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Presentation of Mary Gates Lowell Road



Early Image of Presentation Gates

In 2004 a large portion of Lowell Road, including that section near the Presentation of Mary (PMA), was widened to accommodate the increase in traffic. Prior to this project the historic gates embraced the driveway which lead from Lowell Road to the oval in front of the PMA building. Once the right of way for the reconstructed Lowell Road was laid out these gates were found to be in the way and had to be moved. When the project first started it was estimated the gates could be moved for about $50,000. The early image of the PMA gates is from a post card compliments of Gerald Winslow.

When plans were finalized the historic gates would be moved approximately 75 feet back from Lowell Road. Once moved the gates would grace the front of the property but they would no longer embace the driveway to the Presentation. A new and safer driveway entrance to was planned opposite the Executive Drive intersection with Lowell Road. This change in the driveway would also permit safer access of fire equipment to PMA as the modern vehicles were too large to pass under the gate. According to a July 2004 article in the Hudson Litchfield News, once the bid specs for moving the gates were prepared nine bid packages were sent out, but only two actual bids were returned. Both of these had prices far in excess of the planned $50,000.

Presentation Gate 2018

Presentation Gates 2018

The gates were not on the National Historic Register but they could be eligible to be on the register and the project to move the gates could not endanger this eligibility. The exterior bricks on the gates had been replaced in 1980. The granite blocks used in the foundation and the wrought iron work on the top of the gate were deemed as the important pieces. In actuality parts of the gate, such as the wrought iron fixtures and the sections on the top and bottom were salvaged and new gates were built back from the widened roadway by about 75 feet. This work was completed in September and October of 2004. The modified driveway was completed in 2003. The recent photo of the gates was taken by the author this past week. I wish to acknowledge an article “Presentation of Mary Gates to be Moved” authored by Lynne Ober which appeared in a July 2004 edition of the HLN.


United Pentecostal Church (The Sanctuary)


United Pentecostal Church C 1975

     The Hudson United Pentecostal Church was organized in 1961 with the first services being held at the home o Mr. and Mrs. Sam Lapan on the Boyd Road.  Sunday School classes were begun at the same time; using the family basement, garage, and re-purposed chicken house for classrooms.  The services were conducted by the Rev. Harvey H. Howe, then pastor of the Manchester United Pentecostal Church.
      Pastor and Mrs Howe along with the small parish began searching for a church site and were successful in purchasing land at the corner of Derry Road and Philips Drive in Hudson in 1963.  Work began on the church building and by September the foundation was completed.   On a few subsequent Saturdays, as many as 29 men from other churches in the district gathered for a “church-raising Bee”.  The first floor was completed followed by the sidewalls, and then the roof.  Within 11 days the building was made weather tight; all with volunteer labor.  Through the winter months others volunteered services to complete the interior.  Sam Lapan served as head carpenter with Pastor Howe overseeing the work.  The church was completed and dedicated in June 1964.
     In the spring of 1965 a seven-room garrison style house was built by the membership as a parsonage; thus providing a permanent residence for the Rev. and Mrs. Howe and their family.  Some funding for these buildings came from district and international headquarters of the Pentecostal Church.  The local church took out a mortgage from a New Hampshire bank for the balance.  A short time after the completion of the parsonage, the Rev. Harvey M. Howe resigned his pastorate in Manchester, moved to Hudson, and assumed full-time duties of the church here.  Beginning as a small handful of members the growth of this church has mirrored the growth of the Town of Hudson over the years.
     The present pastor is Rev David Howe; son of the founding pastor Harvey Howe.  Rev David worked as Associate Pastor with his dad prior to assuming the pastorate.  He and his wife June have shared 45 years of life together serving the church in Hudson.  In 2013 the church celebrated 50 years of organization in Hudson and changed their name from Pentecostal  to The Sanctuary United Pentecostal Church.  The new name provides more identification for a church in these times; offering a sanctuary in a troubling world.  As a church, Sanctuary United Pentecostal is not a mega-church.  It is a church that knows it’s individuals, provides an influence in the community, and in the world.
     The photo of the Pentecostal Church is from the Historical Society Collection; showing the church C 1975.  Much of this historical background is from “The Town in Transition” as published by the Society in 1977; as well as various newspaper articles.

