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Remembering Places to Eat … Andre’s Restaurant and Antoinne’s Catering

Conveniently located at 76 Central Street near Lowell Road was Andre’s Restaurant and Antoinnes Catering. A favorite spot for breakfast or lunch! Also a popular meeting place for various service organizations. It was been destroyed by fire and since replaced with a private home.

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Andre’s and Antoinne’s on Central Street 

Today we have many favorite places in town to enjoy breakfast or lunch: Cookies, Donna’s Place, North Side Grill, and Suzies to name a few. In the 1970’s one such favorite was Andre’s Restaurant located in the Hudson Grange Building at 76 Central Street, and shown in this photo.

Hudson Grange #11 was organized in December 1873 in the Number 6 Schoolhouse on Derry Road with Kimball Webster as the first Master. The grange, a ritualistic family fraternity originally based on rural and farm life, was one of the leading social organizations in town during the 1920’s. Meetings were quite late, beginning ‘after chores’ to permit farmers to attend to the evening milking and feeding before coming out for a meeting. A typical evening would include a crisply run business meeting, recognition of guests, a program, discussions for the good of the order and/or town, and a lunch. A program might be educational, some relevant agricultural topic, local events and/or politics, or entertaining. Often featuring local musical and/or literary talent.

Hudson Grange rented the Odd Fellows Hall (now the American Legion) for it’s meetings from 1903 to 1920. This arrangement proved satisfactory until the winter of 1920 when differences of opinion resulted between the tenants and landlord; as a result the grange looked into a change in meeting location. A large number of members were from the Hudson Center area and advocated using the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall) in Hudson Center. The body agreed and meetings were moved to Hudson Center; an increase in membership mostly from the center area resulted almost immediately.

For the next 18 months meetings were held in the Town Hall with mixed success; depending upon your proximity to the meeting place. Members from The Bridge area did not want to travel to Hudson Center for meetings and visa versa. Meanwhile representatives from the grange were working to settle differences with the proprietors of the Odd Fellows Hall. Again the matter again came to a vote; and the body voted to return to the bridge area for their meetings.

At about the same time many members from the Center area requested withdrawal cards. This group soon obtained their own charter and Wattannick Grange #327 was organized. A smaller Hudson Grange returned to The Bridge and the Odd Fellows Building until 1935 when the building shown in this weeks photo, the former Hudson Congregational Church Building, became available due to a merger between the Congregational and the Methodist Congregations. Hudson Grange purchased the building from the newly formed Hudson Community Church. Soon after purchase the steeple was removed, the carpet was removed, and the grange held meetings and danced in what had been a church sanctuary.

In 1963 the grange entered into a lease agreement with Andrew Kinsville to establish a restaurant and a catering center; the grange retained ownership and use of the hall as a meeting place. This arrangement continued and Andre’s Restaurant and Antoinne’s Catering grew in popularity with many service organizations holding their regular meetings here. Then, in the early morning hours of May 9, 1977 the building known as Hudson Grange (formerly the ‘White Church’ was destroyed by fire. A small group of young intruders were held responsible for the fire as an act to cover up a robbery. At the time of the fire the premises were used for regular meetings by Hudson Rotary, Hudson Lions, chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, and United Commercial Travel. Each of these organizations quickly had to make arrangements to meet elsewhere.

Hudson Grange also made arrangements to meet elsewhere in town and the building was never replaced. By the mid 1980’s the property was sold. A private residence is now located at 76 Central Street. A few years ago, in 2001 members of Hudson Grange and Wattannick Grange merged back into the charter of Hudson Grange. Meetings are now held in Wattannick Hall in Hudson Center.

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Revitalization of Central Street at P.O. Square

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P.O. Square at Central Street early 1900’s

The revitalization of the business center at the bridge which occurred during the decade of the 1960’s impacted Central Street as well as Ferry and Webster Streets. Demolition of buildings occurred by both private and public enterprises; this week we look at the significant changes along Central Street near Post Office Square.

Our early 1900’s photo of P.O. Square at Central Street shows two landmark buildings which were still present in 1960; the old Baker Block (originally Carnes Block) on the right and the Martin House opposite and on the left at the corner with Ferry Street.

