D.O. Smith School built 1896
In 1896 Hudson residents voted to erect two new school houses. This vote began the movement to a centralized school system; departing from the the district school system. The Smith School shown here was erected for the convenience of families in/near Hudson Center.
The Smith School house was erected in Hudson Center on what is now Windham Road. The building committee was authorized to spend up to $3,000 to build and equip this school; which was named in honor of Dr. David O. Smith. In his younger years David O. was a successful teacher, he then studied medicine and became a very skillful physician. After becoming a doctor he retained his interest in the schools of this town, doing more for our schools than any other person during his long lifetime. This school house was completely destroyed by fire and was replaced by the Hudson Center School on Kimball Hill Road in 1909. The Smith School was located on the north side of the road at or near the present address of 42 to 44 Windham Road. This picture is from an old sepia photograph from the Historical Society collection.
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.
Greeley Street Crossing Looking West
The steam railroad crossed the Merrimack River into Hudson just south of what is now Veterans Memorial Bridge as you cross from Nashua into Hudson. It then made a path easterly and slightly north through Hudson. The tracks crossed Lowell Road at Central Street and then on to Hudson Center and West Windham. The one railroad station in town was at Hudson Center just off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall). In this 1896 photo we are standing on the tracks near the station looking west along the tracks and the Greeley Street crossing. The corner of the station house can just be seen in the right of the photo. Greeley Street is a narrow dirt road and the area on the opposite side of Greeley appears as a wooded area or field. Today there are few reminders of the railroad bed. The area on the left is now the parking lot of the Baptist Church and the area on the right is the Greeley Street playground. Photo from the Society collection and courtesy of Len Lathrop.
This week we revisit the fifth old residence which faced the Hudson Center Common. This home between the Baptist Church and the old Town Hall has been replaced by an office building operating as Heritage at Hudson.
238 Central Street C1976
The house in this photo dates to at least 1850, perhaps earlier. It stood for many years between the Baptist Church and the Town House at Hudson Center; and over these years was occupied by many families, including: Robinson, Chase, Greeley, Hamblett, and Biskaduros. This was home to members of the Noah Robinson Family. Noah was born in Londonderry and at the age of 22 became one of the 65 charter members of the Hudson Baptist Church in 1805. After his death the property was purchased by Benjamin Chase in 1864 who in turn sold it to Mahalia Greeley in 1873. Mahalia was the widow of John Greeley, MD, a holistic doctor, who spent most of his years in Londonderry. She lived here until her death in 1913. From 1926 until 1950 it was owned and occupied by Everett and Ruth Hamblett;were both were in business in Hudson Center. He operated a ‘filling station’ and garage; and Ruth a gift shop and diner. This c1976 photo was taken a short while before the original house was taken down replaced by the current colonial style office building; doing business as Heritage at Hudson.This building appears as the first on Windham Road; in actuality it has retained the old address of 238 Central Street. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.
This series on Hudson History began in August 2014 as a joint project between the Historical Society and the HLN as a way of sharing some of Hudson’s history with our readers. To date there have been some 170 weekly articles and accompanying photos published in the paper and on RememberHudsonNHWhen.com. I enjoy writing these articles and the research necessary to prepare for them.
Going forward there are still many sites and topics to write about. But, more time is now needed to do this research. My plan going forward is to submit Remember Hudson When articles every other week. And, on the alternative weeks we will Revisit parts of town by re-printing articles from the past on a theme basis: for example a Pre 1970 trip down Lowell Road or Restaurants in town, etc. This week we begin a Revisit series on Hudson Center.
As always if there is some historical site or photo you would like me to consider writing about, please contact Ruth via the HLN or the Hudson Historical Society by sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com or a phone message at 603-880-2020.
Prior to 1834 the only village in town was a small one around the Hudson Center Common. This consisted of three stores, a tavern, the north meeting house, one practicing doctor, the post office, and 8 or 9 residences. By 1888 the Baptist Church sanctuary was built; the north meeting house was replaced by the town hall, and the only railroad station in town existed behind the town hall and off Greeley Street. This C1888 photo of the Hudson Center Common shows the view from the home of Eli Hamblet on Hamblet Avenue.
Straight ahead is the Baptist Church. The church where he was elected as deacon just a few years earlier in 1882. The large vestry at the rear of the church had not been built, but I am certain the need for it had been discussed among the members. To the right of the church is the home of Mrs. Mahalia Greeley; the widow of John Greeley, MD. Further to the right, not shown on this photo, is the town hall. To the left of the church is the former home of Reuben Greeley, postmaster from 1818 until 1829; now occupied by his son Daniel Greeley. Daniel was known to have a good nature and was well liked within the community.
In the foreground and on the left of the photo is the Old Hudson Center Cemetery. Up until a few years prior to this photo the cemetery was in disrepair and the town considered moving the remains from this site so that the size of the common could be increased. This proposal did NOT meet with public sentiment and, as it turned out, a former resident of Hudson, John Foster, made a proposal to the town that he would build a stone fence and clean up the cemetery if the town would maintain it. Immediately beyond the cemetery is a roof of a barn; possible from the barn connected to the Paul Tenney/Henry Brown House on the opposite side of the common. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.