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The farm homes and productive farm fields along Lowell Road, coupled with the street railroad (trolley) operating between Nashua and Lowell, bolstered a cottage industry of guest houses and country resorts along Lowell Road in Hudson during the early 1900’s. By 1895 the Lowell and Suburban Street Railway from Nashua was extended down Lowell Road to connect with the line at Lakeview in Tyngsborough. This provided inexpensive, pleasant, and relatively rapid public transportation from Nashua, through Hudson and on to Lowell and the Boston area. By 1913 this line was in its hayday and offered frequent travel daily along this route. Within a few years as more and more residents operated autos the use of the trolley diminished. Operating at a loss these lines were discontinued about 1931.
Some Hudson residents opened their homes as guest houses during the summer months; providing opportunities for city dwellers to spend vacation time where they could enjoy the rural, cooler farm life of Hudson and still have access to home and easy travel to Nashua, Manchester, and sites in the mountains. One such guest house “The Poplars” was operated by Mrs. Alfereta Joan (Batchelder) Dustin.
Alfereta was born in Hudson November 1853; her parents were Lydia (Steele) and Mark Batchelder. She married Washington Franklin Dustin of Antrim, NH February 1876 here in Hudson. They had three children, one of whom died young due to a heart condition. Sons Mark Willis and Carrol E. had families of their own; one family living near Boston and the other in western Massachusetts.
About 1900 Alfereta remodeled a house on the west side of Lowell Road which had been built by George Kuhn. She named it “The Poplars” and it became her residence and her place of business. She operated a summer guest house from about 1901 to 1910. “The Poplars” consisted of one acre of land with a two story house and an ell; 9 rooms, 2 piazzas, a grove of pines, and a small cottage which was called Camp Crescent. We at the Historical Society are fortunate to have this post card view of “The Poplars”. This postal was sent from Alfereta to one of her perspective boarders providing some details of her location and accommodations. By my research and research of others in the society I place “The Poplars” at or near 143 Lowell Road, just south of Fox Hollow Condominiums.
She was doing a flourishing business as early as 1903 and she continued in this business until 1909 and possible 1910. Her location was convenient to the trolly line thus providing transportation for her guests to/from Nashua, Lowell and even the Boston area. Guests would come to enjoy the cooler more rural setting for their vacation while still being accessible to sightseeing, entertainment, and their homes. The months of June, July, and August were the busiest. At one point in August 1906 there is a record of her having 20 and some days more persons registered at her guest house principally visiting from the Boston area and vicinity.
In 1911 Alfereta became ill and required mastoid surgery. She did not recover from this and passed July 1911. Her funeral service was held from her home “The Poplars” and she was laid to rest in Sunnyside Cemetery here in Hudson.
Following her death “The Poplars” was occupied by the family of William Hadley. In 1913 this family moved to Billerica and “The Poplars” was placed for sale at auction. After that it was owned by various families. At one point, about 1932, it was operated as a tearoom under the name of “The Green Lantern”.
There were other guest houses in Hudson; I know only a few by name: The Twiss Farm on Pelham Road, Pleasant View Farm on Wason Road, Riverside, and Morning Glory Farm. As late at the mid 1950 at least one farm family hosted a guest house for city dwellers; that was Butternut Hill Farm on Robinson Road operated by Charles and Ruth E. Parker. These welcoming homes in Hudson were an earlier version of our Bed and Breakfast. Researched and written by Ruth Parker and published May 31, 2020 in Nashua Telegraph.
Many remember this house as the home at Rose Chalifoux and Sons Farm; and later the home of Floreda Chalifoux. John B. and Rose (Delisle) Chalifoux and their family of two sons (Levi and Ernest) and one daughter, Floreda lived in Drewsville, NH an unincorporated community within Walpole, NH when John was killed in a lumber accident. In 1921 Rose and her oldest son Levi (age 21) purchased the farm of Bernard Ready in Hudson, NH. According to the deed of purchase this included land and buildings plus all the cattle, tools, and horses on the farm. The family them moved to Hudson and took on the operation of the farm; at the time Levi was 21, Ernest 17, and their sister Floreda was 18.