James Carnes came to Hudson about 1840 from his native Vermont. In 1844 he bought the old south meeting house near Blodgett Cemetery for $100. He took it down and proceeded to build a house from the resulting lumber and material in 1845. This house he built on a small triangular lot of land which was conveyed to him by the proprietors of Taylors Falls Bridge. The date 1798 was plainly seen carved upon the stone underpinning of the front of the house indicating the date of the building of the meeting house. This is the same house later owned by Elisha A. and Susan (Steele) Martin. After the death of Elisha his widow Susan and daughter Etta continued to reside here. It was later the home of Etta’s sister Anna Woodbury. Etta sold notions, newspapers, ice cream, etc. Nearby children were delighted by her glass candy case and penny ice cream cones.

At the time of his arrival to Hudson James Carnes wasl a wheelwright and blacksmith by trade. He gave up smithing and turned to the more lucrative business of manufacturing “Paddy” wheelbarrows for the growing railroad business during the pre-civil war days; a business he operated successfully for several years. He then converted to the general wheelwright business which he was operating when he constructed his combined store and assembly hall. He ran his business and rented his hall to various town organizations until his death in 1883. From 1874 to 1876 the newly organize Hudson Grange No 11 held meetings here. In 1879 after the Methodist Church was destroyed by fire the congregation held services in “Carnes Hall” until the new brick church was built in 1890.

After Carnes death in 1883 the store was occupied for short intervals by Francis Marden, Waldo Waldon, and Willard Webster. in 1890 Nathan Webster, a brother to Willard, enlarged and remodeled the building and the Baker brothers, John J.and William, took over the building and operated the store for many years until three sons of William, John E, Sidney, and Wallace took over the store and continued the business until just before World War II. From the Bakers Store one could purchase meats, groceries, feed, hay, and hard goods. Upon occasion, depending who was appointed postmaster, this served as the town post office. When the building was enlarged a third floor auditorium was added. A number of interesting events occurred in this auditorium including silent movies, magicians and strong men of traveling medicine shows. This third floor even served as the town library before the Hills Memorial library was built in 1909.

The revitalization of the area began with the destruction of the Baker Block in 1964. Originally known as the Carnes Block built in the early 1860’s. Some of the principal owners of this building were James Carnes, Nathan Webster, the Baker Brothers for two generations, and finally at the time of demolition the Rodgers Family. By 1964 when this building was demolished it was considered by many as a firetrap and an eyesore as one entered the town.

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Old Martin House prior to Demolition

By 1969 the State of NH identified those properties needed for access roads. This included the Martin House, then owned by the Rodgers Family, and land frontage up to and including the Community Church. Our second photo shows the Martin Home in the late 1960’s shortly before it was demolished. Both photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.

One additional landmark building which disappeared in this time frame was the old transfer station for the three electric railway lines which met at Post Office Square. It was later the site of Joe Temple’s drug stone and, according to the memory of some residents, used as a residential dwelling before leaving our landscape alongside the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge. It is not clear to me when and how this building disappeared.

Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

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Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

