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The first proposal to build an elementary school on Derry Road was presented to the voters in March 1988 when they were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil elementary schools of identical design; one on the Pelham Road and one on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School. Included within this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, the conversion of Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town for their use. The cost of this plan was $12.57 million. There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800 pupils for an additional $1.23 million. This school meeting was the largest and liveliest on record. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved. The result being to build one 800 pupil school on the Pelham Road at a cost of $7.3 million; later this new school was officially named Nottingham West Elementary.
Proposals for the Derry Road elementary school came before the voters again in March 1998 with a $7.5 million bond issue to build on land adjacent and south of Alvirne High School. A separate warrant article proposed 1/2 day Kindergarten at a cost of $1.8 million for 10 classrooms, with 75% being funded by the state. The voters of Hudson rejected both articles.
Long term Superintendent Peter Dolloff retired and within three years Randy Bell was hired as Superintendent. With this new leadership the School Board, School Administration, parents and individuals of Hudson worked together in order to solve the problems of space and class sizes within our schools. Focusing on the building issues a $17.6 million warrant article was presented to the deliberative session on February 2000 which included the cost of the land plus construction of a new elementary school on land adjacent to Alvirne as well as renovations and an addition to Memorial school. When the votes were counted in March this proposal was approved. This was a landmark decision by Hudson voters. The School Board gave credit to the community and various committees working together. Under the direction of the Building Committee Chairman, Bernard C. Manor, the new school was scheduled for completion for September 2001. The improvements at Memorial School were scheduled for Spring 2002.
By the beginning of the 2001 school year Hills Garrison was completed so as to provide elementary education for 512 students in grades 1-5 plus facilities for pre-school. The total school enrollment for Hudson that year was 4,100. The photo of the Hills Garrison School is courtesy of the Hudson School District.
On October 6, 2001 Hills Garrison school was officially dedicated to the citizens of Hudson for their generosity, support, and devotion to the students of Hudson. The school was named for the long standing contribution to the town by the Hills Family. A brief history of the Hills family was a part of this dedication. Paul Hills, a direct descendent of Joseph Hills, and members of his family were present for this event. The photo of the dedication plaque is provided courtesy of the Hills Garrison School staff.
A short time later the Hills Garrison marker was relocated onto the grounds of this school from it’s Webster Street location where it had been placed by Kimball Webster in 1901. Photo of garrison marker on school ground is courtesy of the author.
Public kindergarten and more specifically the responsibility for funding continued as a discussion point until 2009 when, after years of debate and discussion the Hudson school system provided 1/2 day Kindergarten.
Hudson’s Nottingham West Elementary School off of Lowell Road on Pelham Road, was built on Jacques Field. This property was purchased by the Hudson School District in 1966 in order to assure the town of a future school location. Some 23 years later Nottingham West Elementary was ready for occupancy.
Alfred A. Jacques, native to Lowell, and Yvonne I Rodier, native to Nashua, were married in Nashua October 1924. Soon thereafter they moved to Hudson and raised their family of a daughter and two sons. Their daughter Denise was born in Hudson April 1927 and passed at the age of 9 in November 1936. Their sons were Alfred E. born July 1931 and Paul E. born August 1943. When they first moved to Hudson they likely lived with his parents on Lowell Road. By March 1938 they purchased their 20 acre farm on Pelham Road from Eva Kashulines. Here the family remained until 1966 when the property was sold to the Hudson School District. Alfred A. was a farmer and operated a market garden until about 1977 when he was employed by F. H. Bailey and Sons Inc in Nashua, a large florist and flower grower. After selling their property Alfred and Yvonne retired to Orange City, FL. He passed away there on Jan 11, 1969 at the age of 72. He was laid to rest in the family lot of St. Francis Zavier cemetery in Nashua.
By the late 1960’s Hudson Memorial School on Thorning Road, a middle school, was in full use and an addition had been approved by the Hudson voters. In 1970 and again in 1971 voters defeated attempts to hire an architect to develop plans for an elementary school on Jacques field. In 1972 the attempt was successful as voters approved $32,000 for architect drawings for this school.
