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57 Lowell Road

57 Lowell C1947 COMP

57 Lowell Road C1947

Now a dealership for previously owned cars this was the childhood home of John Simo. John was a member of the first graduation class of Alvirne High in 1951. John passed a short while ago but is fondly remembered by people in town and some of his Alvirne classmates.
By 1935 Nicolae and Cornelia Simo with their young family of Victoria and John moved from Nashua to this house at 57 Lowell Road in Hudson. The trolley and later bus services made it possible for Nicolae to commute to his job as a shoe worker at J. F. McElwain Shoe Company in Nashua. Cornelia held a position at Fort Devens in Mass. Daughter Victoria attended Hudson schools and graduated from Nashua High. She was active in 4-H, Scouts, and the youth activities of the Hudson Community Church. After High School she attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. She later married and lived in Conn. John was able to complete his high school in Hudson; being a member of the first class to graduate from Alvirne in 1951. He was also active in 4-H and the youth activities of the Community Church.
This weeks photo shows the Simo home about 1947; the woman seated on the front steps has been identified as Cornelia.
John was one of many Hudson teenagers who worked at Bensons Animal Farm during the summer months. Upon graduation from Alvirne, John and a high school friend of his traveled to Seattle, WA for summer work at The Jolly Green Giant Factory. His friend returned to Hudson to attend college. John remained on the west coast, traveling and working in various states for several years. When he did return to New Hampshire he married Glenda Pratt of Milford and made his home in Milford.
Cornelia passed in 1965; Nicolae continued to live in this house until about 1984 when he moved to Milford with his son John. Nicolae passed in 1989. John remembers his mother as an intelligent woman who was fluent in many languages. His dad had musical abilities with the violin; being able to repeat a tune after hearing it a single time.
By 1984 Lowell Road was becoming a busy commercial road; no longer the rural and residential road of the previous decades. As with many homes along Lowell Road this one at number 57 would transition into commercial use. Many of our readers may recall Dunkin Dogs, a self service dog shampoo parlor and grooming establishment. Today this site is the location of Stellar Motors, a used automobile mart. Thanks to John Simo of Milford for the memories; photo from the Hudson Historical Society collection.

Revisit Clover Farm Store C 1935

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Clover Farm Store C 1935

As we travel down Lowell Road our first stop will be at the Clover Farm Store.

By 1930 Alphonse and Eleanor Steckevicz with their family of 3 boys (Edwin, Alfred, and Chester) and 1 girl (Emma) had moved into their house on Riverside Avenue in Hudson. Alphonse established the Clover Farms Store, a neighborhood grocery, attached to the family home and facing Lowell Road. This C 1935 photo shows the Clover Farm Store and the Shell gasoline pumps taken from Lowell Road. Members of the Steckevicz family who were working at the store are in front. The 1935 Pontiac sedan on the left most likely belongs to one of the customers; if it belonged to the family it would not be parked so as to block customer access to the gas pump!

Alphonse owned and operated this store for about 25 years at which time ho sold to his son, Edwin. Edwin was a 1935 graduate of Nashua High School, a WWII veteran serving in the Army Air Corps. The Clover Farm Store remained under his management until he sold to Ray Lefebvre about 1961. Edwin also served his town as selectman for many years. His store on Lowell Road became a community gathering place. He knew his customers by name. Edwin was often known to open his store at all hours to help a customer in need. Edwin married Josephine Wolen with whom he had 60 plus years of marriage before passing in 2007.

This store continued under the ownership of Ray Lefebvre for many years. This building at the corner of Lowell and Riverside remains to this day; it is currently not used. Most recently it was Cheemas Supermarket. Photo from the Hudson Historical Society collection.

Revisit … Area Surrounding Library and Webster School C 1910

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Area Surrounding Library and Webster School C 1910

This is one of the most popular post cards of Hudson.

From this early post card of Webster School, Hills Memorial Library, and the surrounding area we get an idea of what this section of town looked like about 1910. Kimball Webster School (right) had been in use since it’s completion in 1896. The new Hills Memorial Library (left) was completed in 1908. The photo for this post card was taken from an open field across the street from Webster School at the corner of School and Library Streets. In fact, what is now Library Street was barely a dirt road in this picture. One can locate the road by following the utility pole. An 1892 map of Hudson shows an ice house where the Hills Library is located and what is now Library Street was called Sanders Street.

