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Revisit Rural Hudson … Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road
As we continue to revisit rural Hudson we stop at Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road.
With this week’s photo of The H.E. Smith Farm Stand on Kimball Hill Road we get to visit with another Smith Family in Hudson. By 1924 Elmer Frank and Ethel May (Connell) Smith and their young family of 2 sons (Henry Elmer and Robert Connell) and 2 daughters (Elizabeth Ella and Gloria Lillian) settled on a 300 acre parcel of land on what was then known as Pelham Road, now Kimball Hill Road. The location of the Smith parcel is at and near the intersection with Gibson Road and near the town line with Pelham.
Recently married Henry Elmer and Mary (Kayros) Smith began their dairy farm on a portion of his father’s land in 1933. At that time there were about 70 farms of various sizes in Hudson. Henry and Mary established their home around the corner of this farm stand on Gibson Road. Their they raised a family of 3 boys (Dustin, Tom, and Tim) and 1 girl (Nancy). The family continued with the dairy farm with all members helping out where they could. In 1963 they gave up dairy farming and switched to plants and vegetables and opened the farm stand as means to marketing their produce. This established a tradition which Henry’s son Tom has stayed with and has continued to the present with his own son, Dylan. Management of the farm and farm stand was passed from Henry to Tom in 1977.
Gloria and Elizabeth, sisters of Henry remained in Hudson after they married. Gloria continued to live on the family homestead and married Leslie Binks. Leslie was an animal trainer for Benson’s Wild Animal Farm; Gloria became became a prominent business woman and leader in Hudson. Her sister, Elizabeth married Richard Albee and they settled on Greeley Street; living there for many years and then moved to Alaska.
After raising their family Henry and Mary divided their home into 2 living quarters. Tom, his wife Tina, and their family lived there along side his parents. Henry passed in 1991 at 80 years of age; Mary passed in 2004 at the age of 94. Both remained on and helped with the work of the farm as long as they could. Today operating the farm remains a family affair: Tom, his wife Tina, their son Dylan, and a sister-in-law Charli. Tom’s daughters and his brother, Tim, helps with the operation from time to time.
The Smith Farm specializes in home grown vegetables and plants. It is estimated that over 90% of the products they sell were grown or started on their own farm. Often the stand will remains open through the holiday season specializing in holiday trees, wreaths, and kissing balls. The kissing balls are made by the Smith family; trees and wreaths are brought in from a reliable grower.
By February of next year work will begin in the various greenhouses starting a wide variety of veggies and flowers for both their own gardens and to sell in the farm stand as starter plants. When I talked with Tommy he said…”we’ll be here next year!!”
The Smith family has been farming on Kimball Hill Road since 1933. First Henry and Mary with help from their growing family. The oldest, a daughter Nancy, married and moved to Illinois and raised a family there. Dustin, the oldest brother, remained in the neighborhood and a close brother and friend with Tom, but opted for a different career path. He and his wife, Susan, began a computer business called ‘ComputerSmith’ in the 1980’s. Dustin lived nearby,just a quarter of a mile from brother Tom in the original Smith family homestead. Younger brother, Tim, lives in Hudson and helps with the work of the farm from time to time. The third generation, Diyan, works along with his father Tom.
The photo of the Henry E. Smith Farm Stand C 1980 is from the photo collection of the Hudson Historical Society.
Revisit Lowell Road … Camp Cayuga C1956
As early as 1956 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 were bused, transported by car, or walked to Camp Cayuga on the Lowell Road in Hudson. Camp Cayuga, a summer day camp, was operated by John S. Groves on his family’s 265 acre farm. The camp activities started at 9 am and ended at 4 pm. Each camper brought their own lunch except on Thursdays when there was a noonday cookout. The camping season was 8 weeks, during the months of July and August. As many as 125 plus children came from towns like Milford, Amherst, Merrimack. Lowell, Chelmsford, Nashua and Hudson. Camp facilities included a large barn for a place of assembly, a swimming pond on the property which was recently dug by a bulldozer along a brook which ran thru the property, bath houses, Indian camps where campers divided into tribes, playing fields, horseback riding rinks, and woods for nature study. Horse back riding was one of the more popular events. special events,such as horse shows, carnivals, and fishing derbys, were often held.
The Groves farm was located on the western side of Lowell Road and extended to the Merrimack River. Until 1955 Mr. Groves had farmed the land and operated an automobile sales agency on the premises. He then turned from auto sales to teaching school. The idea of using the farm as a summer camp was suggested to him by a friend a few years earlier. The possibilities for expansion were considered as tremendous as within a 15 mile area there were 200,000 people and only 2 other day camps in the area.
Within a few years growth came to Lowell Road and with it an increase in property values. The State of New Hampshire had plans for a Circumferential Highway. By the early 1970’s the northern portion of this farm was used for the access road to the Sagamore Bridge. Of the remaining acres, the part abutting Lowell Road is the location of Sam’s Club; the back portion toward the river is part of The Green Meadows Golf Course, Photo courtesy of Leo Demers and now a part of the Historical Society Collection.
