Fred born in 1869.

By 1972 21-year old George had purchased property in Hudson from Kimball Webster and within a year started building his own residence on the west side of Derry Street at the corner of what is now Haverhill Street. He finished his fine Victorian residence in two years. This residence was immediately recognized for it’s splendor, being one of the finest homes built in Hudson. By means of a windmill he provided a water source for his home from a well in his front yard. The George O. Sanders home, later owned by Harry Kenrick, is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places and known to us as the Lenny Smith House.

By 1878, George having proven his capabilities as a builder acquired ‘go west’ fever and followed the railroad to Atchison, KS where for the next four years he built bridges, stations, stores and engine houses on contract for Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe and the Union Pacific railroads. He even printed a brochure to advertise his building expertise to the Atchison area. He returned to Hudson and married Linda Thomas, a Hudson native, in November 1882. They settled in his Victorian home on Derry Street. Linda’s wedding outfit is a part of the collection of the Historical Society.

Wedding Outfit of Linda (Thomas) Sanders

Using his knowledge and experience he immediately started a wood product which within 8 years would be one of the most successful and growing industries in the Nashua area. Working quietly and efficiently George began to clear and grade a 7 acre tract located in Nashua near the junction of the Nashua and the Merrimack rivers. He then erected a steam saw mill and box factory. He quietly and shrewdly kept developing his plant for the best and most productive result. He added a planning operatoon which was connected directly to the railroad by a private track which he layed at his own expense and for his exclusive use. His facility was totally destroyed by fire in October 1889. Despite the heavy loss he set about rebuilding and within 7 days part of his mill was up and running and completely rebuilt by January 1890. His new mill was lighted by electricity, heated, and equipped with a sprinkler system. From this facility he produced a variety of wood based products and offered the sale of fine lumber. He was able to offer employment to over 60 men.

Expanding his manufacturing interests into Hudson George purchased several acres and water rights from the old Hadley-Willoughby site on Tarnic Brook (Melendy Brook). He build al box shop and operated it for a few years when it was wiped out by a fire in December 1892. This was yet another big financial loss for George. He rebuilt it and sold to Mr. Melendy; retaining the water rites and much of the land.

In the spring of 1891 George purchased land from Nathan Cummings at the height of land on Highland Street. Here he erected a stand pipe and began to install water works in a small way; mainly to supple his own buildings; but, at the request of some of his neighbors he was induced to enlarge the facility to serve them as well. He extended a pipe through the river to his plant in Nashua. By 1893 the Hudson Water Works Company was incorporated with George as president and his wife Linda as Treasurer. Water from this source was used for only a few years as it was of poor quality. This was about the time he had purchased the water rights at Tarnic Brook. He conveyed land and water rites to the water company for use as large wells and pumping station. Sometime before June 1901 the water works was sold to parties in Boston. They failed to be successful and George again became principal stock holder. By July 1903 ownership had been transferred to parties in Maine and incorporated as Hudson Water Company.

During this time period George combined his manufacturing interests in Nashua and Hudson with the American Bobbin Syndicate which was similar to a conglomerate of many businesses brought together to form one larger company. Given his current losses resulting from recent fires and his need to meet payroll and show a profit, this may have appealed to him as a wise business decision. He received stock and bonds in the new company in exchange for the property and business. In addition George became a director and manager of the box department of this new venture. The American Bobbin Syndicate found it more and more difficult to make a profit, resulting in George assuming more and more responsibility for these losses. Ultimately his property was subject to foreclosure; including his residence on Derry Road. By October 1904 his fine Victorian home was sold at public auction for $3,540. It was purchased by Harry Kendrick, the sole bidder. Kendrick owned the property until the mid 1940’s when it was purchased by Lenny Smith.

Soon after this George moved from Hudson. Little else is known about his activities until February 1915 when he established a new company to produce an additive for cement to keep it from freezing. George passed in October 1921 at the age of 70 while living in Boston. He was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery in Hudson.