By the mid 1970’s a number of big changes had occurred in Hudson. Alvirne was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Enrollment at St. John’s school on Library Street was on the decline and the school was scheduled to close by June 1975. The St. John’s and Hudson School Boards worked together on a transition plan. After leasing the school from the Diocese for a year Hudson purchased the property in March 1977 and renamed it Library Street Elementary School. The purchase cost was $615,000; a big savings over the cost of new construction. This removed the pressure to plan for and approve construction at Jacques field.
As school growth continued, the need became reality and additional classroom space was necessary. At the 1988 School District Meeting voters were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil schools of identical design. One school on the Pelham Road site and the second on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School on the former Morey property. Included in this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, converting Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town. The cost of this plan was $12.57 million. There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800 pupils for an additional $1.23 million.
The March 25, 1988 Annual School District meeting was the largest and liveliest on record as some 850 voters met in the Memorial School Auditorium. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved to build 1 800 pupil school at a cost of $7.3 million. Kindergarten, Webster school and Library Street School changes were not part of the approved plan. Construction was quickly started with a scheduled opening of September 1989. During August 1989 the School Board officially adopted the name Nottingham West Elementary in recognition of our town’s former name. The schedule was met and the school was in use at the beginning of September. An open house was held on October 5, 1989 where 1,000 townspeople viewed their new 800 pupil school. At that time the actual enrollment was 600 pupils.
At the close of the first school year on June 21, 1990 at 9:30 am the students burred a time capsule containing first year memorabilia. This capsule was to be dug up in 10 years at the same time of the day. I am not aware of what was found in the capsule. If any of you readers know, please let me know by sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.
In the fall of 1993 the gym at Nottingham West was dedicated to the memory of Barbara Hamilton, much appreciated recreational director for Hudson. Barbara passed suddenly in early September at the age of 46. The dedication plaque in Barbara’s memory is shown in our second photo. Within the school this plaque is mounted on a wall surrounded by individual tiles made by students of Nottingham West in 1993.
Today Nottingham West is one of four elementary schools in Hudson. Grades 2 – 5 are split between this school and Hills Garrison School on Derry Road. In addition all preschool sessions are held at Nottingham West. The school colors are navy blue and gold and the mascot is the wildcat. Thanks to the staff of Nottingham West Elementary for the photos. Written by Ruth Parker this article was published in the September 6, 2020 edition of The Telegraph.
Have you ever wondered about the history behind the H. O. Smith Elementary School and the family background of Dr. Smith?
During the dedication of the Hudson Junior High School on November 5. 1939 long time School Board Member Dr. H.O. Smith provided a brief educational history of Hudson. The first school in town dates to 1766 when 15 pounds was voted by the citizens of Nottingham West for education. Five years later the sum was reduced to eight pounds and during the Revolutionary War no sum of money was allocated for that purpose. The town was divided into ten districts with each district responsible to provide a location for class and salary for the teacher. Since, for the most part, pupils walked to school these districts divided the town by residential groupings and the school house conveniently located within each district. At first private homes were used for classrooms.
The first school building was built in 1806 at or near the crest of Kimball Hill. This was district #5, known as the Center District, Other district buildings were built and soon after 1810 there were 10 district houses located in town.
Not until 1847 were the number of pupils recorded. At that time there were 346 pupils and the education costs totaled $433; approximately $1.25 per pupil! The teaching staff consisted of men and women. Men were typically hired for the winter months and women for the summer months. Men teachers received between $16 and $18 per month which was significantly more than the salary for a woman teacher. There was a town wide committee which reviewed the qualifications of and issued certificates for the teachers.
This concept of local management of the schools continued until 1885 when the town voted to operate as a single district and the first School Board consisting of Kimball Webster, Dr David O. Smith, and Daniel Gage was selected. Hudson was one of the few towns to adopt this system before it became a state requirement. Under the town system use of the local schools were continued; they were phased out over time as new or expanded facilities were available.
By 1935 all Hudson pupils in grades 1-8 were educated at either Kimball Webster School at the bridge or at a school at Hudson Center. Webster was built as a 4 room house in 1896 and later expanded to 8 in 1921. At the Center the D.O. Smith School was built in 1896 as a 2 room house on Windham Road. This school was destroyed by fire in 1907 and replaced by the Hudson Center School on Kimball Hill Road. Pupils in grades 9-12 were educated in Nashua with Hudson paying the tuition,
The completion of the Hudson Junior High School on School Street in 1939 near First Street provided 6 classrooms, an auditorium/gym, manual and domestic arts, an office, and a large study room. Upon graduation pupils would be eligible to attend any high school in the state. Hudson contracted with Nashua High School.
