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The Walker/Campbell/Crooker Home at 13 Webster

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Campbell House front view undated

James Gerry “JG” Walker was born in New York, NY October 1842.  He served with Company K, 12th NY Regiment during the Civil War.  By 1870 “JG”, his wife Mary and 5 year old son Gerry, had  moved to Hudson.  Possibly joining them on this move were his parents and a brother.  By 1873 “JG” had purchased a building lot from Kimball Webster and built a single story home on the east side of Webster Street.  “JG” had a long career in the lumber industry as a sawyer and surveyor of lumber.
During their marriage “JG” and Mary had three children.  Gerry born about 1865 in NY and two daughters born in Hudson;  Sadie (born about 1872)  and Grace (born about 1879).
“JG” participated in the affairs of town and of the Methodist Episcopal (M-E) Church.  He served as Town Clerk in the mid 1870’s and as selectman in the mid 1880’s.  For his church he served on various committees; including the parsonage building committee where he served  with the pastor, Rev. Farnsworth, Augustus Blodgett, and Kimball Webster  This is the committee which contracted with Isaac Newton Smith to build the church parsonage at the corner of Highland and Baker Streets.
By 1898 “JG” had enlarged his Webster Street home by adding  second story.  This was done by jacking up the existing home and adding a story underneath.  The previous first floor and porch became the second floor and porch.  This helps to explain why there are identical porches on each story of the house.
“JG” passed in December 1916 at the age of 74 after a 46 year residency on Webster Street.  His funeral  was held  from his home by the Rev. Roy Honneywell of the M-E church.  He was survived by Mary, his wife of 50 years and by Mr and Mrs Jerry Walker, and a daughter Mrs. Grace Schurman.
His widow, Mary continued to live in the Webster Street home until July 1919 when she sold the homestead to Charles Edward Campbell.  Mary rented a home on Pelham Road until she passed in 1928.  She was laid to rest with her husband in the family plot of Hills Farm Cemetery behind the Alvirne Chapel.
Our first photo (undated) shows the Walker/Campbell Home front view.  We get a clear picture of the two story porch and of the barn on the south side of the house.
The history of the Charles Edward Campbell family begins in Bass River, Nova Scotia, Canada with his birth in September 1866.  In 1885 at the age of 19 Charles immigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen by 1910.  In June 1893 he married Anne Maria Knight a native of the Boston area.   Soon after their marriage they moved to Nashua and began their large family. They remained in Nashua until about 1904 when they moved to Hudson, possible on or near Lowell Road.  The family moved into their Webster Street home in 1919 after Charles Edward purchased it from Mary Walker.   He was employed clerk in a railroad freight office.  During their marriage I can identify 10 children; 5 of whom were born while they lived in Nashua and 5 after they moved to Hudson.  The children born to Charles Edwad and Anne Maria in Nashua are:  Oscar Joseph (b:1893), Madaline Viola (b:1895), Erma Francis (b:1900), Velma Onaita (b:1901), and Genevieve (b:1904).  Those born after moving to Hudson are Ruth Marion and Ruby Merriam (twins born and died in 1905), Marjorie (b:1907), Everett Cecil (b:1908) and Virginia (b:1913).
Of the 8 surviving children Oscar, Erma Frances, Velma, and Genevieve are the most significant to the ongoing history of the Campbell Home on Webster Street as they lived most, if not all, of their adult life at 13 Webster.
As a 23 year old single man Oscar J. registered for the World War draft in 1917.  At that time he was employed as a machinist in Worcester, MA.  After discharge from the service he continued to work in the mechanical engineering field; often commuting to employment out of the state.  By 1940 Oscar, his wife Mary Kathleen Warton, and 2 children were residing on the second floor of Campbell homestead.  Oscar J passed in December 1970 while a patient at the Veterans Hospital in Manchester.  He was survived by his wife, a son, Charles Bernard, and 2 daughters, Marilyn Louise Lindwell and Judy Fisher.  Charles Bernard resided in China Lake, Ca; Marilyn Louise resided in Fullerton, Ca; and Judy resided in Toledo, OR.
Erma Francis  resided at the Webster Street home from the time of purchase in 1919 until she passed in December 1978 at the age of 78.  After attending schools in Hudson and Nashua High, she was employed for many years as a clerk for an insurance office.  Likewise, Genevieve resided on Webster Street from purchase in 1919 until she passed in 1978 at age 74.  After attending school she worked for years as a school secretary at Nashua High.
Velma Onaita likewise attended Hudson schools and Nashua High.  She worked as a clerk for the street railway as early as age 18.  Velma was a sociable young lady; attending and participating in plays and attending theaters in Nashua.  She used the street railroad for transportation to Nashua and Manchester for both work and pleasure.  By 1925 she had met and became engaged to Jonathan MacIntyre of Nashua.  They were married August 31, 1925 by clergy David MacIntyre, father of the groom.  Following their marriage they lived at or near Arlington Street in Nashua.  They had a son Donald (b:1927), and two daughters; Onaita (b:1929) and Genevieve (b:1930).  Jonathan and Velma Onaita were divorced in 1933.  Following the divorce Velma and her family returned to live at the Campbell house on Webster Street. As time progressed Donald MacIntye married Arlene Gagnon of Hudson and Onaita Macintyre married Hayden Tibbets.
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Campbell House side view 1920’s