Before leaving the story of the Sanders family in Hudson there are a few side points to make. In 1885 brother James began to build a row of houses on the south side of Ferry Street. By 1889 he had built 3; by 1890 he had 5; and by 1892 we see there were 9. To this date some 5 of these homes remain. James is known to have retired as a farmer in the south part of Hudson near the ‘limit’ or the five cent limit on the trolley.

By 1891 George had come into possession of the triangular piece of land we now know of as Library Park. He paid a large price for this land, about $1.300. He had it plotted into several building lots and offered them for sale but did not sell any. Several years later the title was acquired by parties in Nashua who again offered lots for sale. Two of these were sold and one house started before the Hills Family arraigned for its purchase for Library Park.

George did purchase land for and built the block, Sanders Block, as five tenements at the corner of Highland and Sanders (now Library) street in 1891.

In 1890 Abi Sanders built himself a home on Baker Street where he and his wife resided until June 1905 when it was sold. Abi passed December 1907 in Nashua at which time he and his wife Palymyra were residents of the Hunt Community iin Nashua.  Researched and written by Ruth Parker.

Dr. Adoniram Judson Greeley

Book Plate for Greeley Public Library

History has informed us about the Greeley Public Library but this week we look at the man behind this library, Adoniram Judson “AJ” Greeley, MD.

A Hudson native he was the oldest son of Joanna (Merrill) and Reuben Greeley. Reuben owned a farm in Hudson Center adjacent to the Town Common; a prominent leader in town he served as postmaster, town clerk, selectman, representative to the legislature and an early members of the First Baptist Church. AJ’s mother, Joanna, was born in Sedgwick, Maine where her father, Rev. Daniel Merrill, was the pastor of the local church. Rev. Merrill served in the Revolution and graduated from Dartmouth College. He first served as a Congregational pastor but converted to Baptist and became a leader in the Baptist movement in New England. Rev. Merrill and his family moved to Hudson, then Nottingham West, in 1814 when he accepted the call to be the pastor of the Baptist Church here in Hudson. One could say the rest is history as Reuben, a prominent young man, and Joanna, the pastor’s daughter, were married in Hudson November 1817.

In September of the following year their first child was born and named Adoniram Judson Greeley in honor of the first protestant missionary sent from North America to serve in Burma. He was a New Englander and a Baptist, so it was natural that Reuben and Joanna named their first son in his honor.

AJ’s childhood home exists today at 234 Central Street, the parsonage of the First Baptist Church with the church located next door at the corner of Greeley and Central Streets. Much of the land surrounding 234 Central was Reuben’s farm; including the site of the church, and extending up Greeley Street and west along Central Street. During these early years the Baptists met in the north meetinghouse located near the site of the present Wattannick Hall. The Baptist meetinghouse was not built until 1842 when AJ was 24 years old. Neither did the church have a parsonage, Rev. Merrill and his family occupied a home on Kimball Hill Road.

AJ’s early education was from his parents and a local one room district school; most likely district #4 located on Kimball Hill Road. His high school education was at the Academy and Theological Institution in New-Hampton, NH. Following high school he attended Brown University in Rhode Island graduating in 1841. He then did medical studies at Harvard and received his MD in 1845. He practiced medicine in Searsmount, ME for about 10 years moving to Clinton, MA for a short period and then settled in or near Providence, RI area where he practiced nearly 40 years until his sudden and unexpected death in 1893.

In addition to medicine he had an advocation for antiquity. He traveled to various countries and was particularly knowledgeable about Europe and Egypt. He was known to have a sizeable estate which included his personal library of nearly 3000 books. In his will he bequeathed some 500 volumes to the town of Hudson for a library.