Brothers Levi and Ernest worked to improve and expand the dairy farm from that time until the mid 1970’s. In it’s prime the operation consisted of 60 Jersey Cows. Originally milking was a hand process; straining the milk into 20 quart jugs, water cooled on the premises until they were picked up by Descheaux Brothers of Dracut for processing. As times progressed electric milking machines were used and ultimately in the 1960’s a bulk tank was installed for storing and cooling the milk. Levi and Ernest were very acting in Hudson Grange; serving as officers locally, at the county, and state level. They displayed some of their prized Jersey cows at the Hillsborough County Fair. In 1949 they were recognized by “Look” magazine when they won the Golden Cup Award for one of their Jersey cows.
Levi married a Hudson girl, Mildred Shunaman, whose family operated a farm on Musquash Road. Soon after their marriage in 1939 they built a house a short distance from the farm home on Chalifoux Road. They had two daughters, Laura and Margery, both attending Hudson schools and graduating from Alvirne. Laura graduated from UNH with a biology degree. She was employed in the medical research field for many years during which time she authored/coauthored many scientific papers and book chapters. Even from her childhood she was a lover of animals. Laura passed in September 2016 and was laid to rest in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Walpole, NH with her parents and family. Margery married Walter Coomes, JR in Februaray 1969 and they have a family of one son and a daughter. They reside in Belchertown, MA. Mildred Chalifoux is remembered by many as their elementary school teacher in Hudson.
Levi married Ethel Morris of Pelham in October 1947. They likewise moved into their own home adjacent to the old homestead. Ethel, like her sister-in-law, was an elementary school teacher in the Pelham School District.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Dick Hanlon, present owner of this house and a great nephew Ernest and Ethel Chalifoux. Dick fondly recalls driving one of their grey Ford tractors at an early age as he helped his uncles cut, dry, rake , and bail hay from their fields to store for winter feed for their dairy cows. In addition to their own fields, they would harvest the hay from the Luther Pollard and Ben Morgan farms along Lowell Road. Whenever they had too many bails to store in their own facility the used space at the Lebouf barn on River Road.
In the late 1970 the Chalifoux farm was leased to Jack Allen of Walpole, NH for 5 years. During this time he continued the dairy operation and added strawberry fields. Many remember visiting Alllen’s Strawberries to ‘pick your own’ berries. By 1982 Jack returned to the Walpole area and the Jersey stock was sold. The farmhouse was subdivided from the farm land. The farm land was then sold to Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems).
Fromt the earlier history of this house we learn that in 1892 it was on a portion of the Sylvanus Winn Farm. Upon his death it was purchased by Clarence and George Muldoon of Pelham who later sold to Bernard Ready of Lowell who in 1921 sold to the Chalifoux family; hence the present day name for the road. Looking at the 1858 Chace map we see this house was in the family of Timothy Ford who had ownership until 1880 when it transferred to Sylvanus Winn.
In 1942 this house was included in a booklet written by the Hudson Fortnightly Club entitled “NH Homes Built Prior to 1842” From this booklet and research at the Registry of Deeds we know that William Winn and his brother Isaac took possession of this place about 1830. William Winn was born 1797 in Hudson and married Pirsis Gildore of Manchester in 1830. Pirsis passed in 1843 and one year later William sold the place to Timothy Ford and moved to Pelham.
A search at the Registry of Deeds tells me the previous owner, and the earliest I have found, was John Pollard. A few years prior to 1830 he had mortgaged the place to Moses Greeley, Jr. This mortgage was assigned to William and Isaac Winn in 1830. As a result of some judgements against Mr. Pollard the property was seized by the sheriff to satisfy those obligations. By April of that year a sheriff’s deed transferred the property to William Winn.
A few other facts of interest. In early deeds what is now Chalifoux Road was called the Ferry Road. According to Kimball Webster and his History of Hudson, NH a ferry at the south end of town was established by Jonathan Hardy who was assessed here in 1748. This ferry was later known as Pollard’s Ferry and was likely operated by Capt. John Pollard son of John Sr.
