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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.

Congregational Church at 76 Central Street

Congregational Church Proir to 1909

Congregational Church Prior to 1909

Early Church Prior To 1842

The origin of the Congregational Church in Hudson, NH dates back to November 1737. Rev. Nathaniel Merrill was settled by the town and been ordained as the first minister of Nottingham, Mass.  The town was responsible for hiring a minister, paying his salary, and providing a Meeting House.  The site of the first meeting house on what is now Musquash Road is marked by an historic tablet.
After the boundary was settled between Mass and NH and the town of Nottingham West, NH received it’s charter, many acres of the earlier town had been left in Mass.  The town voted to move the preaching to a more central location just a short distance from the present Blodgett Cemetery.
Rev Merrill’s contract with the town continued until 1774; however he continued to preach in town until shortly before his death.  The last baptism recorded by Rev Merrill was in July 1792; and the last marriage in December 1795.  Although his contract with the town had expired in 1774, the town did vote various sums of money for his support from time to time; including $7.82 plus a coffin for his funeral in 1796.
A short time before 1750 a number of families of the Presbyterian faith settled in the eastern part of town and attended meetings of their own denomination in either Londonderry or Windham and helped to support their own minister.  Naturally these families protested against being taxed in support a minister of a different faith.  It was not until 1770 that the Presbyterians, by vote of the town, were released from these taxes.  By 1771 they built their own place of worship, the North Meeting House, in Hudson Center near the site of the present Wattannick Hall.  The Rev John Strickland was their pastor until 1785.
Meanwhile the Rev Jabez Pond Fisher was called by the town in 1795 amid protests.  By 1802 the town owed him over $1,000 in back salary; he resigned his position and brought a suit against the town for his salary.  For the next 15 years or so the Congregational Church was inactive; by about 1816 there were signs of a union between the previously conflicting sects.  The Congregational church united with the Presbyterians.  This merger lasted until 1841 when the Presbyterian organization was dissolved and 26 of its members formed the Congregational Church of Hudson.

Church at 76 Central Street

By 1842, under the Pastorate of Rev Willard Holbrook, the church building as shown in our first photo, was built at what is now 76 Central Street.  Periods of growth and periods of inactivity continued until 1876 when the church became active with a spirit of growth and union.

 

Congregational Church C 1925

Congregational Church C 1925

By 1906, during the Pastorate of the much beloved  Rev Franklin Perry Chapin the church building was remodeled as shown in our second photo.  Stained glass windows and a basement area were added, and the front entry was modernized.  In 1912 the Congregational Church of Hudson celebrated its 175th anniversary.
As time passed questions were being raised over the need for two Protestant churches (Congregational and Methodist) in the Hudson Bridge Area.  In 1930 these two congregations united to form the Community Church of Hudson.  At the time of the merger, each of the congregations had their own place of worship and their own parsonage for the pastor.  Through the merger, the Congregational Parsonage and the Methodist place of worship were retained.  By 1935 the Congregational Church building was sold to Hudson Grange #11.
In November 1937, the recently organized Hudson Community Church celebrated it’s 200th Anniversary!!  These photos are from the Historical Society collection.  Much of this historical information was prepared by Dr. H.O. Smith and presented by him at the 200th Anniversary in 1937.

Hudson Grange and Andre’s Restaurant C1975

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Hudson Grange and Andre’s Restaurant C 1975

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 Antoinnes 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.

The Meadows Restaurant of Hudson Center C 1977

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The Meadows C 1977

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.

 

Trolley Line on Central Street C 1907

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Central Street West C 1907

A  trolley traveling along Central near Library Street has exposed the rail lines after a recent snow storm as shown in this C 1907 post card. By 1907 the Bridge section of town, including this part of Central Street, was developing as a residential and business center. This was facilitated by the public transportation between Hudson and Nashua on the trolley.
 