St. Kathryn’s Church

In July 1966 the Roman Catholic Diocese purchased approximately 4.9 acres  and the  former Blanchette  home  on the corner of Wason and Lowell Road from  Armand Blanchette.  Back through history this intersection was called Gowings’ Corner; in part because of this home, but also due to the large Gowing homestead located across from this house on Lowell Road.  Samuel Gowing (born 1842) built this home around 1885 and lived here until his death in 1933 after which it remained in the Gowing family until sold to the Blanchette’s in 1942.  In August 1966 the Catholic Diocese announced plans to establish a mission chapel in south Hudson as part of the parish of St. John Evangelist.  The  chapel was built on this site and the building blessed in June 1968.
The chapel was built by Caron Construction Co. of Manchester.  The result was a modern, unusual, and graceful building.  The roof reached to the ground at each of the 4 corners; known to be a favorite climbing spot for a number of unidentified young folks!  Inside the windows flanked the altar and reached from the floor to the domed wooden ceiling.  Beams stretched from the center of this dome to the middle of each side.  The overall affect was one of simplicity, augmented by natural materials used in construction. The free standing bell tower, which some may remember, was added in December 1993.

St Kathryn’s Church C1977

     In June 1969 the Parish of St. Kathryn’s in Hudson was dedicated and Rev. Gerald Chalifour named as the first pastor.  The name St. Kathryn was chosen for St. Catherine of Siena (using the Gaelic spelling of her name) and in recognition of a gift of money made to the church by William Henry of Exeter in memory of his wife Kathryn.
     The white farmhouse shown in our first photo became the first rectory of the newly dedicated parish. This farmhouse was used as the rectory until early 1970’s at which time  the pastor moved to a house at 5 Wason Road just beyond the church.  The farmhouse was rented for various purposes and ultimately became home to the Christian Life Center.
In June 1973 the church purchased a 1.8 acre parcel of land  including a house from the estate of Brenton Morgan.  This parcel encircled the  existing property on the east and south.  This was a portion of what remained of his farm after a large part  had been taken by the State of New Hampshire for the circumferential highway. The house was soon used as the rectory.  Shortly afterwards a former chicken coop in Hookset was purchased and moved in sections to Hudson and reconstructed into St Kathryn’s Hall by October 1974.
        Father Gary J. Beliveau came to St Kathryn Parish in 1993.  At age 34 he was the youngest pastor in the Manchester Diocese.  When he arrived the plan was to build up the parish but also to realize the parish may merge with another or potentially be closed.  Under his leadership the parish grew from a small dedicated and enthusiastic parish to a vibrant, larger parish.
        Within two years of his arrival the parish embarked  upon Project 2000 – to become a growing and going church.  The congregation  outgrew it’s present site  by June 1999 and land was purchased on Dracut road  for a new church.  Approximately 1 year later the old buildings at the corner of Lowell and Wason were formally closed.  For a few months Sunday masses were held in the cafeteria of Presentation of Mary.  Weekday masses were held at the former Oblate Retreat house.  The new St Kathryn’s church on Dracut Road was constructed and dedicated by  August 12, 2000.
     Changes occur so quickly in Hudson that it may be difficult to remember the St Kathryn’s buildings at Lowell and Wason.  The property was sold to Manny Sousa in May 2000. The old farmhouse was used as a training site by the Hudson Fire Department.  The church building itself was dismantled.   The site was then developed into a retail center; the first tenant being Shop and Shop Supermarket.  Over the past few years Shop and Shop closed their  operation and the buildings have been re-purposed into a Goodwilll store and donation center.  Both photos are from the Historical Society Collection.