Our second photo shows a side view, looking south, of the Campbell House in the 1920’s.  Webster Street is a dirt road and in the lower right corner we see the street railway tracks for the Manchester Line. Both photos are from the Historical Society collection.
Charles Edward passed March 1938 at the age of 71 following a 45 year career as a railroad worker and 53 years in the  United States.  For the  last 19 years he resided at 13 Webster,   His funeral took place at the Pilgrim Church in Nashua.  He was laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery along with his twin daughters Ruth and Ruby.
As administrator of her father’s estate Erma Francis transferred title of all property owned by Charles Edward to her mother, Annie.  In addition to the homestead he purchased from Mary Walker  this included two additional land parcels which Charles had purchased.  Annie retained title of all the real estate until February 1951 when she transferred ownership to her daughter Erma Francis.
Sisters Erma Francs, Velma Onaita  MacIntyre, and Genevieve continued to reside in their Webster Street home.  In 1978, Erma transferred title to the next generation of Campbell’s:  the son and daughter of Velma Onaita:  Donald MacIntye and Onaita Tibbets along with their respective spouses.  Erma and Genevieve passed at different times in 1978; Velma passed in 1979.
In February 1988 ownership of the Campbell home was transferred away from the family.  Following periods of short time ownerships, vacancies,  and mortgage foreclosures the 13 Webster Street home was purchased by the Crooker Family in 1993.  It is presently home to Ann, Jim, and Sam Crooker.  They love their home and cannot imagine living elsewhere at this time even though the maintenance and upkeep on an old house becomes a labor of love.
In 2017 the Historical Society was contacted by Hayden Tibbetts in regard to diaries kept by Velma Campbell and Jonathan MacIntyre for the years 1922 – 1925.  It is interesting that we have a “his” and a “her” diary for the year 1925, the year of their marriage.

Memories of the 1936 Flood

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West Hollis and Bridge Streets 1936

The great flood of 1936 struck both the Nashua and the Hudson side of the Taylor Falls Bridge. By mid March the accumulation of winter snow to the north and west along with warmer weather and heavy rains caused the Nashua and Merrimack Rivers to peak beyond flood stage. The rivers were rising fast and carrying large ice cakes. Flood stage on the Nashua side was reached by Sunday, March 15 including flooding along East Hollis and Bridge Streets. For a short time the water receded and the danger seemed to have passed; but by Wednesday, March 18, there were threats of more heavy rain and warmer weather. The Merrimack River was again rising fast at a foot an hour. During the next few days flood conditions existed along Litchfield Road, Webster Street, Post Office Square at the bridge, and south of the square to Maple Avenue and parts of Riverside near Lowell Road. By Saturday, March 21, flooding had peaked, water began to recede and the worst was over. It wold take months to clean up and recover from the damage and debris left behind.

From her home at 1 School Street, atop Campbell Avenue, Hazel Buxton (Mrs. Paul) was able to observe much of the flood activity in Post Office Square and Webster Street. Hazel kept a diary during the three worst days of the flood. This diary was later transcribed and placed on file at the Historical Society. Paul worked for the Public Service Company in Nashua and was stranded on the Nashua side during most of the flood.

On Thursday morning, March 19, the Telegraph reported the bridge was closed to traffic. Bridge and East Hollis Streets (Nashua) had 5 feet of water. On the Hudson side, Paradise Park (aka Paradise on the Merrimack) was flooded and families were being rescued from their homes in boats. The gas supply into Hudson was shut off and the red Cross was “at the ready” to offer help. Hudson pupils were unable to attend Nashua High. There was no gas with which to prepare breakfast. Hazel and her children (Elizabeth age 16 and Robert C age 8) walked from their home, down Campbell Avenue to and across the bridge. They watch as boats were carrying residents from East Hollis Street to dry land. Water had reached the tops of front door steps and beyond. Water was rising rapidly and the reports on the radio were alarming. Families along the Litchfield Road and Webster Street were being evacuated. Our first photo shows West Hollis and Bridge Streets at this time.