We continue to revisit places to eat in Hudson through the years.  This week we travel to Hudson Center for a fried clam dinner followed by ice cream and a round of miniature golf for desert!!
In the late 1940’s traffic along the Route 111 corridor known as Central Street in Hudson Center was on the increase.  This was the result of the popularity of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm as well as the convenience of automobile travel for business and pleasure.  Businesses were beginning to open up or relocate  to  this section of the highway.    One of these that holds a permanent place in our memories is “The Meadows”, a seafood restaurant.
In September 1947 John Wollen, founder and long time owner of The Meadows,  purchased about 20 acres on the east side of Central Street from Perley B. and Clara E. Smith.  The Smith’s lived in the area and Perley operated a Cider Mill just a few lots south towards Belknap Road.  By the spring and summer of 1949 The Meadows opened for business and soon became a popular eating place for the locals as well as the tourists visiting Benson’s.  Their menu included fried clams, haddock, scallops, and sandwiches along with onion rings, french fries, and cold slaw.  A soda fountain was added for drinks and ice cream based deserts.  In 1962  a miniature golf course and a shuffle board court were added just north of the restaurant and near the meadow around Merrill Brook.
John Wollen was born in Hudson and educated in Nashua Schools.  He was the founder and owner of Meadows until a short time prior to his passing in November 1985.  He also operated the McNulty and Foley catering and function hall when it was located on Amherst Street in Nashua.
The Meadows was destroyed by fire on November 23,1992  after business was closed for the day.  A neighbor across Central Street noticed the flames and called the fire department.  The fire was fought by the Hudson department with assistance from Londonderry, Windham, Nashua, and Litchfield.  At the time the building was owned by Arthur  Bursey of Manchester and the restaurant operated by George Apostolopoulas of Wilmington, MA.  The Meadows did not re-open following the fire.
Many Hudson residents remember Berk and Son Farm Stand and Scott’s  Wood craft which operated on the northern end of The Meadows parking lot adjacent to Merrill Brook.  Little remains of The Meadows except our own memories of the delicious seafood and the summer evenings playing miniature golf.  The 20 plus acres with 500 feet of frontage onto Central Street which Mr Wollen purchased in 1947 has been idle for many years and is on the commercial real estate market.
Today’s photo of “The Meadows” was taken about 1975 at the time of the preparation of “The Town In Transition” an update to Hudson’s History.

190 Central Street

190 Central C1958

190 Central Street C1958

This home at 190 Central Street on the corner with Burnham Road was built by the McCoy Brothers, Herman, Elgin, and Daniel, about 1948. Prior to that time the land was a part of the James McCoy Homestead. When James passed in 1915 his home at 192 Central was passed to Herman McCoy. Later, in 1948, Herman transferred a smail lot to a brother, Herbert, and the McCoy brothers built the house.

After The McCoys the first occupant of this home was Mr and Mrs. Joseph Lantagne from Chelmsford, MA in 1949. The Lantagnes sold the home to the next owners, Chester and Gladys Bradlee. Chester worked for the the railroad in the mail car. He and Gladys had three children, Alan, Leslie, and Ellen. There was an older son Jimmy by a previous marriage. By 1954 the Bradlee family moved to Derry Road, where Jimmy passed away. After this the Bradlee family moved to Newburyport, MA. This Derry Road home is no longer there as it was torn down to make way for a commercial building.

In 1954 Robert Allen Sr and his wife Violet (Doherty) Andrew purchased the home on 190 Central from the Bradlee family. At the time of the purchase they were living at 6 Library Street in Hudson and Robert (Bob) was a machinist working at OK Tool in Milford, NH. After moving to Central Street Bob and Violet later establish Robert A. Andrew Real Estate. For this purpose Bob purchased a narrow strip of land from his neighbor Merrill Ives. Merrill Ives was the son-in-law of Herman and Ethel McCoy. This land was used for a second driveway and parking area for the real estate business.

Robert and Violet’s family consisted of a daughter Doris and a son Robert, Jr. Doris was born in January 1927; she married Henry (Hank) Nixon. Hank had a military Career and after leaving the service sold real estate for MacRitchie Realty. Hank passed in 1980 and Doris in 2006; they are buried in the Andrew’s lot in Westview Cemetery. Robert Jr. was born in April 1934; he married Mary S. Graves and the couple celebrated 60 years of marriage. He passed away in Northwood, NH in July 2015.

Violet passed in May 1967. Following her death Bob married Dorothy (Bresnahan) Beland. This couple purchased a home on Griffin Road in Hudson; however Bob did not sell the Central Street home. The couple divorced and Bob returned to his home on Central Street. Bob married Marion Dingle in 1973 and they lived at 190 Central Street until he passed in March 1983. They are buried in the family lot in Westview. Both Violet and Bob were members of the Nashua Board of Realtors.

By will the property passed to Robert Jr. In 1984 it was sold to Richard and Terry Jean. It is presently owned by Paul and Diane Goulet as a two family home with two driveways. The drive for the right side exits onto Central Street; the one for the left exits onto Burnham Road.