St John Parish House and Elementary School


St John’s and Library Street School c1977

St John Elementary School

This week we continue with Library Street and look at St John’s Parish House and Elementary School.  Two adjacent parcels of land were purchased by the diocese between Connell and School Streets for the elementary school.  The first, adjacent to School Street, was purchased from Julia Robinson in July 1955.  This parcel was next to the town owned tennis courts on School Street and was what remained of a larger parcel which extended up School Street.  The second parcel, adjacent to Connell Street, consisted of land and buildings purchased from Arthur L. Crosscup in August 1956.  This had been the home of Phyllis and Arthur Crosscup and their family.
Ground breaking for the school occurred on April 28, 1957.  While construction was taking place the school actually began classes in the basement of the church under the supervision of Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.  For the next year the Men’s Club and members of the parish pitched in every night to assist with the construction.  As many as 17 men were there helping 2-3 hours each night to prepare for the opening of the school.  In October 1858, after the dedication, the classes were moved into the newly completed school.
By 1962 an 8 room addition was built onto the school to accommodate the growing enrollment.  The first graduation of a full eight years occurred in 1965.  Into the 1970’s enrollment was on the decrease and in 1975 St John Parish announced the school would close as of June 1975.  The St. John’s School Board and the School Board of Hudson worked together on a transition.  A plan was devised whereby the town would lease the building for one year.  After which the town purchased the property and it is now Library Street Elementary School.  This school had made a lasting impression on our town.

St John Parish Center

Diagonally across Library Street from the elementary school and adjacent to the church building, the diocese purchased the former home of Charles and Marguerite Farmer in June 1955.  By 1962 the home was converted into a convent for the Sisters of Presentation of Mary.  It was used for that purpose about 12 years.  By 1978 the building re purposed and enlarged as a Parish center.  The Parish Center was dedicated May 7, 1978.

Parish House 2016

During it’s nearly 70 years in Hudson, St. John the Evangelist Church, the Parish, and their  affiliated organizations continue to serve the Town of Hudson.  I think of the Men’s Group (called Holy Name Society), Knights of Columbus an International Organization, Women’s Guild, ,Boy Scout Troop 252, Cub Scouts to name a few.  At the present time and in today’s economy perhaps the most notable is St John XXIII Parish Food Pantry.  Their service began about 1982 as St Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and has grown to providing food  to some 300 different families in Hudson over the course of a year.   The pantry is housed in a major portion of The Parish Center at 23 Library Street.  One project of note is the ‘Feed Our Kids’ Program where the volunteers of the Food Pantry work with the students of Alvirne High School.  This program supplies a backpack with food for eight meals, snacks, and drinks to provide nourishment over the weekend to a number of students.  The food pantry provides the food and the students pack the backpacks and deliver them to the students.  The food pantry receives support from the entire Hudson Community and their services are available to any family within our town.  The photo of the elementary school is from the collection of the Historical Society.  The photo of the Parish House is from the records of the Town of Hudson.