I hesitate to give a build date for this house. We do know that a house existed on this premise in 1830 and also while John and Elizabeth Pollard resided here. This house has a number of features we find in houses of the mid to late1700’s. There is a center chimney with 3 fireplaces on the first floor; a large one for the kitchen and smaller ones for each of the living and dining rooms. It is a 1 1/2 story house with 2 bedrooms on the second floor. The windows were narrow and tall with 4 panes of glass (2 over 2) in each. Some rooms had ‘gunstock corners’. This feature shows a part of the corner post exposed to the interior of house; resembling the stock of a gun; hence the name. The sheething board were wide and and rough. The rear wall was a double wall stuffed with sawdust for insulation.
If one were to build a list of Hudson houses built prior to 1800, the William Winn house would be included. In fact this is clearly one of the oldest in our town. Researched and written by Ruth M. Parker.
This week’s memories extend to the George Steele farm at Stewerts Corner; the intersection of Lowell, Dracut, and River Roads. In the early 1900’s Hudson was serviced by three trolley routes. One of these routes went from the Taylor Falls Bridge, down Central Street, then down Lowell Road to Stewerts Corner. The fare from Taylor Falls Bridge to Stewerts Corner was five cents!! Thus, Stewerts Corner was also called ‘the five cent limit’ or ‘the limit’. During warm months open-bench trolley cars were used. Many children and adults would pack a picnic lunch and ride the trolley to the ‘limit’. Once there they could buy ice cream and soda at George Steele’s farm store. The first photo shows his store C1899 with two ladies and children waiting outside; perhaps for the trolley. If the season was right they could also pick strawberries for Mr. Steele for two cents a box! For additional fare, families could extend their trip down River Road to Lakeview Park, an entertainment area just over the state line, or go all the way to Lowell and spend time shopping.
George and his brother Fred were native to Hudson; growing up and working with their father, Silas, on the family farm on what is now the Steele Road. As a young man of 24, George purchased his own acreage from William Chase in 1887. By 1893 he married Edith Colburn and built their home on River Road. For most of their adult lives, George and Fred continued to operate large vegetable/market gardens near Stewerts Corner. The George Steele farm remained in his family until surviving son, Ralph, sold the property to the Friel family in 1977. The land and buildings are now a part of Green Meadows Country Club.
The second photo is an aerial view of the George Steele Farm C1942. We see gardens along both sides of River Road. Photos courtesy of the Steele Family and now a part of the Historical Society Collection. Researched and written by Ruth M Parker.
This home of Raymond Pollard was located on the east side of Lowell Road opposite the Luther Pollard/Hardy Farm. Using today’s Lowell Road landmarks, it was located on what is now the northern end of the parking lot for Market Basket. The Raymond Pollard farm was part of the original Thomas Pollard, Jr farm which was settled C 1731. The exact boundaries of the original farm in this area are unclear; but did include this farm, as well as parts or all the Luther Pollard Farm, and the Samuel Gowing Farm. This house was built about 1838 by Ebenezer Pollard, the grandfather of Raymond, on the exact site of an earlier house built by an earlier ancestor!!
Raymond was born in Hudson in 1878 and lived all but the last few months of his 93 years living in this home. In fact, up until age 90 he was actively operating this family farm which had been in his family for over 250 years.
From documentation of this house written in 1942 we learn that the timbers and many of the rafters, were hand hewn and many of the joints were held together by wooden pegs and any nails used were hand made. The main timbers were very large, mostly 10″ by 10″ and a few 8″ by 8″. The stairways were narrow and winding. The chimneys were made of mud brick and, in 1942, one chimney was still in good condition and in constant use.
Raymond and his wife Cora (Cooper) had a daughter Vernetia who married Sullivan W. Brown of Nashua in 1924. Cora passed about 1965; Raymond continued to live here until 1970. Some time, just before or after his passing this property was sold. By 1986 a shopping center consisting of Hudson Snack Bar, State of NH Liqueur Store, and Osco Drug. The center has been expanded and now includes Market Basket of Hudson. Photo and documentation of the house are from a booklet entitled “Hudson NH Homes Built Before 1842”; a project of The Hudson Fortnightly Club and on file at the Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth M. Parker.