Revisit Lowell Road … George Steele Farm
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.
Revisit Lowell Road … Aerial View – Luther Pollard Farm Lowell Road C 1939
This week we look at the changes along Lowell Road with this 1939 aerial view. The farm buildings in the center of the photo are those of the Luther Pollard Farm. Owned by members of the Pollard/Parker family of Lowell, MA and Hudson; Robert Hardy was the farm manager. Robert and Bertha Hardy along with their large family lived in this farmhouse and worked the farm for the owners. Robert raised turkeys, chickens, cows for milk, as well as a large garden and fruit trees. Besides managing the farm resources, he was able to produce ample food for his family. John Hardy, Robert’s son, purchased the farm in 1946. Behind the farmhouse, but not visible because of the trees, was a large home with spacious porches. This was the Pollard/Parker family’s summer home.
Along side and to right of the farmhouse is Lowell Road. Barely visible because it is hidden under a row of trees. Looking north, towards the top of the photo, pieces of the road are visible. On the opposite side of Lowell Road, to our right, is the farmhouse and farm of Raymond Pollard. Ray, his father and grandfather before him owned and operated this particular farm.
By sharp contrast, today both farm houses are gone. Where the Pollard/Parker farmhouse stood we now have the recently built Inn at Fairview, a part of the Fairview Nursing facility. Likewise the home of Ray Pollard has been removed; now the location of the north end of the parking lot of Market Basket at the corner of Lowell and Wason Roads. The garden seen in the forefront of the photo is now the location of Haffners. Lowell Road is no longer a narrow two lane roadway; now a four plus lane highway with plenty of traffic and traffic lights!! The open fields for market produce have given way to houses and industrial parks.
Enjoy this step back in time! We will explore more of these early landmarks in the weeks ahead. Photo from the Historical Society collection. The society can be reached for comment by calling 880-2020 or sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.
Raymond and Ebenezer Pollard House C1942
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.
Revisit Sidney Gowing Farmhouse C 1917
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.
Revisit Jette Farm at 117 Lowell Road
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.
Revisit Lowell Road – 87 Lowell Road – Corner of Birch and Lowell
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.
Revisit Lowell Road … 74 and 76 Lowell Road C1977
We revisit 74 and 76 Lowell Road! Since the mid 1960’s we have seen major growth and change occur along Lowell Road. This site at 74 and 76 Lowell is no exception!!
This week we look north from Birch and Lowell onto 74 and 76 Lowell Road. Prior to 1966 74 Lowell Road was home to Xavier and Exillia Gagnon and their family. At that time they moved to a house on B Street in Hudson. Xavier was employed and later retired from Johns Manville Products Corp of Nashua. He passed in 1969 after living in Hudson for 43 years. His family included his wife, Exillia, 2 sons, 2 daughters, and 4 grandchildren. By 1966 the house at 74 Lowell was removed and soon replaced with The Hudson ’66’ Service Station; it is now a Sunoco Station.
By 1970 76 Lowell was under construction and it became the home of Star Dry Cleaners, later Anton’s Cleaners. By 1977, as shown in this weeks photo, it was the location of Halls Market. By 1980 the site expanded to include Halls Market, Prime Graphics, Superior Floor Company, and Suzies Donut and Coffee Shop. Over time Halls Market transitioned to Palmer’s Market and Kay’s Diner along with other business like Shear Paradise and Kay’s Laundry. Today this is the location of the popular Suzie’s Diner.
Contrast this photo with the busy intersection at Birch Street we see today and the filled parking lot across the way. Photo taken for publication in the Town in Transition and is part of the Historical Society Collection.
Revisit Lowell Road …. Tiny’s Garage
Tiny’s Garage was a legendary source for towing wrecked cars and salvaging and recycling usable parts. To find Tiny’s you traveled south on Lowell Road and took a right turn onto Atwood Avenue and stopped at number 7. Many remember the man called ‘Tiny’, his business, and the family who worked with him.
Chester ‘Tiny’ Sojka grew up in Derby, CN and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps as a young man. After Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Army and served as a tank mechanic; being stationed in North Africa and Italy. He met his wife Mary while on leave and they were married in December 1944. After his discharge in 1945 he started a garage repairing and towing cars. They settled in Nashua and later moved to Hudson and opened his business here. Over time the business evolved to include salvaging and selling used car parts, especially those which were hard to find. His business included the entire cycle: towing wrecked cars, recycling automotive liquids (gas, oil, antifreeze), breaking down the wrecked vehicle for usable parts, maintaining an inventory of these parts, and selling them to other mechanics and ‘do it yourselfers’ as they repaired vehicles of the same or comparable model. I’m sure many mechanics or DIYers remember going to or calling ‘Tiny’ to see if he had the needed part in stock. I myself recall an ad for Tiny’s that said: Please Drive Safely – We Don’t Need your Business.