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Revisit Places to Eat in Hudson … Derby’s Dairy Bar C1950

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Derby’s Dairy Bar on Ferry Street C1950

Derby’s was tucked away at the end of Ferry Street just before the bend in the road where Burnham Road begins. Probably remembered by just a handful of Hudson residents!!

George and Marion Derby opened their dairy bar at the end of Ferry Street in March 1950; advertising the best food cooked and served the way you like it!! A few years back I talked with my cousin Ray Parker about Derby’s. Ray and some of his high school friends had a small band. One day this group stopped into Derby’s, got talking, and as a result Mr. Derby offered them a place to practice. After all, it might help his business! For the next few months this group practiced and played at Derby’s. Ray found some old derby hats in his attic; thence their name became “The Derby Hatters”. This group contained 5 guys: Ray Parker on the drums, Dave Thompson at the piano, Wilford Boucher on the base fiddle, Lewis Carter with his sax, and a friend from Nashua on the trumpet. According to Ray, they did not play very long, nor did the dairy bar remain in business for long.

According to Manning’s Hudson Directory, Derby’s Dairy Bar and Trailer Court remained in business until 1954. That location became Moore’s Trailer Park and more recently Merrifield Park. It was located at the end of Ferry Street just before the name changes to Burnham Road. Photo courtesy of Gerry Winslow and now a part of the Historical Society Collection.

Further Destruction of Ferry Street

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Memorial Day Parade at Hudson’s Business Center C 1945

In March 1970 the State of NH identified land frontage and specific properties to be taken for bridge access  along Ferry Street.  Many residents remember those times and the major impact the demolition and reconstruction had on Ferry Street.  We have already discussed the destruction of the 20th Century complex and that of the White Cross Superstore on the opposite (south) side of Ferry Street at Post Office Square.  Today we look at  the impact on the north side of Ferry Street up to Library Street.  Three properties from the intersection of  Ferry and Webster Streets to Carl’s Esso were taken by the state:  the Morey Building, a Dry Cleaning shop, and Chick n’ Chips.  Also frontage was taken from the Esso station to Library Street.  The intersection of Baker Street onto Ferry Street was eliminated and Baker became a  dead street.  Frontage, including 26 shade trees, was removed from Library Park.  Initially it was thought that the old ‘trolley stop’ would also be demolished; but, in the final planning it was saved.
The Morey Building was an important part of the business center of Hudson about 1923 when it became the site of the Hudson Post Office.  This  building was also the initial location of the 20th Century Store, a shoe repair shop, and a second hand shop.  It was remodeled in 1948 into a 2 storey brick veneer building.  The Post Office occupied 1/2 of the first floor.  The rest of the first floor was rented to Trombley’s shoe repair.  The second floor provided residential apartments.  The Post Office remained at this location until 1959 when town growth required expansion of office space and parking.  A new Post Office was built at 15 Derry Street.
In April 1926 Ray House contracted with Osgood Construction Company of Nashua to build a 2 stall garage type building on Ferry Street; he then leased space, including office space, to the town of Hudson for a Fire/Police Station. This served as our fire station until after WWII when it was expanded to a 4 stall station.  In addition to the Police/Fire station this was home to Ferry Street Garage, Chevy Sales and Service, and Hudson Cab. As town growth continued plans were made to build a town owned station on town land.  The Central Fire Station (now Leonard Smith Station) was completed about 1953.
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Chicken ‘n’ Chips on Ferry Street C 1970

Once the Post Office, Fire and Police Departments removed from the area these building were used for various commercial purposes and residential apartments until their demolition in 1970. The Nashua Trust Bank used space in the Morey building for a temporary Hudson Office in 1964.  At time these buildings were home to Chicken ‘n Chips, a cleaning establishment, a donut shop, and residential apartments.
Driving on Ferry Street today heading toward the bridge into Nashua, there is no evidence of these buildings; in fact one wonders how there was even enough room for this complex to exist!  The only possible reminder of the old roadway is the dead end of Baker Street.