St John Church and Rectory C 1975


St John Evangelist Church C 1975

Prior to the mid 1940’s Hudson had no large industry.  As World War II ended cars and gas were more obtainable and travel was easier.  Families were moving into the area and finding employment in Nashua or other places, and choosing Hudson as their place of residence.  Families with Catholic background traveled to Nashua for their religious connections.  Those families of French descent would attend Infant Jesus (Crown Hill) or St. Francis Xavier (French Hill).  Those of Irish descent attended St. Patricks; Polish descent to St. Stanislaus; and the Lithuanian families to St. Casimir.
By the mid to late 1940’s the Catholic population in Hudson neared 500 families.  The Bishop of Manchester, Most Reverend Matthew F. Brady, decided that Hudson could well support and maintain it’s own Roman Catholic Church.  In May of 1947 Articles of Agreement were written by Bishop Brady stating that the Diocese would establish a church in Hudson.  Thomas J. O’Loughlin and Arthur L. Lougee were selected as trustees.  The months which followed were spent planning, selecting a site, and procurement of land.  By March 1949 the Diocese owned three contiguous land parcels.  Two of these, the former Goddard Home and Connell Home, faced Library Street.  The third parcel, formerly site of the town sheds, was to the rear of these parcels and had frontage on Chase Street.  This third parcel  would become the parking lot for the church.  You may be asking, as I have,  why this particular location was chosen?  It is conveniently located, close to the bridge, and close to Town Services.  Beyond that I have no additional insights.  As you read this article,  you may have some thoughts to share.
By March 17, 1949 the first pastor, Rev. John Belluscio, arrived in Hudson and took his residence at St. Patrick’s in Nashua.  Within two days of his arrival the Rowell Family of Hudson offered the use of the old Ferryall farmhouse on Webster Street so he could be closer to his parish.  Hudson had it’s first rectory!   Father John held the first Mass in Hudson on April 3, 1949 in the gymnasium of the H.O. Smith School, then the Hudson Junior High School.  Sunday Masses continued at the school until a building was ready for use on Library Street.
Work on the new church buildings began the very next day.  The Goddard house on what is now 27 Library Street was razed to make room for the new rectory.  By mid June the Harry Connell house  on what is now 25 Library Street was moved across the street to 30 Library Street on land purchased for that purpose from Raymond Victor Lemery.  The Connell house was converted into 4 apartments which were retained by the Diocese as income for the parish.  This property was later sold to help with the purchase and building of St. John’s School.
In June 1949 Rev. Robert J. Faucher came to Hudson as the first curate to work with Father John and by August the new rectory was ready for occupancy.  As the  basement of the rectory had an altar; daily masses could now be held.     It should be noted that a part of Father John’s task was to create an atmosphere compatible to parishioners of varied backgrounds.   Tragically, in August 1950 the associate pastor, Rev Faucher was killed in an auto accident.  Rev. Hector Lamontagne was appointed and he would serve 10 years.

St John Rectory C 1975

Construction continued on the church building by Brideau Construction Co of Berlin.  The first Christmas Midnight Mass was held in the basement of the new church in 1949.  The following Easter morning the first Mass was held in the new sanctuary.  The building was dedicated December 3, 1950.  In the years which followed improvements were made to the building.  By 1987 a 400 pipe Felgemaker Organ (built in 1886)  was installed  and dedicated.  In the 1990’s stained glass windows were added to the sanctuary in addition to the stained glass windows overlooking the sanctuary which was given by St. John’s Women’s Guild.   In 1999  St John The Evangelist Parish celebrated  50 years of service in and to the Town of Hudson.   The plan of the Diocese was to merge the Infant Jesus Parish in Nashua and the St. John’s Parish in Hudson.  In 2007, with the retirement of the priests in each of these parishes, these parishes merged together as Blessed John XXIII Parish (now St. John XXIII Parish) with Monsignor Paul Bouchard serving as Pastor in both.
The photos for this week are from the Historical Society Collection.  They  show the Rectory and  St John Evangelist Church as photographed about 1975 in preparation of The Town in Transition.  My thanks to Pauline Boisvant, Leona Shanholtz, and Don Smith for helping with he background information for this article. Comments or sharing of information can be by email to  HudsonHistorical.com.


Church Parsonage at 31 Library Street


31 Library Street 2016

In 1892 there was but one house on the western side of Sanders Street (now Library Street) between Ferry Street and what is now Central Street.  That house belonged to Joseph Fuller.  The Hills Memorial Library had not been built and that corner lot was the location of an Ice House.  In May 1910 Fred Blodgett transferred a parcel of land containing about 11,975 square feet on the west side of Sanders Street to The Congregational Society.  This parcel was part of land previously owned by Joseph Fuller.  The very next month the church  contracted with  Nashua Building Company to construct a parsonage house.  Work began July 1 and was completed by October 1 of that same year.  This was a major accomplishment for this Hudson Church and their new Pastor, the Reverend Lewis E. Perry formerly from Ayer, Mass.  Rev. Perry delivered his first sermon in Hudson in July 1910 and was the first pastor to reside in the new parsonage on Library Street.
This residence at 31 Library  served as parsonage for the Congregational pastors  until the merger between that congregation and the Methodist church in  1930.  It then served a parsonage of the Hudson Community Church until October 1970. The last pastor to reside there was Rev. J. Vernon Whittenburg who served the church from 1963 to 1970.   At that time a decision was
 made and the property was sold as a private dwelling.  From 1970 to the present this home has had 4 owners, including the present owner, Mr. Walid Alhgoul, owner of Wally’s Pizza in Hudson Center.
The accompanying photo shows 31 Library as of the summer of 2016.  The Historical Society does not have a good photo of  the early parsonage; ff any of our readers can help locate such a photo; please send an email to Ruth at HudsonHistorical@Live.com.  Also, special thanks to David Morin for helping with the research for this article.