Dr. A. J. Greeley died unexpectedly at the age of 74. He was found unconscious in his office and passed away the next morning at a local hospital. A local police officer was doing rounds and noticed a trail of blood outside in his doorway. He followed the bloody trail to the doctor’s office where he was found unconscious. At first his passing was considered an accident, suffering head injuries as the result of a fall. Dr. Greeley did leave a blood stained note instructing whoever found it to get in touch with his brother, H.C. Greeley, the executor of his will. Following his death and an examination of his body the medical examiner declared his injuries were not consistent with an accident and his death was considered a homicide. The theory being he was attacked during a robbery as he was known to carry money on his person. It is unclear if anyone was prosecuted for this crime.

Monument for Family of Reuben and Joanna Greeley

The rest is history. His brother was the executor of his estate. Through AJ’s generosity and the generosity of his heirs nearly 2000 volumes of his books came to Hudson over the next few months to form the nucleus of the Greeley Public Library. A.J. himself was returned to his hometown where he was laid to rest in the family lot in Westview Cemetery along with his parents and four of his siblings. Our first photo is of the book plate of the Greeley Public Library showing the early method for cataloging books. The second photo shows Dr. A. J. Greeley’s memorial in Westview Cemetery.

Revisit Jette Farm at 117 Lowell Road

117 Lowell Road Jette Farm 1950

 

The Jette farmhouse is located at 117 Lowell Road and has been owned by Wesley Tate since 2004. He operates Jette Farm Auto Repair and Restoration at that location.

Edmond L. Jette and Rose M. Boissoneault married in August of 1933 and lived on the Litchfield Road in Hudson. By 1944 their family had grown to include five children and they needed more space. They then purchased a farm house as well as 30+ acres of farmland. Edmond was a machinist as well as a great father and farmer. Rose took great pride in her family and was always pleasant and friendly to everyone she met.

In 1944, the farm at what is now 117 Lowell Road was owned by the Pelletier family. It would soon be known to all as The Jette’s Garden Farm. Fresh vegetables were harvested and sold daily by a large and loving family. Edmond, Rose, and ultimately, all ten children worked hard together. Cows were milked for cream, milk, and butter. These items for the family were also swapped for chickens and eggs from their neighbors, the Maynard family.

 

                                Jette Field

In 1971, 59 year old Edmond passed away. Rose was left to care for her family and continue the farm stand as well as operating her weekend garage sale. Rose, in memory of her husband and the children in memory of their father, donated some of the farmland off County Road to The Town of Hudson. Today, close to a fenced in baseball diamond, there is a granite memorial identifying Jette Field; a great gesture and memory for all to enjoy. The plow on the marker symbolizes Edmond’s love of the land. In the spring of 2013, 102 year old Fernand, brother of Edmond, threw out the first pitch to begin the baseball season.

Over the years family members tapped from the trees seen in front of the house. Sap was boiled down maple syrup was made by and for family members.

You can still drive by 117 Lowell Road and look upon the old homestead as it stands today. The farmland was sold when Rose downsized. Rose passed away in 1996. Although you are driving by the old farm land for memories, much of it has evolved into Fox Hollow as well as Teledyne, the memories are never to be forgotten. Thanks to Angela Rose (Jette) Dickman, grandaughter of Rose and Edmond, for the memories and photo of 117 Lowell Road.  Written by Ruth Parker.

Planning for and Constructing Hills Memorial Library

Architects Drawing

Hills Memorial Library at the corner of Library and Ferry Streets was dedicated June 11, 1909 and opened for the first day on June 12. Let’s look at the history behind the planning and construction of the library which served our town for over 100 years.

Prior to June 1909 our town library, The Greeley Public Library, was located on the third floor (Webster Hall) of the Baker Brothers Building on Central Street; named for Dr. Adoniran Judson Greeley a Hudson native. By his will and the generosity of his heirs some 1,878 books from his private collection were selected for the library. This library was organized in 1894 and was located at the home of George A. Merrill on Maple Avenue for about one year. The books were then moved to the third floor of the Baker Building on Central Street where it remained for some 14 years. During these years the ‘bridge section’ of our town was growing! The bridge to Nashua plus three trolley lines were transforming the Bridge Area into the business center of Hudson.