White Cross Store Complex

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Roland’s White Cross Early

The plan to address the heavy traffic and congestion which had developed on the Taylor Falls Bridge between Hudson and Nashua by the early 1960’s was to have two bridges with one way traffic on each. A new bridge, The Veterans Memorial Bridge, north of the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge would handle west bound traffic from Hudson to Nashua. The existing concrete bridge would handle the east bound traffic from Nashua to Hudson. By July 1969 the bid process was completed and construction had began. The Veterans Memorial Bridge was dedicated and opened for traffic by September 1970.

During the five plus years before the opening of The Veterans Memorial Bridge, traffic increased further to the point that this became one of the busiest, if not the heaviest traveled bridge in the state. As early as March 1969 the search was on for funding to replace the ailing concrete bridge and in January 1970 the state announced it would be necessary to close the concrete bridge permanently once the new bridge was completed. The new bridge would be used for two-way traffic until plans were completed for a replacement to the Taylor Falls concrete bridge. There was competition for funding as plans were also being made to build the southern bridge connecting route 3A (Lowell Road) with route 3 in Nashua as part of the circumferential highway plans.

Even though the initial plan called for two bridges with one way traffic on each the design of the access roads were adaptable so that the new bridge could handle traffic in both directions should it become necessary; which it did! By March 1970 the state identified additional properties in both Hudson and the Nashua which were required for bridge access. On the Hudson side this included properties on Chase and Central Streets as well as on both sides of Ferry Street; including some frontage and the removal of trees on Library Park. The future of the old trolley stop was even in question!! The traffic pattern included the extension of Chase Street, which previously ended at School Street, through to Ferry Street. This week we will see the impact on the east side of Ferry Street and on the complex known as The White Cross Super Store.

We have two photos of the White Cross Store to share with you; one taken during the early years of the business and the second in 1968 during the last years of the business just prior to the state announcing that the building would be razed in order to accommodate access to and from the bridge(s).

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White Cross Super Store as seen from Webster Street 1968

The earliest reference to Roland’s White Cross appears in the 1948 Hudson Directory. According to an earlier directory Roland it is possible that Roland assumed operation of an earlier store on this site, Friendly Market with Raymond L. Jolley as Propietor. The store building was an existing Martin house which was renovated with a store front and signage. Apartments were available on the second floor.

By the early 1960’s Roland Levesque had partnered with Leo Noel and the business complex enlarged to include Hudson Pharmacy, Sherburne’s Restaurant, and Hudson Flower Shop. Leo Noel’s daughter was one of the early pharmacists and later Roland’s son, Richard was the pharmacist. Richard was the pharmacist when the business was closed. He later served as pharmacist at CVS on Derry Road. Robert Lynch, a Hudson resident and florist, opened his shop in the White Cross Super Store.

The state announced plans to purchase this complex in October 1970 and soon thereafter the building was razed. The 1970 Hudson Directory listed no buildings from the bridge to Campbell Avenue. The White Cross Super Store Complex was gone. Residents living in apartments were relocated elsewhere in town or to neighboring communities. The Pharmacy did relocate to Derry Road 20th Century Shopping Center.

The bid process for the Taylor Falls replacement bridge was completed by December 1972; construction began with a target completion date of November 1974. The Taylor Falls bridge replacement was in operation by January 1975. Today, as you travel from Nashua into Hudson you are greeted by the welcome to Hudson signage and plantings. There are few if any reminders of the White Cross Store.

The 20th Century Building

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20th Century Building C 1965

The construction of the Veterans Memorial bridge in the late 1960’s and the Taylor Falls Replacement bridge in the early 1970’s completely altered the landscape of and virtually ‘wiped out’ what many Hudson residents knew of as the business center of Hudson. This week we look at how this construction affected one of Hudson’s landmarks, the 20th Century Store.

The 20th Century Building “at the bridge” on the corner of Ferry and Webster Streets dated to 1877. Mr. Elisha Z. Martin purchased the property (land and building) about 1876. Shortly after that the building was destroyed by fire and he rebuilt it the following year. After he passed in 1879, Mrs Martin married a Mr Sherman from Connecticut. Together they continued to make changes and improvements to the building.This site has a long history of being occupied by a grocery or general store. At the time of the fire in 1876 it was the location of Nathan Webster’s store, and following reconstruction his business returned and continued until about 1892. George Andrews succeeded Mr. Webster and continued the business until his death in 1903. Mr Elijah Reed ran the business for about 1 year after which Mr Charles Daniels in partnership with Charles B. Gilbert took it over and continued until about 1925.