Hudson Community Church C 1975


Community Church C 1975

Resulting from the merger of two historic churches , the Congregational and the Methodist-Episcopal, the Hudson Community Church was registered with the State of New Hampshire in April 1930.  Prior to this date meetings were held by each of the two churches in order to discuss and approve the plan to merge as set forth by a joint committee.  The newly formed Hudson Community Church selected the church building of the Methodist-Episcopal (aka the brick church) on Central Street  and the parsonage house of the Congregational Church located at 31 Library Street.  The Congregational Building (aka the white church) was sold t to Hudson Grange; the Methodist-Episcopal parsonage on Baker Street was sold to members of the Baker Family.  The Community Church continued to use the organ from the Methodist-Episcopal church which had been  recently installed and dedicated in 1924.  Later, in 1950, a new Skinner 2-manual organ was installed and dedicated.  At the same time, renovations were made to the sanctuary and the chancel in order to accommodate the organ.  This occurred during the pastorate of Rev Arnold Tozer.
     In 1937, under the Pastorate of Rev Stanley Anderson, the Community Church organized and hosted the 200th anniversary of the formation of the first church in Hudson.  This was a joint celebration between the Baptist Church and the Community Church:  Celebrating 200 years of established religious services in town through the Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists.  Dr. Henry O. Smith presented an historical sketch at this anniversary.  A copy of this speech, in his original handwriting, is on file at the Historical Society.
     Hudson Players, the dramatic club of the Hudson Community Church, was organized by a group of church members interested in producing and presenting stage plays.  During the years to come this group prepared and presented at least 8 different productions.  The first was “Ghost Train”.   At one time this group had as many as 63 members.  Initially an auditorium with a stage was rented offsite for these presentations.  The group looked forward to an opportunity to have a parish house where these plays could be presented in-house.  Such an opportunity started to become reality in December 1953 when the church voted to start a financial campaign to raise $60,000 for a new parish house.  A Building Committee under the chairmanship of Grant Jasper was established.

Parish House Completed

     By April of the following year the goal was met and the construction phase for the parish house began.  Plans called for a chapel, assembly room with a stage, 7 class rooms, and a kitchen.  By December of 1955 work was completed and the new parish house, as shown in this week’s photo, was dedicated.  The project was begun under the pastorate of Rev Norman Jimerson and completed under pastorate of Rev Lawrence Vincent. Later, in May of 1961 the chapel was dedicated tot he memory of long time organist Marion Joy.
     The exterior of the church building  remained much the same until 2012 when  a handicap ramp was constructed and dedicated to the memory of John Goes by his friends and family.  Again, early in January 2016 the front and interior of the parish house was extensively damaged when a car crashed into and through the plate glass window.  The driver of the car was not insured; the church and community met the challenge of repairing this damage.

Celebration Service February 12

     As of this writing, the new window(s) and associated renovations to the parish hall have been completed.  The church, under the leadership of their current Pastor, Rev Patti Gerry-Karajames,  will hold a Celebration Service on Sunday February 12, 2017 at 11:00am  with an Open House immediately following.  Many historical items and documents from these historic churches  will be on display.  You are all invited to attend.

Parish House Window 2017

     These photos are from the Historical Society collection.  The first shows the ‘brick church’ with the Parish House.  This photo was taken about 1975 in preparation for the Town in Transition.  The second shown the redesigned and recently completed Parish House window.