Much has changed in just a few years! The site of this home is now the location of the James A. Taylor Memorial Fire Station at 204 Lowell Road.
This home was located on the east side of Lowell Road, opposite Fairview Nursing Home and adjacent to the entrance road to what is now Mission Pointe. In the 1920’s the family of Marion (Parker) Brown lived here. Marion was one of the daughters of Caroline and George Parker. When John Hardy purchased the Pollard Farm this became the home of his parents, Bertha and Robert Hardy. Robert passed in 1969 and Bertha passed in 1984. The property was sold to settle Bertha’s estate. The home was vacant for a number of years and in 1996 it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Lowell Road in that area. In 2001 it was purchased by the Town of Hudson. This home was on the site recently selected by our town for the proposed Lowell Road Fire Station. Photo from the Historical Society Collection. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.
For this week’s photo we are flying low over the southern end of County Road looking west and slightly north onto the intersection of Birch Street with Lowell Road. Today this a busy intersection with traffic signals and stacking lanes. In the 1970’s traffic was flowing quite nicely with a couple of cross walks and a stop sign at the end of Birch Street. The building in the top right is the Hudson Super Duper Market, owned and operated by Bob and Doris Provencal. There was a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in 1972. That same year Bob Provencal was named Grocer of the Year by The NH Grocers Association. Their family of Greg, Donald, and Charlene grew up in the grocery business. Charlene studied floral arrangement and would soon have her own shop. Donald was managing the frozen food department, and Greg was studying business in a local college. By 1972 the Super Duper was aligned with the Piggly Wiggly enterprise. Along with this super market the Shop and Wash and Richard Coiffures were located in this building. Today this building has been reconfigured into Citizens’ Bank, Rite-Aid Pharmacy, and office space for Hudson Chamber of Commerce.
Sharing the same parking space and just off Birch Street is the Hudson Shopping Center. At the time of the photo this was the site of Gio’s Pizza on the Birch Street side with Giovanni’s Blue Whale Restaurant facing Lowell Road. Next to the restaurant was Gosselin’s Pharmacy and then the NH State Liquor Store. Today this is known as T-Bones Plaza. T-Bones moved to Hudson C 1991 and has become a popular place for lunch and dinner with outside dining on the Birch Street side of the building. Other businesses in this complex include Subway, Supercuts, Pleasant Smiles Dental, a Tanning and a Nail Spa.
Birch Street takes a sharp turn behind the Hudson Shopping Center and we get a short glimpse of homes at 11 and 13 Birch. The latter, a brown square shaped home was once located on Lowell Road at the “other” corner with Birch Street where it was home to Etienne and Rose Levesque and family. After his passing the building was moved from Lowell onto Birch street by local contractor John Lester. By 1970 a 3- store front building at 87 Lowell Road was built; the first occupants being Cumberland Farms, Anton’s cleaners, and Russel and Son’s Carpets. Cumberland Farms and Hudson House of Pizza were the occupants in this photo. They remained until just a few years ago; Veria Pizza and Hudson Mini Mart are the current occupants.
Proceeding to the opposite side of Lowell we see the side and back of the home at 88 Lowell. Looking north on Lowell (to your right) is a green space and Second Brook which is visible through the foliage. If you follow the brook toward the river you see it was culverted under the street and parking lot; to emerge again behind the Hudson Shopping Center.
Just north of the brook is the business complex of Hall’s Market and Kay’s Donut and coffee shop. Over time this site has transitioned to Palmer;s Market, Suzie’s Diner, a Hair Salon and a Laundromat. Beyond in the photo we get a glimpse of the Phillips 66 Station; not a Sunoco Station. Prior to 1966 this was the home of Xavier and Exilla Gagnon and family. Photo from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.
This house was located on Lowell Road opposite the intersection with Wason Road. This area was known as Gowing Corner.
This 1917 photo of the Sidney Gowing Farmhouse, located at Gowing Corners, was taken by a traveling photographer from Derry, NH just about one year before Sidney passed. Sidney and Clementine (Fuller) Gowing raised a family of 2 sons (Edwin E, and Percy S.) and 3 daughters (Mabel, Eva, and Josie). Sidney, with his family and hired laborers, operated a market garden beginning as early as his marriage to Clementine in 1881. After Sidney passed in 1918, Clementine, his wife, and later Mabel, their oldest daughter continued to operate the farm until about 1950. In 1939, after Clementine passed, ownership of the property was transferred to Mabel.