When they returned home Hazel placed some potatoes in the coal furnace to bake. By 2:00 pm the power was off. Neighbors were helping each other; sharing extra kerosene and lamps. The power plant off Bridge Street in Nashua was abandoned. The Nashua River was overflowed. Families in Hudson ate supper by lamps or candles. The Hudson fire trucks were used to barricade access to the bridge on Ferry and Central Streets.

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Flooding at Post Square from Central Street

On Friday morning she learned from neighbors that the bread truck had arrived at Baker’s Store on Central Street. The delivery was made by men wading through water in their rubber boots. By this time the water is pouring over the railings on the bridge. Our second photo was taken from Central Street near Baker’s Store looking down onto the flooding over the bridge and in the square. We see men in the streets wearing rubber boots; perhaps delivering bread and food to Bakers Store.

As Hazel looked down Campbell Avenue she saw a barn sailing from East Hollis Street down river and soon heard a crash as the barn hit the Rochester railroad bridge. Hazel and the children walked around Central Street to Reed Street and could see water had flooded the lower end of Maple Avenue. Water was pouring through the coal cars on the bridge. The old toll house from the Nashua side of the bridge had also gone down river and came to rest near the barn.

There was no phone service. Water from Webster Street was now connected with the flood water in the square. Ferry Street was roped off at Library Street and Central Street was closed at the Odd Fellows Building. Hazel was able to use the police phone to learn that her husband, Paul, was safe in the second floor of the Belvedere School in Nashua (now a small park on Bridge Street). He would be removed as soon as possible; but, as of now the school was surrounded by water from both rivers.

By noon water was rushing across the square from Webster Street and all houses on Webster were flooded, including that of Kimball Webster. Many people were out and about. They watched a large barn come down river, rise and crash into the bridge, splintering in seconds. Debris popped up on the other side of the bridge. All kinds of debris hit the bridge, sucked under by the current and later popped up on the south side of the bridge in pieces. A small building with a stove pipe resembling a person hits. A bunch of railroad ties come down with thuds and loud reports as they hit the bridge.

By early afternoon news arrives that her husband Paul, and other Public Service Company employees are safe at an uptown office. The Hudson Community Church open for shelter, warmth, and food. Meals were served all day. Women used wood fires in the ranges. Donations were accepted for flood relief.

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Flooding of River onto Litchfield Road

By 5:00pm water was receding. Friends drove them up to Elm Avenue and they found the water up to the front door of the Hardy farm, now home to Bernard and Elaine Brody. The Garrison farm was also flooded. Soon people were beginning to relax as the worst was over. Our third photo shows the flooding of homes along Litchfield Road.

Come Saturday there were many hours and weeks of cleanup before normalcy could be restored. All canned goods and preserved were thrown out after the cellars were pumped out and disinfected. Floors were warped, furniture ruined. Electricity, gas service, and telephone had to be restored. All photos are from the Historical Society Collection.

 

Water Towers on Highland Street

Standpipe On Highland Street

The first water storage and delivery system in Hudson was this wooden standpipe at the height of land at what is now 30 Highland Street.  The concept is fairly simple.  Water is pumped  into this vertical standpipe, stored; as needed the water  flows by gravity to the home or buildings in the area. This standpipe was constructed by George O. Sanders as early as 1891 to supply water to his buildings in Hudson and Nashua.
     Sanders was born in Hudson and at age 6, moved to Nashua with his parents.  His dad was a well known contractor in Nashua from whom he learned the trade by serving as an apprentice at the age of 17.  In 1873 he selected a prominent site in Hudson and proceeded to build what is known, even today, as one of the finest residences in Hudson.  It remains today; the elegant Victorian overlooking Library Park at the corner of Derry and Highland Streets.
      In 1882 he established himself in business in Nashua.  He purchased a parcel of land near the junction of the Nashua and Merrimack Rivers and soon had a sawmill and box factory.
     At first, Sanders supplied water to his residence from a well with a windmill operating along side his home.  In need of water for his factory as well as his residence he built the standpipe and power station on Highland Street.  He then pumped water from Little Tarnic Pond (aka Swamp Pond) into the standpipe to provide this water. He laid pipes from the standpipe under Highland and Derry to reach his residence.   To reach his buildings in Nashua pipes were laid in the river. He also extended the pipes to provide water to a few of his neighbors.  The first distribution of water through these pipes was in 1891.  Our first photo was taken as you proceed up Highland from Derry street.  The standpipe, on your left, is located on what is now 30 Haverhill Street.  Note that Highland is a dirt road and there are but a few homes in the area.
     The Hudson Water Works Company (HWWC) was organized in he spring of 1893.  After a short time the water from Little Tarnic contained sediment and was unsatisfactory for domestic use.  About this same time Sanders purchased a number of acres and  water rights along Tarnic Brook and what is  now Melendy Road. He transferred a part of this land to HWWC for a large well  and a pumping station.  Pipes were laid under Central Street and connected with the former system of pipes.  Water from this new well was pumped into the standpipe by a circuitous route.
   About 1901 the HWWC was sold to parties in Boston.  They failed to make the business successful and Sanders again became principle owner.  By 1903 all, or nearly all stock was transferred to parties in Portland, ME and by 1905 the Hudson Water Company(HWC) was incorporated.