At the final assembly In June 1940 of the Hudson Junior High school there occurred a special ceremony which is remember to this day my members of Dr. H.O. Smith’s family, Dr. Smith was invited to come to this assembly and to bring his son and grandchildren with him so they might see the new school. The doctor was visibly overcome with emotion when his granddaughter, Elizabeth, unveiled a portrait of him at the climax of the program. This portrait was a gift to the school from a group of Hudson citizens as a tribute to Dr. Smith’s interest and dedication to the education and well being of the people of Hudson. The portrait was placed in a prominent place in the upper hallway of the school. It was attractively set in a walnut frame made by Bertram Tardif, Manual Arts teacher of the school. The wood for the frame originated from a discarded piano from the Hudson Center School. Placed there in 1940 it remains to this day. Accompanying Dr. Smith on that day was his son Dr. Deering Smith of Nashua and his granddaughter Elizabeth Deering Smith and grandson Robert Greeley Smith.
Dr. Henry Onslow Smith was born in Hudson December 1864. After graduating Nashua High School he attended Dartmouth college for two years and then entered Bellevue Hospital Medical college in New York. After completing his studies and a year of residency he returned to Hudson at the age of 24 in 1888 to begin his 57 year medical practice. In 1940 he was granted a degree of bachelor of arts by the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth college. In May 1945, after completing a house call for one of his patients, he passed suddenly.
Many knew him as Dr. Harry or as Dr. H.O. He was devoted to his medical profession and also to the education and affairs of the people of Hudson. One tribute to him stated “Dr. Smith himself was never old in spirit.” He greeted all ages as if they were his friends. He welcomed new residents and kept in touch with his old friends. He had a respect for the past and found great pleasure in genealogy and town and state history. I have a personal respect for Dr. H. O. when I reach for a book at the historical society which came from his personal library; often times finding annotations in his own handwriting which offer corrections or updating of the material written in the book.
Dr. Harry came from a family of physicians and educators. His father, Dr. David O. Smith was also a lifelong physician in Hudson and he served on Hudson’s first School Board. His brother Dr. Herbert L. Smith and his son Dr. Deering G. Smith practiced in Nashua. Two uncles from his mother’s family were also doctors. His father, Dr. David O. and his grandfather Alvan Smith served on the school committee. His parents were both school teachers in Hudson. In fact David O. Smith earned most of his money for his medical expenses by teaching a private school.
In 1951, after the completion of Alvirne the Junior High building was repurposed and dedicated as H. O. Smith Elementary.
Hudson is unique in that two physicians David O. and Henry O. Smith, father and son each served on the school board and each had a school named in their honor. It has been said and I will repeat it: Dr. Harry and the role he and his family played in Hudson cannot be matched. Thank you Doctors! These photos are from the collection of the Hudson Historical Society. Research and written by Carol Flewelling and Ruth Parker. Published in Nashua Telegraph June 28, 2020.
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.
While giving tours and talking town history we at the Hudson Historical Society frequently hear the question “When was our town established? The bronze tablet pictured here identifies the five birthdays, or founding dates, for the Town of Hudson.
Dunstable, Mass was founded in 1673. Most of the land contained within the present boundaries of Hudson was included within Dunstable, the exception being about 4,600 acres in the northeast part of Hudson which was then a part of Londonderry. The geography of Dunstable included land on both sides of the Merrimack River including all or parts of some 14 towns in present day Mass and NH. In the early days of Dunstable land had been granted on the east side of the river but no real settlements occurred here until about 1710. We remained a part of Dunstable, Mass until 1733.
As the number of settlers on the east side of the river increased, we petitioned Mass to be set off as a separate town. This petition was answered on January 4, 1733 when the charter for Nottingham, Mass was granted this town included all Dunstable lands on the east side of the river. The General Court ordered that a Town Meeting be held within 3 months and a minister be settled within 3 years. After survey and much debate, the center of the town of Nottingham, Mass was agreed upon and a meeting house built on what is now Musquash Road. The town of Nottingham, Mass remained as such for only 9 years, until 1741.