Looking beyond these buildings and along Ferry Street we see very little construction. On Ferry Street and opposite the library is the home at what is now 42 Ferry Street; known by many as the Cunningham home and now owned by Kurt Smith. On the knoll behind the library and the school we see another early home; most likely the home at what is now 55 Ferry Street.

Today this open field is the site of the Leonard Smith Fire Station and the Town Office Building; built in the the 1950’s and 1960s respectively. Before these buildings this field was a popular playground; used during pre-school,recess, and after school activities for Webster School. During the spring and summer months this field was used by the Recreation Department for a ball field, basketball court, and playground for the younger kids. As a point of memory, Hudson resident Dan O’Brien has fond memories of little league games played here, as early as 1950 or 51,under the direction of Manager Brown. These may have been some of the earliest little league games in Hudson. The year construction was underway for the new fire station Dan recalls breaking a window in the station while throwing rocks. Yes! He was busted by Chief Andy Polak. In Andy’s way all he did was report Dan to his parents. But, that was enough! Photo from the Historical Society collection.

One Foot in Hudson and one in Nashua

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Granite Plaque Identifying Joint Committee

 

Where could you stand and have one foot in Hudson and one in Nashua? Many folks remember walking along the sidewalk of the concrete bridge (north side of the bridge); halfway across we would see this pink granite marker commemorating the building of the bridge and identifying the principals from Nashua and Hudson who served on a joint committee to oversee the construction of the bridge in 1910. Turning to face the plaque one could easily stand so as to have one foot in each municipality!

Prior to 1910 the bridge between Nashua and Hudson was an iron bridge built in 1882. At that time there were no electric cars (trolleys) crossing between the two villages. In 1895 the bridge was strengthened in order to allow electric cars in addition to horse drawn vehicles to use this bridge. By 1909 safety of the bridge became an issue; especially in regard to the weight of the trolleys which was now twice the weight previously planned for. The bridge was deemed unsafe by two different engineers. An article in the 1910 town warrant to replace the iron bridge with a new steel bridge was indefinitely postponed. The recently elected Board of Selectmen, Jesse S. Wesson, George N. Dooley, and Guy A. Hopkins were authorized to confer with managers of the street railway and representatives from Nashua to decide what should be done.

By May 1910 the plans were revised to build a bridge of reinforced concrete, consisting of 5 arches with 4 piers in the river and abutments at each end. A special town meeting was called and this plan was voted on: 194 votes cast with 192 in favor!! The three recently elected selectmen along with Kimball Webster and Nathaniel Wentworth were authorized to serve on a joint committee with the Mayor of Nashua and members of the Nashua public works department. The committee acted promptly; by June a contract was signed with Fred T. Ley and Co. of Springfield, MA. The bridge was 36 feet wide plus a 6 foot raised sidewalk on the north side. Construction proceeded quickly and the first horse drawn vehicle crossed the new bridge on November 17. A few days later on November 23 the first electric car was able to cross into Hudson on the new bridge. Work was soon completed on the bridge except for the need of additional reinforcement of pier #4 which was completed in 1912. The final meeting of the joint committee was held at the Nashua City Hall October 13, 1912. The final payment was made to the construction company. The total cost was $74,480. The only remaining issue was how to apportion this cost between the two communities. The photo of an early trolley on the new concrete bridge into Hudson was taken from the roof of the Old Baker building. This photo is part of our Historical Society collection, complements of Don Himsel.

Trolley on Bridge C 1910

Electric Car Crossing into Hudson C 1910

This concrete bridge remained in service until 1971, despite repairs and work on the pilings to prolong it’s usefulness, when it was destroyed to allow for the construction of the present southern span. Just prior to the destruction of the bridge this granite marker was removed and placed on display at the Historical Society.

I have not heard or read of any particular dedication of this bridge; nor to I know exactly when the pink granite plaque identifying the names of the individuals on the joint bridge committee. Let’s look at who represented Hudson on this committee. First the three selectmen: Jesse Weston, George N. Dooley, and Guy A. Hopkins.

Jesse Weston was born February 1862 in Nashua; moving to Hudson about 1880. He married Agnes Willoughby in Nashua June 1891. While in Hudson he lived on Barretts Hill and worked as a mason. He served as a selectman and Representative to General Court. After the bridge was completed he returned to Nashua where he was employed as a foreman for Osgood Construction Co. and later engaged in the contracting business as Weston and Could. He passed in April 1941 and was buried in Nashua’s Woodlawn Cemetery.