Steel Water Tower from Highland C1978

     The vertical standpipe at the corner of Highland and Haverhill continued to operate by Hudson Water Company until a  water tower was planned and built in 1939.    This replacement was located across Highland from the standpipe.  According to a February 6, 1939 article in the Nashua Telegraph this new water tower was made of welded steel, stood 85 feet above it’s footings, weighed 65 tons, and had a storage capacity of 240,000 gallons!  This provided a 10 lb increase in pressure to  existing customers and extended to potential service area to 1/2 mile beyond the Hudson Town Hall at Hudson Center, now Wattannick Hall.   This tower was equipped with a gauge on it’s south side, making it possible to determine the amount of water in the tank from Ferry Street.  We have two photos of this steel tower.  The first shows the 85 foot tower and was taken from across Highland Street.  The second shows the tower from the intersection of Ferry and  Second Streets, looking between 66 and 68 Ferry at the tower.

Steel Water Tower from Ferry C1978

     Once the new tower was planned the land parcel upon which the standpipe sat was sold by HWC to Helen and Ray House, with the understanding that the old standpipe was to be removed before May 1939.  This new tower remained in use by HWC into the late 1970’s, perhaps as late as 1978; at which time it was demolished.  The photos of the tower shown here were actually taken by the author a the time of demolition.  Before this demolition a third water tower was built on a hill above Belknap Road at Gordon Heights.
     As time went on the HWC morphed into Consumer NH Water Company.  Then, in January 1998 at a special town meeting, the voters of Hudson authorized the acquisition of the water system from Consumer NH.  As a result of this action Hudson has it’s own water utility and Water Utility Department.
     My thanks to Gerald Winslow and Lionel Boucher for adding insight to this story. Jerry moved, with his parents, into his house on Highland Street, adjacent to the steel tower, in 1940.  I was curious if the younger generation rose to the challenge of climbing the tower or decorating it for Halloween. He replied, “not too often”.  However, he did remember that “Nick” Connell had an annual practice when he returned home to Hudson after wintering in California.  He climbed the tower and proceeded to do hand stands on the top.  What a site that must have been!!  Lionel worked a a building contractor in Hudson; he worked on the removal of the old standpipe and the construction of the home at 30 Highland Street for Mr. and Mrs. House.

 

“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.

Disasters known as “Freshets” and Fires

This week a brief look at the floods of 1896 and 1936 as well as the Crown Hill Fire in 1930 and how Hudson residents became spectators to these events.

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Flood Watching on Iron Bridge 1896

 

Floods, or ‘freshets’ as referred to by Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson, were common events along the Merrimack River and were recorded in his history of our town. This is particularly true in the bridge area with the mouth of the Nashua River just a few rods to the north. Coupling this with the spring rain fall along with snow and ice melting from the north and west contributes to flooding and the potential for the destruction of property. In the 1800’s notable freshets were recorded in 1818, 1824, 1839, 1841, 1843, 1852, and 1862. In April 1895 a freshet occurred which raised the river to a higher point than any for many years. The east bank of the Merrimack opposite the Nashua River overflowed and covered land along Webster Street.

Our first photograph shows residents of Hudson watching the flood water of the river from the recently constructed iron bridge during the freshet of March 1896. Just before midnight on March 2 the river gained its highest point and began, slowly at first, to recede. The weather turned colder the next day allowing the water to fall very rapidly. At the highest point the water covered all of Webster Street directly west of Kimball Webster’s house. The flood water rose to within six feet, six and one half inches from the underpinning of his house near the front door. Near the iron bridge the surface of the flood was between three and four feet below the floor of the bridge.