190 Central 2017

190 Central 2017

The first photo of 190 Central was taken C 1958 when the real estate office was first established. This photo was taken from the Burnham Road side.The second photo, taken from Central Street, shows us the same building C 2017 as a two family home. Thanks to Carol Flewelling for sharing her Doherty family history and to Don Smith for his research on the families of 190 Central.

June Arbor Tea Room at 59 Central Street

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Tea Room from Central Street 1931

My interest in the June Arbor Tea Room started when the society received some 1931 photos from Gayle Zelonis of a family event which occurred at the tea room. Along with the photos came the question: “Where Was It Located”? This led to research using city directories (1928-1934), census records, vital records, Registry of Deeds, cemetery records, and old editions of The Nashua Telegraph, The results give us this week’s story!

The June Arbor Tea Room was operated for just a few years around 1931 by Mrs. June W. Taylor at her residence on Central Street . She offered receptions for weddings, anniversaries, etc. as well as serving meals for organizations which scheduled their meetings at the tea room. One such organization was the Giddings Fellowship, the Men’s group of the Hudson Community Church. Edna June Wallace was born in Nashua about 1880, her parents were Alonzo Stewart and Mary F. (Maynard) Wallace. She married John Taylor, a native of VT, in November 1909. By 1920 they had divorced. June and her 6 year old son Wallace made their home with her parents in Nashua and later with them in Hudson.

Alonzo Stewart Wallace was born in Bristol, ME, a son of David and Margaret Wallace. He was a self made man in every sense of the word. His early education was from district school and later the high school in Bristol. After that he attended Lincoln Academy at New Castle, ME. For this education he walked 10 miles from his home on Monday and returned home on Friday. He took with him food for the five days. During the summer months, to help with family expenses, he took to the sea as a sailor.

After graduation from the academy he taught at the Maine Conference Seminary; holding a number of positions from teacher, to principal, and superintendent. As he had an interest in anatomy he studied at and received his medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1874. He married Mary F. Maynard in 1876 and they moved to Nashua, NH in 1888 where he began a 35 year medical career; retiring from active practice to his home in Hudson about 1923.

Dr. Wallace passed away at his home in Hudson April 1930, he was 83 years of age; his wife Mary had pre-deceased him by about 1 year. He had been a member of many organizations and medical societies. He had an active role in establishing Nashua Memorial Hospital. At the time of his passing he was survived by two daughters and a son. His daughter Edith M. Wallace was engaged in biological research in CA; his son Dr. Arthur Wallace was a physician in Nashua; and daughter Mrs. June Taylor of Hudson with whom he made his home.

The Wallace home on Central Street in Hudson was purchased by Mrs. Mary F. Wallace in October 1923 from Rufus Winn; a portion of the property Rufus received from his father John about 1876. The house was likely built about 1910. After her parents had passed, June W. Taylor and her family continued to live there Until June 1937. At that time June and her sister Edith sold the property to Paul and Isabel Hill. In December 1955 the property was sold to Leo and Janice Bergeron. The Bergerons owned the property only a few years; transferring it in August 1957 to her aunt, Mrs. Maude Priske.

Maude Harwood was born October 1884 in Nashua, a daughter to Walter J. and Thea (Hanson) Harwood. She had been a Hudson resident since her early childhood. Maude graduated from Nashua High in 1905 and then from the Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in 1908. She received further training in maternity care at a New York hospital and in physiotherapy at Harvard Medical School. In June 1911 Maude Harwood married John Priske in Hudson; but, after 20 plus years of marriage they divorced.

Maude Priske was a pioneer in the field of public health. She was the first school nurse in this state for rural communities which included Litchfield, Pelham, Hudson, Hollis, Milford, and Merrimack. She served as a school nurse until 1921 when she joined the Nashua Community Council to supervise the nursing phase of this new organization. She retired from the council in 1953. Following her retirement she operated an antique shop, “The Liddens”, in Hudson. Initially this was located at her summer residence on Wason Road; her winter residence being on Chase Street. She purchased the 59 Central Street home from her niece and husband, Leo and Janice Bergeron in 1955. She moved her antique shop “The Liddens” to her new home. Here she enjoyed her hobbies of antiques, rug hooking, cooking, and helping others. Maude (Harwood) Priske passed July 1974 and is buried in the Harwood lot at Sunnyside Cemetery on Central Street.