In July 1903, almost 6 years before the opening of the Hills Library, Kimball Webster purchased land at the corner of Ferry and Sanders (now Library) Streets from the Nashua Coal and Ice Company. Yes, an icehouse did exist on the lot at the time. Webster realized the need for a permanent and centrally located building and realized that suitable sites were being taken up for other purposes and prices were increasing. He purchased this lot with the intent of having it for a library building when the time came. He gifted it to the town in September 1904 with well considered stipulations. The lot was for a library building facing Sanders Street with no buildings between it and the street. The town had the obligation to erect a reasonable and respectable building. In no case was the town ever to sell, dispose or convey these premises or any part to any person or corporation. If sold or attempted to sell the land would immediately revert to the donor or his estate.

With this gift the town was assured of a prime location for a library and waited for a proper building!! Hudson did not have long to wait. The right people were Dr. Alfred K. Hills, his wife Ida Virginia, and her mother Mary Creutzborg.

Dr. Hills was born in Hudson, October 1840, to Alden and Nancy (Currier) Kimball Hills. Alden was a direct descendent of James Hills who, with his brothers, were the first settlers of this town. Dr. Hills married Martha P. Simmons, June 1865. She passed in June 1885; they had no children. Soon thereafter in June 1887 he married Ida Virginia Creutzborg of Philadelphia. Dr. Hills purchased his family homestead on Derry Road, where he built their summer residence which he named “Alvirne”. It was here that he and his wife spent the summer seasons for many years, residing in New York during the winter. They had two daughters who passed in infancy. Mrs. Hills passed I May 1908.

Mrs. Hills was an educated and refined lady with a happy and cheerful disposition with a generous, philanthropic nature and prominent in town for more than 20 years. Dr. and Mrs. Hills had a vision to erect a building for a town library. His own library at “Alvirne”, a product of Mrs. Hills’ brain in conjunction with their architect Hubert Ripley, was a working model for such a building.

Soon after her passing Dr. Hills proceeded with her wishes. Working with the architect plans were made for a building of stone which would be ornamental and convenient. A plan was presented to the selectmen with the request they call a special town meeting for its consideration. Here, on September 1, 1908 the town voted to accept the gift from Dr. Hills. In essence he would build the library at his expense which would be essentially like the sketch presented at the meeting. This sketch is a part of the collection of the Historical Society. Named “Hills Memorial Library”, it would be built on the lot previously donated by the Honorable Kimball Webster, house the collection of the Greeley library and be maintained by the town as long as it exists. Construction began in October of 1908.

In a report to the town in early November 1908 Dr. Hills acknowledged the thanks and well wishes of the people. With the passing of his wife that same year, their planned gift would occur earlier than expected. He also announced that he would be joined in the endeavor by Ids Virginia’s mother. With solid progress so early it was his hope that the roof would be on by the end of the fall so that interior work could occur during the winter months. On June 11, 1909, the twenty-second anniversary of Dr. Alfred Hills and Ida Virginia Creutzborg, the Hills Memorial Library was dedicated. It was opened for the first exchange of books on June 12, 1909.

Hill Under Construction Fall 1908

 

The second photo shows the construction crew on the unfinished steps of the library. The roof is complete or nearly completed. I date this photo as late all 1908.

By the early 1980’s the expansion of the library services began to outgrow the capacity of the building. These pressures were eased by a bookmobile in 1977 and later with two satellite buildings in the rear of the main building. Attempts were made to expand the building but the plans did not get the approval of the voters. In 2007 a donation from the Rodgers Brothers was made and graciously accepted for a new library facility in memory of their parents, George and Ella M. Rodgers.

In 1984 the Hills Memorial Library Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 2012 added to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places.

In preparing this article I have relied upon various sources: History of Hudson, Documentation presented for inclusion on the National Register, Library history prepared by Laurie Jasper, and newspaper articles from the Nashua Telegraph.  Written by Ruth Parker and edited by Steve Kopiski.