On Sunday May 4, 1930, in the early years of the depression, many Nashua residents were suddenly made homeless by a huge fire which destroyed the Crown Hill residential area. This area was East Hollis and Allds Streets eastward to the bank of the Merrimack River, just a short distance south of the Taylor Falls bridge in the area of the railroad bridge.

The blaze began in a trestle of the B & M Railroad where it spanned the Nashua River off Temple Street. High winds escalated the blaze and carried the fire across Temple, down Spruce, and across East Hollis Streets to the Crown Hill area. Fire equipment from surrounding towns in both New Hampshire and Mass. came to assist. Individual residents pitched in with bucket brigades, shovels of dirt, and even blankets. In the end some 400 homes were destroyed and that section of Nashua reduced to wasteland. Most of the property owners had little or no insurance. One year after this disaster more than 400 homes were rebuilt and the area was making a comeback with new zoning and wider streets.

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Hudson Residents Viewing Crown Hill Fire 1930

Homes and property in Hudson were protected from the spreading blaze by the Merrimack River; although there were some instances where sparks jumped the river, due to the severe winds, and had to be extinguished. As shown in our second photo, some Hudson residents set up their chairs along the Hudson side of the river and became spectators to the fire.

In March 1936 the most severe flood for this area occurred. By Thursday morning, March 19, the Taylor Falls Bridge was closed to traffic as the banks of the Merrimack were overflowing with tons of water on both sides of the river. At 7:00 A.M. the river was rising at the rate four feet per hour. Residents living near the bridge were forced to evacuate. Officers were stationed at both ends of the bridge to stop traffic.

Families along Webster Street and Litchfield Road were evacuated. The Paradise section near the river (Kenyon, Merrimack and Federal Streets) was completely flooded and the fire department evacuated residents by boats. In the areas mentioned, water rose to the first floor windows.Extensive flooding occurred at all homes along the Webster Street and Litchfield Road.

During the height of the flooding, a log coming down the river did so with such force that it banged head long into the railing of the cement Taylor Falls Bridge. This left a permanent hole in the railing, removing the concrete, and showing only the underlying mesh. From that day until the removal of the bridge, the damage was never repaired. It remained as a reminder of the of the potential force of the river current.

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Flood Waters 1936

Again, our fellow residents of town chose to walk on the bridge and observe the flood water barreling into the bridge on it;s north side. Needless to say, this occurred either before or after the height of the flood. Water was ether receding or still trying to reach it’s maximum height. Our third photo shows Hudson residents leaning over the north side of the bridge as the flood water approached the bridge.

B+M Railroad Bridge blasted by Army manuevers – Dec 1942

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B+M Railroad Bridge Crossing Into Hudson – 1938

 

The Worcester, Nashua, and Portland line of the Boston and Maine Railroad began operation through Hudson in 1874 and continued until abandoned in the early 1940’s. The railroad line entered Hudson by crossing the Merrimack River just south of the present Taylor Falls bridge between Nashua and Hudson. The line then took a gradual north and easterly path to Hudson Center and then on to West Windham.

The original wooden railroad bridge was completely destroyed by fire in June 1909 when sparks from an east bound freight train ignited one of the timbers. The resulting blaze was so spectacular that an estimated 1,000 folks in the area watch the blaze against the midnight sky. The destruction of this bridge seriously interfered with the traffic between Worcester and Portland; some 32 trains per day used this bridge daily along the single track line to West Windham and Portland. A temporary bridge was put in place within a week and a replacement steel bridge was completed in record time.

By December of 1942 the days of this line had ended. It was decided to use this steel railroad bridge for army maneuvers. On Saturday December 26, 1942 two preliminary blasts of dynamite were set off near the Nashua side of the bridge. These were staged to acquaint the military unit with the explosives. A detail from Maryland was delegated for this task. According to the Nashua Telegraph the Army Engineers planned at some later time to conduct extensive maneuvers ending with the blowing up of the bridge. According to officials of the railroad, the railroad bridge had been turned over to the U.S. Army about one month earlier.

These explosions occurred without warning to or previous planning with local officials. The first blast consisted of 50 pounds and a second of 150 pounds. Residents of the Crown Hill section of Nashua as well as of the Hudson Bridge area were frightened and hundreds of phone calls were made to police and fire headquarters as well as to the local paper. The resulting explosions rocked houses and blew out hundreds of panes of glass. Many residents were in a near panic and several women were hysterical.