Since 1975 when the 59 Central Street home was sold by Maude’s estate to Gordon Tate, the property has been owned by Maurice and Evelyn Viens, Robert and Dianne Haywood, and is now a three family residence owned byClegg Real Estate.

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59 Central Rear View 1931

These 1931 photos of the Tea Room are a part of the collection of the Historical Society; a donation from Gayle Zelonis. The first photo shows the front of the June Arbor Tea Room from across Central Street. The second is taken from the side and shows the back of the building and lawn area.

 

 

Parker-Smith Row in Central Street

204 Central early

204 Central Street C1900

This week we explore the family neighborhood on Central Street in Hudson Center known as “Parker Row”. This includes the even numbers (north side) of Central Street from 194 to 208 plus one site on the south side, that of 203 Central, the location of Benson’s Bakery. Referred to as “Parker Row”; but, the more I learn about the families who lived here I realize there were as many Smith’s as there were Parkers! Let me share some of what I learned!

In 1890 there was one Smith family and one Parker family living in the neighborhood and all of the subsequent Smiths and Parkers who resided here through the years were descended from these families. In fact, at one point the families intermarried!

The “root “Smith family was that of Isaac Newton and Roxanna (Butler) Smith. Isaac was a Hudson native, born in 1841. His wife Roxanna was born 1842 in Pelham. Their family consisted of three sons; Herbert Newton (B:1864), Arthur Winslow (B:1869) and Perley Butler (B:1871). In 1890 their family of five was living at what is now 194 Central Street. Isaac Newton was a carpenter and a builder; a trade that each of their three sons also adopted! History tells us that Isaac Newton was contracted by the Methodist Church to erect their parsonage at the corner of Baker and Highland Street. He was also the builder of the Baptist Church parsonage when it was located on Greeley Street. All three of their sons and two of their grandsons remained in or returned to this neighborhood to establish homes of their own.

The “root” Parker family was that of Charles Clarence and Lydia Low (Batchelder) Parker. Charles was born 1852 in Warren, NH. His wife Lydia was a Hudson native born 1852. Ttheir family consisted of three sons and one daughter: Clarence Charles (B:1874), Lydia Jane (B:1877), George Henry (B:1879), and Ernest Josiah (B:1883) all native to Hudson. In 1890 this family of five was living at what is now 200 Central Street. Charles had moved from Warner to Nashua to attend school. He later established a bookstore and publishing business in Nashua and purchased his home on Central Street. Of their sons, Clarence became a minister and relocated to various towns depending on where he was serving. Ernest passed away during his teen years. Their daughter Lillie married Herbert Newton Smith in 1906 and they built their home adjacent that of her parents. at what is now 204 Central. Likewise George, a builder by occupation, remained and built his home next to that of his sister.

About this time Mrs. Nancy Merrill, widow of Joseph Merrill, was living west of the Parker home and adjacent to the brook which now bears her name, Merrill Brook. After her passing a part of her estate, including her homestead, was purchased by the Parkers. Here is a brief history of each home as we see them today, beginning with 194 Central and moving west.

We are not certain when the house at 194 Central was built but we do know that Isaac Newton Smith lived there in 1870 and likely before. By 1906 his oldest son, Herbert Newton, and Lillie Parker married and moved into their new home at 204 Central. About the same time his youngest son, Perley, built his home at 196 Central on a piece of land from his father. 194 Central then became the family home for Arthur Winslow and May Louise (Snow) Smith and their sons Byron Butler (B:1910), Gardner Isaac (B:1912), Eliot (B:1915), and Edward (B:1918). Arthur passed in 1926. May married a second time and continued to raise her family in this home. Byron Butler and Gardner Isaac remained in the neighborhood; Eliot and Edward moved elsewhere. By 1936 this house was owned by Luther and Victoria Knights; by the mid 1940’s it was owned by the Pelletier Family. 194 Central is currently a multi-family owned by Floyd Gorveatt.