The Methodist Church and parsonage previously located on Central Street near Melandy Road had burned in 1879 and the parish made the decision to relocate closer to the bridge and the trolley stop. The steeple of the new brick church,  built in 1880, can be seen towards the center of the photo on the left side of Central.
Another new building at that time, the IOOF building (also called Association Hall), is visible just this side of the church.  The IOOF building was completed by 1905 and it soon became their  meeting place plus meeting space for  the Rebekah Lodge, and Hudson Grange.   Association Hall has a long history of usage for Hudson; once owned by the town and used as a school class room, it is now owned by the American Legion.
The house on the right, now 39 Library Street, was home to Helen and  Hannah Georgina Gillis, daughters of the late Jennie (Fulton) and John Gillis.  John Gillis purchased the colonial home on this site from Zachariah Hardy and just a few years before this post card  replaced it with this house which was modern for that time.    John Gillis and later his estate owned much of the land in the area of Central, Gillis, and Fulton Streets.   Following the passing of their parents Georgina and Helen continued to live here.  Helen passed at the age of 78 and Hanna Georgina at the age of 77; both passing on the same day in 1925 as they became victims in a double murder which occurred in their home.    Their funeral service was held at the Congregational Church on Central Street with an atmosphere of simplicity, reverence, and sadness.
By 1934 this was home to  Michael and Sophie Stanapedos.  Michael passed in the late 1960’s and Sophie continued to live here until the 1980’s.  In 1983 it was purchased from her estate by John Sarris and remodeled into an office building appropriately called “Sophie’s Place”.
The house on the left of Central at the corner with Gillis Street has been a Connell Family home for over 75 years.  Occupied by Frank and Mary Connell it is now owned by the family of his son, Philip J. and his wife Lucille.
This post card is from my private collection, being mailed to my great-grandmother in 1907.  It will soon be on file at the Historical Society.

188 Central Street – Hudson Professional Center

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188 Central Street C1942

188 Central Street at the corner with Burnham Road was home to Ivan Robinson Smith and his family of Mary (Manning) and their son Donald.  Ivan was employed as a molder in Nashua; retiring from White Mountain Freezer Company.   This Smith family homestead was a family farm on about 3 acres of  land.  Ivan was born in Hudson in 1897 and lived the better part of his life on this farm.  Our first photo shows the  Smith home in 1942 shortly after it was reconstructed and reduced in size following a fire.  The fire started in the house and destroyed about 50% of the house and the entire barn.  The house, white with shutters, had a doorway and driveway onto Central Street.  After Ivan’s death in 1966, Mary and Donald continued to live here until the property was sold to the Cloutier Brothers for commercial purposes in 1972. A few years prior to this final sale two other parcels had been sold.  The first was sold as a residential lot to Mr and Mrs George Tetler who became good and faithful neighbors to the Smiths, living at what is now 21 Burnham Road until 1979.  The second parcel was for commercial purposes and gave rise to the commercial building at 23 Burnham Road.  After the sale of their home Mary and son Donald moved to a house on Tessier Street here in Hudson.  Mary passed in 1990; known for her gentle disposition despite being bed ridden for over 20 years with arthritis.  Donald attended Hudson schools, graduated Alvirne and Andover Institute of Business.  He retired from The Telegraph as Business Manager after 45 years of service.  He remains in Hudson, living on Glasgow Circle.
Prior to Ivan this was home to his father Marcel and his grandfather William.  William moved here from Massachusets with his family in the 1800’s.  Hudson has a number of Smith families; and as far as we know, there is no known connection between this Smith line and the others in our town.
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Hudson Professional Center C 1977

Our second photo shows the corner of Central and Burnham C 1977 as photographed for the “Town in Transition”.  In the foreground is Hudson Professional Building built by Cloutier Brothers; now the location of Family Vision Care,  Sapphire Salon, Julies, Merry Maids, and Electrolysys.  At the time traffic flow at the corner was controlled by a stop sign – no traffic light!
Further along on Burnhad Road we see the private residence at 21 Burnham; originally home to Mr and Mrs George Tetler.  In between is the commercial building at 23 Burnham; the location of Hudson Hair Design and Veteran Chimney.   Two other commercial sites, not shown on this photo,were  built on the Smith Homestead.  They are Hudson Endodontic and Clean Monster Car Wash at 182 and 184 Central Street.
Thanks to Don Smith for the early photo and information about his family home.  The 1977 photo is from the Historical Society collection.