In July 1958 Mabel moved to Central Street and sold the property to Gerard and Medora Viens. Mabel continued to live at Central Street until she passed in 1969. From 1958 until about 1973 the Gowing farmhouse was used as a residence or for rental units. In 1973 the building was demolished to make way for an industrial park.
At least a portion of this Gowing Farm was part of the original Thomas Pollard, Jr. farm which was settled about 1731-32. Between the Gowing and Pollard families the property was owned by James Palmer and Mr. Richardson and by Rodney Fuller. Over the years this section of Lowell Road had become known as “Gowing Corner”; located at the intersection of Lowell and Wason Roads. Flagstone Drive and the industrial park opposite Wason Road did not exist; in fact that was the industrial park which emerged from the Gowing farm. Based upon discussions with Eleanor (Gowing) Freeman and my own memory, the Gowing farmhouse was located on the right of way for Flagstone Drive and what is now Dunkin Donuts. To challenge your memory even further do you remember Bank East; a commercial bank located where Dunkin Donuts is now!! Photo from the Historical Society Collection. Researched and written by Ruth Parker.
The Jette farmhouse is located at 117 Lowell Road and has been owned by Wesley Tate since 2004. He operates Jette Farm Auto Repair and Restoration at that location.
Edmond L. Jette and Rose M. Boissoneault married in August of 1933 and lived on the Litchfield Road in Hudson. By 1944 their family had grown to include five children and they needed more space. They then purchased a farm house as well as 30+ acres of farmland. Edmond was a machinist as well as a great father and farmer. Rose took great pride in her family and was always pleasant and friendly to everyone she met.
In 1944, the farm at what is now 117 Lowell Road was owned by the Pelletier family. It would soon be known to all as The Jette’s Garden Farm. Fresh vegetables were harvested and sold daily by a large and loving family. Edmond, Rose, and ultimately, all ten children worked hard together. Cows were milked for cream, milk, and butter. These items for the family were also swapped for chickens and eggs from their neighbors, the Maynard family.
In 1971, 59 year old Edmond passed away. Rose was left to care for her family and continue the farm stand as well as operating her weekend garage sale. Rose, in memory of her husband and the children in memory of their father, donated some of the farmland off County Road to The Town of Hudson. Today, close to a fenced in baseball diamond, there is a granite memorial identifying Jette Field; a great gesture and memory for all to enjoy. The plow on the marker symbolizes Edmond’s love of the land. In the spring of 2013, 102 year old Fernand, brother of Edmond, threw out the first pitch to begin the baseball season.
Over the years family members tapped from the trees seen in front of the house. Sap was boiled down maple syrup was made by and for family members.
You can still drive by 117 Lowell Road and look upon the old homestead as it stands today. The farmland was sold when Rose downsized. Rose passed away in 1996. Although you are driving by the old farm land for memories, much of it has evolved into Fox Hollow as well as Teledyne, the memories are never to be forgotten. Thanks to Angela Rose (Jette) Dickman, grandaughter of Rose and Edmond, for the memories and photo of 117 Lowell Road. Written by Ruth Parker.
For years 87 Lowell Road was the home of Etienne J. and Rose Levesque. This couple raised a family of 2 boys (Leo Paul and Robert) and 3 girls (Marie Anne, Eva, and Cecil). He was employed at and later retired from John Mansville in Nashua. Mr. Levesque passed in November 1968 with a family of some 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. During these years the family saw many changes along Lowell Road. Prior to 1962 Birch Street did not exist; by 1962 Birch Street connected Lowell Road with Winnhaven Drive.
Soon after his passing this “fine commercial site” at the southern corner of Birch and Lowell was cleared for development. A stately willow tree was sectioned and hauled away. The former Levesque home was raised off its foundation and moved 1/4 mile down Birch Street by local contractor, John Lester. This home remains today at 13 Birch Street as a private residence and the home of Richard and Shirley Nason and their family.