The house at 196 Central was the family home for Perley Butler and Elizabeth (Robbins) Smith and family of 2 daughters and two sons. Their oldest daughter, Ruth Elizabeth (B:1895) married Everett Hamblett and they lived and worked in Hudson Center. Their youngest daughter, Eva Roxanna (B:1897) married Albert Eaton. Their sons were Orin Newton (B:1899) and Neal Onslow (B:1901); each of whom move from the neighborhood. Perley lived here until a short while before he passed in 1961. By 1962 Gardner Butler and Ruth Athalie (Henry) Smith purchased the home from his estate. Prior to this time they were living at 208 Central; they sold the house at 208 and moved into his uncle’s home at 196 with their family. Ruth Athalie passed in 1977 and Garnder in 1985 at which time the house was sold by his estate to Ronald and Nancy Graven.

The next house, 200 Central, was the family home of Charles Parker and later more recently his granddaughters Florence and Ernestine. The Parker family built a home (202 Central) on the hill in back and overlooking Central Street. This was a rental home until 1946 when it was sold to Byron Butler and Maude (Chamberlain) Smith. This was their home until 1953 when they moved down the hill and purchased the 203 Central Street site. They live the remainder of their married live here. Byron passed in 1961 and Maude in 1971. The original house has been expanded and the site converted to a commercial complex. Benson’s Bakery is located in that section which was the home of Mr and Mrs Smith.

Adjacent to the Parker homestead was the home of Herbert Newton and Lillie (Parker) Smith at 204 Central. Our first photo shows their home circa 1910. They had one son, Newton Parker (B:1907). Newton was educated in Hudson schools and then Nashua High. Following high school he had plans to attend college; but, unfortunately he was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a passenger in a side car when the cycle left the highway and crashed. Herbert and Lydia Smith continued to reside at 204 Central. They had no further children of their own but a niece, Mildred Parker, came to live with them until her marriage to Joseph Boulanger. Following the passing of Herbert Newton in 1928 Lydia remained on Central Street. She was active as a Christian Science Practitioner until just before her passing in 1964. Our first photo shows their home at 204 Central Street soon after it was built. It has since been the home to Harold and Vivian Moore and until lately home to the family of Edward Curan. The house remains to this day.

208 Central c1922

208Central Street C1922

The house at 208 Central, see second photo, was likely built by George H. Parker about the time of his marriage to Edith Florence Snow in 1908. Their family consisted of Claudia (B:1910) and George Henry, Jr (B:1912). Claudia married Richard Boucher and they lived in Hudson Center. George , Jr moved to northern NH, near Franconia, and went into business and raised a family there. By 1944 this was home to Gardner Isaac and Ruth Athalie Smith and their family of Janet Athalie, Gordon Henry, and Evelyn. In 1963 the Smith’s sold the property to George and Mary Johnson and moved into the former home of his uncle Perley. The Johnson’s refurbished the building and established Hudson Animal Hospital. That business remains to this day although the ownership of the property has changed through the years.

Given this neighborhood history perhaps we should revise history and call this “Smith-Parker” Row. Photos are the courtesy of June Parker.

15 Central Street Future Home of DeSalvo Construction

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C&R Warehouse at 15 Central C1975

The Cumming Brothers began their business in 1882 as a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, later expanding to the manufacture of carriages. With the advent of the auto they transitioned to building truck bodies. This building at what is now 15 Central Street was built about 1930 as a garage and repair shop for their business. In 1950, after the business closed, it was sold to C&R furniture of Nashua and used by them for a warehouse for several years. In 2017, after remaining idle for some time, this 21/2 story wood frame building was purchased by Peter DeSalvo and has been remodeled both inside and out to current building codes. This building will soon be used for the headquarters for the Peter DeSalvo Construction Company. Lets explore the history surrounding this location.

The Cummings Brothers was not the first business on this site nor was it the first blacksmith in Hudson Village near the bridge. About 1842 James Carnes moved to Hudson from Henniker, NH and built his home at the corner of Main Street (now Ferry Street) and Lowell Road (now Central Street) using materials from the old South Meeting house which was located near Blodgett Cemetery on Lowell Road. Using additional materials from the old meeting house he built a store building on the opposite side of Central Street and uphill from his home. He operated a grocery store for some years with little success. About 1851 he closed the grocery and immediately began to manufacture wheelbarrows; later he changed the business to a wheelwright. Unfortunately, by 1859 this building with all contents and tools was destroyed by fire. Mr. Carnes rebuilt re-established the wheelwright business.