George N Dooley was a Hudson native who owned and operated a farm on Old Derry Road previously owned by his father, Stephen. Father and son were active in town affairs. Each served as selectman and in the state legislature. George and his wife Ella (Hadley) Dooley had 4 sons. George N. passed in 1928 at the age of 57 from complications resulting from a farm accident.

Guy Hopkins, a bookkeeper, moved to Hudson from Nashua sometime between 1880 and 1909. He lived on the Lowell Road near Wason Road and continued to work as a bookkeeper in Nashua. While in Hudson he served as a selectman and on the joint bridge committee. He returned to Nashua about 1920.

Born in December 1843 in MA, Nathaniel Wentworth, enlisted with the 1st Mass Calvary in 1864 at the age of 21 and was discharged about a year later. He married Edwina Greeley in May 1870 and soon thereafter moved to Hudson. He spent most, if not all, of his remaining 53 years living in Hudson Center on Greeley street near the railroad depot. As a young man we was a mason, later he became the fish and game commissioner; a position he held for many years. He was active in town affairs; serving on the committee to build the D.O. Smith School in 1896. Later, after that school was destroyed by fire, he served on the committee to build it’s replacement. the Hudson Center School. In 1910 he was selected to serve on the joint committee between Nashua and Hudson to build the concrete Taylor Falls Bridge. He passed August 1923 and is burried in Westview Cemetery in Hudson Center.

Kimball Webster was born in Pelham November 1828; grow up on a farm he was used to hard work. In April 1849 at the age of 20 he left home and traveled to Independence, MO. There he joined a company of 28 men fitted out with pack mules and horses. He traveled over the trail to California in pursuit of the great gold discovery. He worked the mines for a while and then traveled to the territory of Oregon where he began a career as a land surveyor; first with public lands and later as an employee of the railroad. Mr. Webster married Abiah Cutter of Pelham and they settled on a portion of his grandfather’s farm in Hudson. Their adult family consisted of 5 daughters each of whom married and remained in the Hudson/Nashua area. Kimball had an extensive career as a surveyor, civil engineer, Justice of the Peace, writer, and historian. We are reminded daily of the contribution his ‘History of Hudson, NH’ has made to our knowledge of our past.

Researched and written by Ruth Parker.  This article was published in the HLN on February 2, 2019 and as a revisit in the Nashua Telegraph on April 19, 2020

Revisit Schools . D.O. Smith School on Windham Road

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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.

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.

Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

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Places To Eat … The Meadows on Central Street

We continue to revisit places to eat in Hudson through the years.  This week we travel to Hudson Center for a fried clam dinner followed by ice cream and a round of miniature golf for desert!!
In the late 1940’s traffic along the Route 111 corridor known as Central Street in Hudson Center was on the increase.  This was the result of the popularity of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm as well as the convenience of automobile travel for business and pleasure.  Businesses were beginning to open up or relocate  to  this section of the highway.    One of these that holds a permanent place in our memories is “The Meadows”, a seafood restaurant.
In September 1947 John Wollen, founder and long time owner of The Meadows,  purchased about 20 acres on the east side of Central Street from Perley B. and Clara E. Smith.  The Smith’s lived in the area and Perley operated a Cider Mill just a few lots south towards Belknap Road.  By the spring and summer of 1949 The Meadows opened for business and soon became a popular eating place for the locals as well as the tourists visiting Benson’s.  Their menu included fried clams, haddock, scallops, and sandwiches along with onion rings, french fries, and cold slaw.  A soda fountain was added for drinks and ice cream based deserts.  In 1962  a miniature golf course and a shuffle board court were added just north of the restaurant and near the meadow around Merrill Brook.
John Wollen was born in Hudson and educated in Nashua Schools.  He was the founder and owner of Meadows until a short time prior to his passing in November 1985.  He also operated the McNulty and Foley catering and function hall when it was located on Amherst Street in Nashua.
The Meadows was destroyed by fire on November 23,1992  after business was closed for the day.  A neighbor across Central Street noticed the flames and called the fire department.  The fire was fought by the Hudson department with assistance from Londonderry, Windham, Nashua, and Litchfield.  At the time the building was owned by Arthur  Bursey of Manchester and the restaurant operated by George Apostolopoulas of Wilmington, MA.  The Meadows did not re-open following the fire.
Many Hudson residents remember Berk and Son Farm Stand and Scott’s  Wood craft which operated on the northern end of The Meadows parking lot adjacent to Merrill Brook.  Little remains of The Meadows except our own memories of the delicious seafood and the summer evenings playing miniature golf.  The 20 plus acres with 500 feet of frontage onto Central Street which Mr Wollen purchased in 1947 has been idle for many years and is on the commercial real estate market.
Today’s photo of “The Meadows” was taken about 1975 at the time of the preparation of “The Town In Transition” an update to Hudson’s History.