Changes occurred through the years. By 1928 it was owned by Mrs. Jennie Connell and known as the Connell Block. The left side was washed away during the 1936 flood. The livery and barn were removed from the right side and remodeled into a grocery store. As early as 1926 the right side of the Connell Block was home to Sal’s Cash Market; with Harry Salvail as proprietor. By 1940 this was the location of the 20th Century Store and building which was owned by Phil Lamoy of Nashua.

The problem of adequate and safe travel over the Merrimack River between Hudson and Nashua came to a head in 1960. Hudson’s population was approaching 6,000 and expected to be near 11,000 by 1970! A comparable increase in Nashua’s growth was also expected. The State of New Hampshire commissioned the consulting engineering firm of Bruce Campbell of Boston to study the already heavy traffic situation and make recommendations. The resulting report, published at the end of 1960, kicked off a controversy which would span more than 10 years. This report made two recommendations. The first that a new, two lane bridge be built about 350 feet north of the Taylor Falls Bridge. This bridge would be used for traffic traveling westward into Nashua. The concrete Taylor Falls bridge would be retained for eastward bound traffic from Nashua. The second recommendation was that in the 1975-1980 time frame a circumferential belt highway be built be built to further ease the flow of traffic!!

This report stimulated much discussion between the two communities and the state. We could not agree on where to place the new bridge and the corresponding access roads. The initial plan was rejected. Another idea was a new span to the south, crossing the river about where the B+M bridge abutments exist. A third was to place the new bridge just north of the Taylor Falls bridge with traffic ovals on each side of the bridge for access/egress. 1966 became the year of compromise.

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State Map of Proposed Bridge 1967

In March 1967 voters of Hudson agreed on a plan. This was followed by agreement by the Board of Aldermen in Nashua. By October 1967 the State issued this map showing the proposed bridge and approaches at Taylor’s Falls between Nashua and Hudson as shown. Access to the proposed bridge would go through the 20th Century Building and eliminate part of Webster Street. This plan did include a rotary on the Hudson side; which was later eliminated with plans to extend Chase Street from School Street to Ferry. With all of these discussions taking so long to resolve; traffic flow on the existing concrete bridge was increasing and the bridge was deteriorating.

In September 1968 it became necessary to make repairs to the concrete bridge to shore it up and prolong it’s life. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic. Foot traffic (and bicycle) were permitted. Vehicle traffic was detoured to the bridge at Tyngsborough or Manchester to the north. Residents on both sides of the river would team up with neighbors and have two cars; one on each side of the bridge.

In the spring of 1969 the state relocation assistant expressed concern over the re-location of some 37 Hudson falmilies resulting from bridge construction. Many of these were families of 1 or 2 people living in apartments in the 20th Century Complex. The average rent paid by these families for a three room apartment was $16 per week. Comparable housing for a comparable amount of money did not exist in Hudson. The closest they could get for decent and safe conditions were going for $25 per week; over a 50% increase. The zoning ordinances of Hudson encouraged the construction of better homes without considering the needs of low cost housing.

By June 1969 the state offered $158,000 for the 20th building including the 20th century market. $38,000 for the purchase of a building on Webster Street, adjacent to the 20th Century which was used as a laundromat.

Construction was awarded to Cianchette Brothers of Maine and work on the new bridge began in July 1969 with forms for the first pier on the Nashua side by the construction The bridge was slated for completion September 1970. Meanwhile the Taylor Falls bridge to the south continues to be the work horse for traffic between the two communities.

In October 1969 we would see the end of the 20th Century store at the bridge in Hudson. On October 8 there was the ‘Sale of the Century”; designed to empty the store of all items as the building was scheduled for demolision within a few days. A new store at the 20th Century Shopping Center (now 102 Plaza) on the Derry Road was being readied. The “Welcome to Hudson, NH” sign which sat atop the building was removed. In less than two weeks the 20th Century building was gone.