In 1882, Willis P. Cummings purchased the shop, tools, and business from James Carnes. He and his younger brother Charles E. became partners in the Cumming Brothers. This was the beginning of a business which expanded and changed with the times until sometime after 1946.

Willis was 32 years of age when he partnered with his 19 year old brother in 1882. He was born 1850 in Lowell, MA the oldest son and child of Hiram and Abby (Clark) Cummings. He came to Hudson at the age of 6 with his parents. He was educated in public schools of Lowell, Hudson, and later at the Nashua Literary Institute.

In 1869, when he was nearly 20 years of age and soon after the completion of the railroad to the Pacific Coast, he went to California to assist his uncle with the supervision of his herd of 10,000 sheep! Willis remained for 2 years and then returned home; after which he established a carpenter and building business at North Chelmsford, MA. In 1873 he married Hattie D. Lawrence, daughter of Hartwell and Sarah (Blood). Their daughter Bertha Ella was born 1875. He moved his family to Hudson in 1876. Meanwhile his uncle in California passed away. At the request of the executor he returned to California in 1877 to assist with settlement of the estate. He returned to Hudson after 3 months.

In 1885 his wife Hattie passed and he married a second time in 1885 to Francis M. Clement. Willis continued with his building business until September 1880 when he established a wheelwright and carriage business near the bridge in Hudson. Then in 1881 he and his younger brother Charles became partners and purchased the wheelwright shop, tools, and lot from James Carnes.

From 1881 until the mid 1940’s the Cumming Brothers operated in Hudson Village; first as a blacksmith and wheelwright and expanding to a carriage manufacturer. When the automobile became of age the business transitioned to the manufacture of truck bodies. Willis P. passed in June 1939 at which time he was the holder of the gold headed Boston Post Cane as the oldest male resident of Hudson. He was particularly proud of this as his father Hiram, some years earlier also held the cane. Following his passing his daughter Bertha (Cummings) Nokes became active along with her uncle, Charles, in the management of the business. Poor health forced Charles to retire from the business in the early 1940’s. By 1948 the Cumming Brothers was no longer in business and in December 1950 the land and buildings of 15 Central was sold to C&R furniture of Nashua. Charles passed in February 1953

C&R Furniture was a three generation, family owned business of the Hebert family with a retail store on Elm Street in Nahsua. They used this building as a warehouse. In 1954 the Hudson Community Church had plans to build a parish house on property they owned between their present building and the driveway to the C&R warehouse. C&R sold a triangular piece of land of about 980 square feet which enabled them to erect the parish house. C&R retained to right to pass over by foot or vehicle, any portion of this piece not used by the church.

Our first photo of the warehouse was taken about 1975.. The building could be entered from the driveway into the first floor. It was also possible to enter the building via a bridge from the high point of the driveway into the second floor.

In March 2017, after a number of years of no-use, the old C&R warehouse was sold by the Herbert family to Peter Desalvo. Since that time the building and driveway have undergone extensive modifications to meet current building codes. Basement walls were restored, original beams were retained but structurally enhanced. The interior has been reconfigured to include a reception area, conference room, office space, and a break room for the employees. The exterior has a new roof, dormers, windows, and siding; all with low maintenance in mind.

15 Central 2018

15 Central Street 2018

In recognition of his this project to retrofit and re-purpose this facility of the past, Peter DeSalvo was the recipient of the Third Annual Hudson Historical Society Community and Cultural Service Award. This award was presented to Peter during the Annual Charity Auction to benefit the Historical Society held at the Hills House grounds this past Sunday June 24. Peter and his workmen can be justly proud of the transformation to this building. Desalvo Construction recently passed their 10th anniversary. Peter and his young family reside in Hudson. Our second photo, complements of Zach Piotrowicz (ZMP Photography) shows the 15 Central Street property soon to be home to Peter Desalvo Construction.