Complaints and protests occurred on both sides of the river. Scores of residents from Crown Hill district reported window broken and other damage. On the Hudson side many windows were blown in and plaster was shaken down in many of the homes. Significant damage was reported to the windows and frames of the Hudson Community Church. The effects of the blasts were felt as far away and Benson’s Animal Farm in Hudson Center.

Needless to say both Nashua and Hudson officials registered their protests through Senators Bridges and Tobey. The senators conducted an investigation into the blasts. Army personnel from Fort Belvoir, MD as well as First Corps Area were called back for the session. First Army Corps of Boston claimed they had no prior knowledge of the maneuvers. No advance warning of the blasts had been given. Much, of the damage and emotions could have been controlled with advance knowledge of the blasts and simply opening the windows just prior to the last. Army officials met with Hudson Selectmen and property owners in order to access the damage. Shortly thereafter forms were provided to the property owners for reimbursement of damages. Reimbursement for at least part of the damages by the U.S. government did occur up to 1 year later.

Once the Senators and officials from Nashua and Hudson learned that these blasts were preliminary to blowing up the bridge with a 500 pound charge at some future time an official protest to further blasting was registered. It was pointed out that it made more sense to salvage the bridge for scrap material for the war effort than to blast it and sink it into the river.

 

In October 1943 salvaging of the bridge began when Governor of New Hampshire, Robert C. Blood, applied the torch to the first steel girder of the old railroad bridge. In the end, 500 tons of steel were scrapped and turned over to the State Salvage Commission to be used in the making of war materials. By January 1944 the old railroad bridge was gone. All that remains of this bridge today are the old abutments in the river, visible just south of the Taylor Falls Bridge.

This photo is from the Historical Society collection. It shows the railroad bridge during the hurricane of 1938; just a few years before the army maneuvers to blast the bridge. In this photo a train was stationed on the bridge during the hurricane to stabilize the bridge. Details of the blasts, resulting damage, and the probes were reported in the Nashua Telegraph for Monday December 28, 1942.

Webster Street looking North C 1920

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Webster St North from Ferry St C 1920

In 1893 the horse drawn trolley line from Nashua came across the Taylor Falls Bridge and ended at the Hudson side of the bridge.  Hudson businessmen and residents encouraged the transit company to extend the line further into the streets of town.  By 1895 the line was reorganized as an electric railway and the line extended into Hudson on Central Street, and down Lowell Road.  At the same time the iron bridge, built 14 years earlier was repaired and strengthened to withstand the extra weight of the engines and the increased traffic.
In 1902 a second  line was extended onto Ferry Street to Hudson Center and then on to Pelham and Salem.  In 1907 a third line was completed also traveling on the bridge into Post Office Square.  Rather than continuing on Ferry Street this line made a sharp turn northward along Webster Street towards Manchester.  Some of the tracks for this line were on the street right of way but many ran off road in open fields or wooded areas.  A trip from Taylor Falls Bridge to Manchester took 45 minutes and the fare was 20 cents.
A business area developed near the bridge.  As you crossed from Nashua you could take a left onto Ferry or a right onto Central Street.  If you turned left  there was a business block on your left known as Martin (later Connell) Block.  This was an apartment building and location of Daniels and Gilbert Grain and Grocery,  Later this was location of a small garage and the 20th Century Store.  After passing this block one came to Webster Street, a left turn from Ferry Street.  In the late 1960’s, to make way for the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (northern span) this entire block and other buildings in the area were demolished.  The northern span was built just north of the old Taylor Falls Bridge at about the same location as this Martin Block.  A a result  in Webster Street ending at a turn around at the Ferry Street end.  Today you can exit from Ferry onto Webster; but cannot enter Ferry from Webster Street.
In the early 1900’s Hudson had a police court  with George W. Clyde and Nathaniel Wentworth acting as judges.  There was a small grainery on the bank of the Merrimack River off Webster Street which also served as a house of detention (jail) for individuals until they were released or transported to Nashua for longer stays and more secure accommodations.

This brings us to this week’s photo of Webster Street, looking north, just after the intersection with Ferry Street C 1920.  Along the left of Webster Street are the  tracks of the trolley which went north to Manchester.  Think of the sharp turn the trolley car(s) made after leaving the bridge, stopping at the transfer station to leave and/or pick up passengers, then making the turn onto Webster street and heading north.