Revisit Winn Farm and the Restaurants at 49 Lowell Road

The farm fields of the Frank Winn farm stretched between what is now Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive at Lowell Road. Development included apartment buildings, candlepin bowing lanes, banks, and restaurants. Of particular interest to those familiar with Hudson is the series of restaurants which have existed at 49 Lowell Road. By my count there have been 10 different restaurants at this location since 1964. They are: Winstead, Hayward Farms, Pizza by Giovanni, Straw Hat, Primo’s, Ziggy’s, Stevie P’s, Yaght Club, Charmans, and SOHO. Did I miss any?

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Home of Frank A. and Effie May Winn

This week we visit the homestead of Frank Almon and Effie May (Wyeth) Winn on Lowell Road. Frank moved to Hudson from Pelham with his parents, Franklin A. and Lizzie Winn, about 1883 when he was 8 years old. His family purchased a farm of over 70 acres which stretched from Lowell Road to the river. Across one part of the farm was a large brook which traveled through fields and woods, making it’s course through the rocky gorge to the river. This is where Frank played, grew, and worked with his family. By today’s landmarks, this farm includes most, if not all of , the land between Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive (between 35 and 49 Lowell Road) and extending westward to the river. Between these roads and adjacent to Lowell Road was a large tilled field for growing vegetables for market. The family home with the large attached barn was located at what is now 1 Winn Avenue and faced this field. On December 24, 1958 the barn was destroyed by a spectacular fire. The fire fighters were able to save the house.

As a young man Frank made his way across the United States, but he soon returned to his home here in Hudson. Along with his parents, he tilled the farm fields all his life. In due time he came into possession of the farm. In September 1915 he and Effie May Wyeth were married; and it is here that they raised their family. Frank was a tireless worker with both his hands and his head. He not only knew about agriculture, he also knew about the wider world of business and economics.

Effie May was born in Nashua, May 1886, and educated in Nashua schools and Keene Normal School. Prior to their marriage in 1915, she taught school in Nashua. She later did substitute teaching in Hudson, Pelham, Merrimack, and Nashua. Frank and Effie May raised a family of 3 girls; Lillian Emma (b: about 1918), Effie May (b: about 1921) and Frances (b: about 1923).

Frank passed in September 1935, at the early age of 60; Effie May and her daughters continued to live at the homestead. By the end of 1942 all three daughters were married. Lilliam Emma was married to Walter Schindler; Effie May married Clayton Oban; and Frances Stebbins married Alton Drown. Mrs. Winn, Effie May, was a resident of Hudson most of her 97 years. She passed in 1983 at the home of her daughter Frances (Drown) Hosmer, with whom she had lived for a few years. Many Hudson residents remember Effie May; particularly with her involvement with the Hudson Fortnightly Club for over 50 years.

As time advanced and the land usage changed, the Frank A. Winn farm was developed. At first with the apartments and residential buildings in wooded area and adjacent to the river. Later the farm field between Winn Avenue and Winnhaven Drive were developed. The earliest development occurred in 1963 with the construction of LNL Bowl at what is now 8 Winn Avenue. Named for the three owners: Earl Libby, Leon Noel, and Adrien Labrie; LNL bowl offered candlepin bowling lanes, a sport unique to New England, The lanes operated until 1978. By 1979 this site became the home of Dessault Engineering Associates. It is now home to Opti-Sciences.

By 1964 construction began for the first of many restaurants to operate at 49 Lowell Road, likely owned by members of the Winn Family. The Winstead Restaurant began operation in 1965. By 1969 this was the site of Hayward Farms Restaurant. Over the succeeding years a number of restaurants were located here. From what I can piece together the list is as follows: 1972 – Pizza by Giovanni; 1980 Straw Hat Restaurant; 1984 Primo’s. Following Primo’s there were Ziggy’s, Stevie P’s, Yaght Club, Charman’s, and presently SOHO.

Construction for Nashua Federal Savings and Loan at 45 Lowell Road began in 1979. A bank has remained at this site; becoming Bank of America and more recently Enterprise Bank.

Steam Railroad Tracks at Greeley Street

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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.

 

Revisit To Hudson Center … House at 238 Central Street

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.
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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.