By 1970 a 3-store front building was constructed on this corner and occupied by Cumberland Farms, Anton’s Cleaners, and Russel and Son’s Carpets. Within a few years Anton’s relocated and Cumberland expanded into their space. The carpet place was replaced by Cardinal Reality and later by Hudson House of Pizza. This week’s photo, from the collection of the Historical Society, was taken about 1977 for publication in the history update, Town In Transition. Cumberland Farms and Hudson House of Pizza remained at this location until just a few years ago. This location is now occupied by Veria Pizza and Hudson Mini Mart. Written by Ruth Parker.
As early as the mid 1950’s the ‘go-to’ grocery store for many Hudson residents, especially those living on or near Lowell Road, was the Hudson Super Market owned and operated by Robert “Bob” and Doris Provencal. Hudson was a fast growing town and business expanded so that by September 1970 the Provencal family held the grand opening of The Hudson Super Duper as shown in this week’s first photo. This event included onsite broadcasting of a local radio station, door prize of 18 inch portable TV, and special sale prices from all departments within the store.
The story of The Hudson Super Market, The Super Duper, and later The Piggly Wiggly, is also the story of Bob and Doris Provencal and their family. It began as early as 1936. Bob, then 16, lived with his family a short distance from what would later become the Super Duper. Bob needed extra money to buy a car. He had the idea of making bleach water and selling it for .20 a gallon to neighbors and friends. His efforts were profitable enough so he could purchase his first car. At 18 he took over his father’s filling station in Hudson as a mechanic. Again he was successful and needed to hire extra people.
After our country became involved with World War II, Bob wanted to enlist in the Army. His classification made him not eligible. Wanting to do something to help, he closed the gas station and went to work at Fort Devens where he ran a dynamometer and tested White Engines. By 1945 he met and married Doris Ledoux, also of Hudson. Soon thereafter he resigned from Fort Devens and re-opened the gas station, hoping to settle in Hudson; but there was a lack of housing in town so they settled in Nashua while making plans for and building an apartment building in Hudson. The rent they received would help pay the mortgage plus they would have a place to live in Hudson. As things were looking bright for the young couple, they were saddened by the loss of their first born son at the age of 10 days.
For her own health Doris knew she should keep busy. She suggested they put an extension onto their house so she could open a small store. This they did, and Doris ran the store where she met people while Bob ran the business of his own across the street. They added a grill and soda fountain and the endeavor became an immediate success. When not busy in the station he would help Doris in the store. One could say ‘the rest is history’.
The Hudson Super Market was opened in October 1952. Business grew and the store was expanded. A few years later the family realized the existing store could not accommodate the growing demands. On September 2, 1970 the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hudson Super Duper took place. That same year Bob Provencal was named Grocer of the Year by The NH Grocers Association. Doris and Bob had a family of 2 sons (Greg and Donald) and 1 daughter (Charlene). The family grew up with the grocery business; and by 1970 Charlene was studying floral arrangement in Boston. She would later open her own Charlene’s Flower Shoppe nearby on Lowell Road. Donald was managing the frozen food department in the family store; and Greg was studying business in a local college.
By 1972 the Provencal family aligned their Super Duper Market with the Piggly Wiggly enterprise. This Super Market, along with Shop and Wash, and Richard Coiffures were located on Lowell Road, a major part of The Super Duper Shopping Center in Hudson.
By 1977 The Nashua Trust Company, which held the mortgage, foreclosed on the Piggly Wiggly building. Two business remained there as tenants: Richard Coiffures and the Shop and Wash Laundromat and Dry Cleaners. In 1979 Nashua Trust announced its plans to build a new banking facility on this location and the two remaining tenants had to vacate. By 1980 construction was completed and The Nashua Trust moved from its location at 1 Derry Street to open its Hudson Community Banking Center at 71 Lowell Road. Since that time due to bank mergers and closures the Nashua Trust became The First NH Bank and later Citizens Bank. Our second photo shows this site in 2006 – home to Brooks Pharmacy, Citizens Bank, and Hudson Chamber of Commerce. Written by Ruth Parker.