The small building on the left is the grainery which history tells us was also used as the local jail.  You may ask what became of the jail?  According to the Town Report for the year ending 1918 the town paid Law and Ingham $13.00 to move a safe and cells.  Did not state where they were moved from or to.  Also, a brief article in the February 19, 1918 edition of the Nashua Telegraph tells us that a young man named Roland Abbott had plans to repair and remodel the building and use it as a club house for the young people of Hudson.  It is doubtful that this club house ever became a reality.  We do know the building was later moved to Ferry Street, placed on a foundation and used as part of the dwelling at what is now 88 Ferry Street. At the time of this move the property was owned by Nathen Cummings.  Some residents of today may remember it as the home of Clayton and Victoria Smith.  Photo from the Historical Society Collection.

Aerial View Fulton and Reed Streets C 1955

 

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Aerial View Fulton, Reed, Central Streets C 1955

If you live in the vicinity of Maple Avenue, Reed, Fulton, and Central Street you may well be able to locate your home on this C 1955 aerial photograph. Based upon our accession records at the Historical Society this photo was taken C 1955 from an aircraft owned by Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems of Nashua). The lack of foliage on the trees during the winter months increased the visibility of the buildings from the air. The aircraft was flying in a south easterly direction over this area.

If we look to the left of center the easiest building to locate is the American Legion building at the corner of Central and Fulton Streets at 37 Central. Opposite Fulton at Central is the beginning of Chase Street. We can see the homes from 43 Central westerly toward Maple Avenue and the bridge; including homes to 16 Central Street. The Hudson Community Church (Brick Church) is not shown but you can see the shadow of the church building on Central Street and the home opposite the church. At the time of this photo this home was known as the Dudley/Emerson House; home of Deputy Harry Emerson; a 50 year member of the Hudson Fire Department. In the late 1960’s this home and other homes in the area of Central and Ferry Streets were razed in order to improve access to and egress from the Veteran’s Memorial and New Taylor Falls Bridges. This lot remained empty until 2016 at which time the property was sold and a duplex house is now being built on this site.

Between 27 and 25 Central we see Maple Avenue going southerly past the intersection with Reed Street on the left and on toward what is now Merrill Park on the right and near the edge of the Merrimack River. At the end of Maple Avenue is the remains of the right of way for the steam railroad used by residents to make a connection with the southern end of Fulton Street. Another easy to identify landmark is at the corner of Maple and Reed Street. This house is the former Merrill Family Home. Known to many as the home of Marjorie and Natalie Merrill and a previous site of Hudson’s Town Library.

Returning on Fulton Street towards Central we see most of Reed Street running parallel with Central and extending towards Gillis Street on the upper left of the photo. As we move away from the bridge area we can identify a number of undeveloped lots and open space beyond Gillis and Reed Streets.

One final street to locate is the beginning of School Street just at the intersection with Cummings Street as shown on the lower left in the photo. Easily identified are the homes of Paul and Hazel Buxton and their family on School Street; and the former home of Dr. William Quigley and his family facing the intersection with Cummings Street. The Buxton Family has (and is) serving the town in a number of areas; including Fire Department, Historical Society, and Hills Memorial Library. Dr. Quigley provided medical services to Hudson and Hudson Schools. This photo is from the collection at the Historical Society.

World War II Honor Roll and War Memorial

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WW II Honor Roll at Library Park

 

Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 the registration of young men for the draft was begun by the Draft Board of Exeter, NH. Registration of Hudson men was held in February 1942 in the lower room of the Hills Memorial Library. Males between 18 and 45 were registered and classified. The total population of our town was then about 3,400.

Members of the American Legion Post No. 48 constructed an honor roll on the east side near Library Street) of Library Park in 1942. As individual men and women entered the service their name was added to the honor roll. As the number of service men increased the initial honor roll board became filled and was replaced by a larger one. The Post Commander, Webster W. White, and a committee of three members, Robert Pratt, Chairman, Paul Buxton, and Harold Farnum with cooperation of the Town Clerk were responsible for the posting of names.The earliest photo shown here is that of the World War II honor roll with some 368+/- names as listed in the Town Report for the year ending January 31, 1944. After the hostilities ended in 1945 this honor roll remained in place on Library Park. Just how long it remained, I am not sure. After it was removed there was no War Memorial for veterans of World War II or any subsequent wars or conflicts until August 1991 when the American Legion erected the present War Memorial.