Centronics Data Computer C1977

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Centronics C1977

Any story about Centronics Data Computer begins with Robert Howard.  Earlier in his career Howard worked with An Wang (Wang Laboratories) on computer systems for the casino industry.  This led Howard to invent the dot-matrix printer, and soon after he started  Centronics Data Computer with 7 employees in Hudson, NH about 1968.  Centronics commercialized the small dot-matrix printer which helped fuel the explosion and popularity of personal computers.  From this small start-up  the company grew to more than 6,000 workers worldwide, including 3,000 in NH.  Robert Howard passed in 2014 and is remembered for his curiosity and his generosity.  He is credited with the invention and popularity of the dot-matrix printer and the parallel interface. During his lifetime he formed more than two dozen companies.  After Centronics he later founded Presstek and Howtek in Hudson during the 1980’s.  
 
Centronics purchased a 3 acre land parcel from Clement Industrial Park on Route 111 in 1969 with an agreement to begin construction of a commercial building costing no less that $70,000 within 6 months.  Clement Industrial Associates was formed in the 1960’s by a group of Hudson residents desiring to foster the growth of industry within town.  This park was built on a portion of the farmland of Harry and Mildred Clement.  The old Clement Farmhouse which burned in 1935, was located on the corner of what is now Clement Road and Route #111, about where Tip Top Tree Service is now located.
 
By 1971 Centronics was operating from this building on Route #111,  The company reached a prime about 1979 with annual revenues over $100 million.  The business of small printers became very competitive; plus there were  product problems and lawsuits.  By 1982 Control Data Corporation (CDC) merged their printer business into Centronics; invested $25 million in the company and took the business control away from Howard.  By 1987 Control Data sold the printer business to GENICON.  Using the proceeds from this sale, Centronics purchassed EKCO Housewares in 1988 and the company was renamed EKCO.
 
This commercial property is located at 1 Wall Street in Hudson and shown in this C 1977 photo from the Historical Society Collection.  This building  is now a part of Century Park, LLC and is home to Nutfield Technology, Princeton Technical Corporation, American Infrared Solutions, and possibly others.  

Minuteman Marker at Hudson Center Common 1975

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Minute Man Marker Hudson Center Common

