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Presentation of Mary Gates Lowell Road

 

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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)

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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

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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.
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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

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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.
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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

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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.
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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

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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

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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.
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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.

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.