War Memorial 2016

War Memorial 2016

The Hudson Veterans War Memorial is in honor all who have honorable served in our armed forced, both living and deceased, during all conflicts of our great nation. This project was started in 1989 and authorized by the veterans group in early 1990. Past Post Commander “Billy” Mitchel promoted the original concept, which was further refined by other post members. As with most projects of this magnitude, help from many sources were needed. Mr. James Arsenault designed the center of the monument, Hudson Monument Company was contracted for the stones and artwork. Employees of the Hudson Public Works Department volunteered services for the groundwork, concrete was provided by Brox Industrues, and Hudson Paving Company formed the foundation. The completed memorial was dedicated Sunday August 18, 1991 as part of Hudson’s Old Home Days. Both photos are from the collection of the Historical Society.

Methodist-Episcopal Church

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Methodist Episcopal Church C 1912

If you identified this week’s photo as an early picture of the Hudson Community Church, you are partially correct! This photo was taken circa 1910 and at that time this building was the Second Meeting House of the First Methodist Society of Hudson. It was built and dedicated in 1880. So, where was the First Methodist Meeting House and what happened to it?
The Methodist Episcopal Society in Hudson was organized in 1840. For about 10 years prior to that date a number of townspeople were embracing the religious opinions of the Methodists. Many were attending services in Nashua as there was no settled minister in this part of town; and from time to time a Methodist preacher would lecture in Hudson. The interest grew and in 1839 the Rev. Jared Perkins, the Methodist minister from Nashua came to Hudson and lectured in the No 4 schoolhouse, near Blodgett Cemetery. The interest was such that in 1840, at the Annual Methodist Conference, the Rev. Abraham Folsom was placed in charge. He was a man of energy and zeal and he quickly organized a church which would endure and continue for many years to come. Through his efforts $1,250 was raised or pledged for building a house of worship.

First Methodist Meeting House

On August 1, 1840 it was voted to build a meeting house on land donated by Abiather Winn. This plain, modest building 40 x 50 feet was dedicated December 2 of that year. Between Webster’s History and the 1858 map of Hudson; I place this First Methodist Meeting House to have been on the south side of Central Street near the intersection with Melandy Road. This meeting house had 44 pews which were sold at auction; the sale of which raised enough money to pay for the building. The $1,250 raised earlier was returned to the donors. A few years later a small parsonage was built near the south-west corner of the church a cost of $400. This location was inconvenient for the parsonage so a new parsonage lot was secured on the north side of Central Street, east of and adjacent to the Congregational Meeting House which had been build in 1842. Sometime close to 1848 the parsonage building was moved onto that lot and remodeled to include an ell and a small stable. So, the parsonage and church building were near each other on opposite sides of Central Street near Melandy Road.

In 1874 along came the Nashua and Rochester Railroad with the tracks running along Central Street separating the Methodist meeting House from the parsonage even more. This was not just inconvenient, it was dangerous. The church decided move the church to the north side of the highway near the parsonage and on the same lot. At that time the church building was enlarged and rededicated in January 1878.

Disaster struck in August of 1879, a little over 18 months after rededication. On Sunday, August 3, immediately after service a fire broke out in the stable.Both the church and the parsonage were reduced to ashes. If not for the efforts of the Nashua Fire Department, and local townspeople, a number of homes and possibly the Congregational church would have been lost. The buildings were insured for $1,500; less than 1/2 of their real value. This was a severe and nearly fatal blow to the devoted church and society.

Services were temporarily held in a small hall near the bridge owned by James Carnes. Discussions resulted regarding a satisfactory and suitable location for a new house of worship. There was much difference of opinion. Some wanted to rebuild in the same location; others wanted a location nearer the bridge. By this time a number of church members were living on the east side of Nashua. When put to a vote the location of the present brick church, now Hudson Community Church, was chosen. Plans were made and by December 7, 1880 The Second meeting House of the Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated. It was a 40 x 70 ft building of wood and brick, two stories with a tower spire on the north-east corner.

The parsonage building, also destroyed in the 1879 fire, was not replaced at this time. The church provided whatever housing they could for their pastor. By 1888 a parsonage lot was secured by the church on Baker Street; by the fall of 1894 a parsonage was built. The church contracted with Isaac Newton Smith of Hudson Center as the builder. Cost: less that $2,500.

This church and the women’s organization were was very active in the Hudson Bridge community. During World War I the pastor, Rev. Roy Honneywell took a leave of absence from this church to serve as a chaplain in the US. Army. During the 18 months of his absence The Methodists and The congregationalists united for services in the Methodist Church. As time went on, there was more and more union between the two Protestant churches at the Bridge. As we have learned, the Congregation and the Methodist churches merged in 1930 to form the Hudson Community Church.

The photo of the Methodist Episcopal Church shown here is the one used by Kimball Webster in his History of Hudson. It is from the collection of the Historical Society.