September 1970 the Veterans Memorial Bridge opened for two-way traffic. State and local officials were present on September 16 for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mrs. Georgianna Manter, a 99 year old resident of Londonderry was given the honor of cutting the ribbon. She had outlived all previous bridges. She had driven a horse and buggy over the wooden bridge and driven an auto over each of the later bridges. Finally our traffic needs no long depended on the old, crumbling concrete bridge.

Andrews Home on Ferry Street

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Andrews Home on Ferry Street

 

In 1960 as you traveled eastward from Nashua into Hudson on the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge you would have the impression you had entered a blighted and economically depressed area. The bridge itself was sagging and straining the reinforcements. The load limit was reduced to prolong it’s life. You entered the Hudson business district. The businesses included a large chain grocery supermarket, a combined variety and pharmacy, two small restaurants, several small businesses, a multitude of rental apartments buildings, and a number of single family homes. The area was dominated by wooden structures dating back a century or more. As the future of this area had been in limbo due to the prolonged planning for a new bridge, many of these buildings were in need of repair.

Once the bridge plans became clear the “revitalization” of the bridge area began. Demolition of buildings was done by both private (business) and public enterprises. Some properties were purchased by the state for the bridge itself or for access roads to the bridge. Private enterprises purchased older properties with the vision of a commercial opportunity once the bridge project was completed. This “revitalization” began in 1964 and by 1970 all of the old landmarks had fallen to the bulldozer. With new bridges and access routes the area had the appearance of a growing and progressive community.

One such home which disappeared from the landscape was this victorian home on Ferry Street near the intersection with Baker Street. Yes! Baker Street did flow into Ferry Street near the intersection of Derry and Ferry. This fine Victorian home was built in 1887 by George Gilman Andrews on land he had previousiy purchased from Kimball Webster. Our first photo shows the Andrews House from the side. Ferry Street is on the left.

A Hudson native, George Gilman was born tin 1847 to Gilman and Sophia J. (Senter) Andrews . Their family homestead was located at what is now 53 Old Derry Road. George and Anabel Follansbee of Manchester were married in 1870. They had one daughter, Maude, born 1871. George was one of Hudson’s more prominent businessmen; postmaster, merchant, former town clerk, selectman, and representative. He succeeded Nathan Webster in the operation of his store in Post Office Square.

On Sunday afternoon September 7, 1903 George and Anabel were passengers on an electric car (trolley) making a return trip from Canobie Lake to Hudson. Perhaps they had taken a Sunday afternoon excursion to the park. Their westbound car crashed with another car coming from Nashua. As a result of the serious accident George was killed. His wife, Anabel, who was seated adjacent to him in the car, was seriously injured and was transported to the Lowell Hospital. She was in dangerous condition but within 24 hours showed sign of improvement. After a long recovery she ultimately regained health to be comfortable but was never entirely well again. With our second photo Anabel (Mrs George) Andrews is greeting guests in her dining room.

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Mrs. Andrews (Anabel) in her Dining Room

Anabel and her daughter Maude continued to live in this home following the accident. Mrs. Andrews passed in 1930 at the age of 81; a well known and respected resident of Hudson. Her daughter, Maude continued to live at this address until she passed in 1963 at the age of 92. Despite her advanced years Maude took a keen interest in town affairs. She had served as librarian early on when the library was located in the Baker Block on Central Street.

At some point prior to 1948 the Andrews home and attached barn on Ferry Street was converted to a multi-family. In 1948 Maude sold the property to Hudson resident Winthrop Hannaford. This sale took place subject to the following; Maude had the option to lease the ell (her living quarters) for $50 per month for the duration of her natural life. Also, there could be no alterations or additions to the building except to the foundations. Garages could be erected in the read for use by occupants of the building.

In 1955, eight years after Maude’s passing, the property was sold to Oswald H and Adrienne H. Boilard and in 1967 it was transferred to Gerald and Patricia Boilard. By June 1970 the property was sold to the Humble Oil Company. In September of that year the house was demolished to make room for a new three-bay service station to by operated by Carl Roberts and known as Carl’s Esso. A photo of this demolishion appeared in the Hudson News, September 30, 1970.