Shortly before midnight on April 18, 1775 a detachment of 800 British troops began their march from Boston to Lexington and Concord.  The word of the impending battle was immediately sent by mounted messengers throughout the country; including the Merrimack Valley and Nottingham West, a distance of about 40 miles.  Tradition says the news reached Nottingham West before noon of April 19 and mounted messengers again sent the word out to the various sections of our  town.  The message and the response was so quick that by that very same afternoon, 65 men equipped for war with muskets and ammunition had gathered at the Hudson Center Common ready to march to Lexington.  These men were organized under the command of Captain Samuel Greeley and awaited his orders.  The old military records are lost or destroyed but we do have the muster roll of this company of 65 men – all from Nottingham West.  These men  left for Lexington on the evening of April 19.
Before reaching their destination they were met by a courier who informed them of the retreat of the enemy.  The command returned to Nottingham West.  After this, many of these men enlisted in the army at Cambridge and at least 16 of them later fought at Bunker Hill in June of the same year.
Samuel Greeley was the oldest son of Samuel and Rachel Greeley.  In 1740, at the age of 19, he came to Nottingham West from Haverhill and settled with his father on the Greeley Farm.  This was a 200 acre farm just north of the Joseph Blodgett Garrison place on Lowell Road.  Samuel married Abigail Blodgett, daughter of Joseph and Dorothy (Perham) Blodgett of the Blodgett Garrison in May 1744.  He lived here until 1777, when at the age of 56, he and Abigail moved to Wilton; leaving the farm to his sons Joseph and Samuel.  He died in Wilton.  After his passing, his wife Abigail returned to town where she lived until the age of 95.  While in Nottingham West Samuel was Town Clerk for about 28 years and on the Board of Selectmen for 14 years.  He is remembered in our history as the Captain of the company of militia from Nottingham West who turned out 65 men as volunteers at the time of the Battle of Lexington April 19, 1775.
The Town Common at Hudson Center, originally about 2 acres of land, was used for many events including  training for the town militia, Old Home Day activities, Chautauqua Programs, and recreation. In the early 1960’s the State of New Hampshire built the present route 111 through the center of the Common and eastward to West Windham.  In 1962, the Board of Selectmen received a letter from the Hudson Fortnightly Club recommending that an historic marker commemorating the town’s minutemen be placed on that part of the Common which was not taken by the state for the highway.  This was done by the town in 1963.
On April 19, 1975, some 200 years after the Battle of Lexington and as part of the United States bi-centennial activities a wreath was placed at this monument.  For this event the carillon bells of the Baptist Church were played, and a floral wreath was placed by Phyllis Keeney, Selectman and a Past President of Fortnightly.  The floral wreath was made by club member Mrs. Florence Bogan.  Following the raising of the American Flag with color guards from Veteran’s Auxiliary and  Girl Scouts and  the singing of the National Anthem by Mrs. Bruce Cole, the Muster Roll of the 65 men was read by John Beaumont.  A benediction  and playing of God Bless America on the carillon bells closed the activities.  This marker is located at the point of land on the common near Kimball Hill Road  at the intersection with Central Street.  Photo from the Historical Society collection.

Central Street Looking West C 1935

This week we go back to about 1935 and look west on Central Street across from what is now 74 Central (near Hammond Park).  In fact, the first mailbox on the right side of Central Street is for that home; the home of Gerri and Leon Hammond for many years.
In the forefront Central Street is a dirt roadway and remains dirt until just before the intersection with Lowell.  To help locate this intersection follow the utility poles which veer to the left behind the row of maple trees.  When we compare the C 1935 photo with the current photo, we realize the Lowell and Central intersection was more of a sharp  angle; not the 90 degree one it is today.
On the right side of Central is what is now 72 Central, for many years the home of Hazel (Jewell)  Austin.  On the left and at the beginning of Lowell Road is what is now 1 Lowell Road.  In the center of the picture, barely visible is 59 Central, the former home of Maude Priest.
The morning sunlight casts a square shadow across the left side of the picture.  This is the image of the old tenement called ‘The Beehive’ located on Central and long since removed.   The early photo,from the Historical Society Collection, has been difficult to date.  If any of our readers can provide input please contact the HLN or the  Historical Society by email at HudsonHistorical@live.com or  by phone at 880-2020.

Thompson’s Market on Central Street c1977

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The tradition of a grocery store at Hudson Center continued when the Thompson Brothers, Dave and Bob, relocated their business to 230 Central Street in 1970 following the fire at the Kimball Hill Road location.  This Central Street site had been part of the Greeley-Wentworth property.   Dave and Bob ran the business together for about 5 years, at which time Dave retired from the business. Bob purchased his brother’s interests and continued to manage the store. This he did  until his retirement in 2002, when he received an offer from 7-11 Corporation. Thompson’s Market was an ever popular min-supermarket which is fondly remembered by many!!   In this c1977 photo we see the low price of gas and pork chops!!  This location is now the 7-11 located at 230 Central Street in Hudson Center.  Photo from the Historical Society Collection.