Many of us remember Carl’s Esso with the tiger mascot perched on the building roof. It is now the site of the Gulf station. Photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society.

1912 Home of George and Hattie Skeels

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57 Ferry Street C 1912

By 1911 the Hudson bridge area had become an attractive and growing community.  The iron bridge connecting the villages of Hudson and Nashua was recently replaced by a  concrete bridge.  This bridge was sturdy and wide enough to accommodate vehicular traffic plus the increased traffic  from the electric street railroad.  Once the street railroad or “trolley” crossed into Hudson the line split to provide service in three directions:  up Central Street to and down Lowell Road to Lakeview and on to Lowell; a second line went up Ferry Street on to Hudson Center and then to Pelham; a third made a sharp turn onto Webster Street and on to Litchfield, Goffstown, and Manchester.
    In addition to the improved roadways and and trolley service a business and shopping area was developing which included the post office, fire and police a new public school named for Kimball Webster.  Just a few years earlier the town received the gift of permanent public library donated by Dr. Alfred K. Hills in memory of his wife Ida Virginia.  Also, across the way from the library was a public park which included a convenient waiting station for the trolley line on Ferry Street.
This was the community which attracted 54 year old George H. and 52 year old Harriett “Hattie” Skeels.  They selected a lot on the corner of Ferry and First Streets from John A. Robinson in November 1911.  Ten months later their new home was completed and they moved in a few weeks later on  October 12, 1912. Our first photo shows Mr and Mrs Skeels on the porch of their new home and their young daugter, Myrtle, at the walkway.  To the right and down the hill is the Hills Memorial Library.  This photo is from a post card of the private collection of Gerry Winslow.
George was born Feb 1868 in St. Lawrence, NY and Harriet Furman was born in 1870.  They were married in 1892 most likely in NY.  By 1900 they were established in the Nashua community.  He was employed as a brakeman for the B&M Railroad and belonged to fraternal orders including Masons, IOOF, and the Brotherhood of Trainmen.  Both George and Harriet were leaders in Christian Endeaver in Nashua.  He often ministered to his fellow employees.  With the convenience of transportation a move to Hudson would be a relatively easy transition for Mr and Mrs. Skeels.
Their life together in the new Hudson home would be short lived.  On November 23, 1917 George passed away due to traumatic shock resulting from a railroad accident.  He died instantly.  Funeral services were from his home in Hudson.  He was laid to  rest in the family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery.  His father, Herman H. Skeels had predeceased him in 1916.  His parents had moved to Nashua about the same time as George and Harriet,  Aside from his widow, Harriet, he was survived by his mother and Little Myrtle.  This is the only mention, other than the young girl in the photo, of Young Myrtle.  He was remembered as a friend of all – an enemy of none.
Harriet continued to reside in her Hudson home and continued her social and christian crusade activities in Nashua.  I have no further information on Myrtle.
In June 1940 Harriett, widow of George Skeels, married Clarence Paige of Manchester.  Following their wedding trip they resided in Manchester.  In July 1942 Harriett Paige sold her Hudson home to Mr and Mrs Carroll Morse.  In June 1948 Harriett (Furman)(Skeels) Paige of Mancheser, a well known former resident of Nashua and Hudson passed.  She was laid to rest with hr first husband George in Woodlawn Cemetery.
From 1948 to the present time, some 70 years, the house at 57 Ferry Street has been home to 12 different owners; including Francis and Florence Fairfield and their family.  Many  remember Francis from service as a window and distribution clerk in our Hudson Post Office and Florence “Ginger” for her hairdressing salon.
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Garage and House at 57 Ferry C 1945

The present owners are Jaqueline Martone and Michael Euliano.  Although they have lived here only a short time they love the house and appreciate the maintence and upkeep by the previous owners.  The second photo taken C1945 is complements of “Jackie” Martone.  It shows the garage which is at the rear of the house and faces First Street.

Water Towers on Highland Street

Standpipe On Highland Street

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

Steel Water Tower from Highland C1978

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

Steel Water Tower from Ferry C1978

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