The ancient boundary between the provinces of NH and Mass was based upon the Merrimack River and the misconception that the river flowed from west to east; with no idea of the abrupt bend northward the river made near Chelmsford. This resulted in some dual grants by the rival provinces of NH and Mass and a boundary dispute which was not settled until 1741. At that time the line was established to run 3 miles north of the Merrimack River from the ocean until reaching a specific point north of Pawtuckett Falls; after that the line ran due west to the Connecticut River. All land south of this line was in Mass. Land to the north was in Nottingham,NH; called by many historians as the District of Nottingham as the towns had not yet been incorporated under the laws of The State of NH.
During the time after 1741 a number of smaller New Hampshire towns were spun off from Nottingham and were incorporated within NH. One of these, Nottingham West was incorporated in 1746 and a charter issued July 5, 1746. Nottingham West contained most of the lands of the present town of Hudson, except for those acres in Londonderry and minor adjustments to the boundaries with Windham and Pelham.
We remained as Nottingham West until 1830. At the annual town meeting of 1830 the voters of Nottingham West adopted an article to petition the General Court of NH to alter the name to Auburn or to designate some other name. The name was changed to Hudson July 1, 1830.
Our town has 5 founding dates or birthdays. In 1672 we were established as Dunstable, MA; 1733 as Nottingham, MASS; 1741 as the District of Nottingham, NH; 1740 as Nottingham West, NH; and in 1830 as Hudson, NH. This confuses our celebrations! In 1933 we celebrated the 200th birthday of incorporation of Nottingham, Mass; in 1972, some 39 years later, we celebrated the 300 birthday of the founding of Dunstable! To my knowledge there was never a centennial or bi-centennial celebration for Nottingham West and no centennial celebration for changing name to Hudson in 1830. So, when will our next celebration be? perhaps in the year 2030, some ten years from now, when we celebrate the 200th anniversary of changing our name to Hudson?
This bronze tablet is located within the School Administration Building on Library Street, aka Kimball Webster School, and was donated to the Town by the students of Webster School as part of our 1933 bi-centennial celebration. Photo taken for publication of Town in Transition and is part of the Historical Society collection. Researched and written by Ruth Parker on behalf of the Hudson Historical Society. Nashua Telegraph March 22, 2020.
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.
20 Old Derry road was once a part of a 100 acre farm settled by James Hills in 1737. James was born into the large family of Samuel and Abigail (Wheeler) Hills of Newbury, MA in 1697. By 1710, James, then a lad of 13, along with 2 of his older brothers, Nathaniel and Henry, built and lived in a garrison house on the east bank of the Merrimack River on their father’s land in the town of Dunstable, MA. By today’s landmarks this garrison was located on the east side of Webster Street a short distance north of Elm Avenue. Sometime before 1722 Samuel deeded the southern half of his Dunstable land to James and the northern half to Henry. The oldest brother, Nathaniel, had already purchased 900 acres adjacent to and north of his father’s property from Jonathan Tyng.
James married Abigail Merrill of Newbury, MA in December 1723; soon thereafter he sold his interest in the garrison land and took up residency and began his family in Newbury. About 1737 James and Abigail with their young family of a son, Jeremiah, and a daughter, Hannah, returned to New Hampshire. There had been 3 additional children but they passed at a young age before they moved from Newbury. Returning from Newbury James acquired 100 acres of unsettled land from his brother Nathaniel. It was here that James settled and established the farm. Three additional children were born to him after moving to what became Nottingham West, now Hudson. James lived the remainder of his life on this farm, passing about 1751. The farm remained with his family. By 1800 his grandson William owned the farm. William was born July 1777 to Jeremiah, the oldest son of James. William likewise lived out his life on this farm passing it to his second son, Granville in 1852. By 1877 the farm was owned by a Charles W. Hill(s). It is not entirely clear how Charles W. acquired the farm. Apparently the next family member in line to own the farm was living in the Midwest and choosing not to return he sold his interest to a cousin, Charles W. Hill(s). It is clear that the last Hill having title to the farm was Mary Elida (Hill) Robinson daughter of Charles W. Hill and wife of Frank L. Robinson. Mary Elida was born in Hudson May 1878 and married Frank Robinson in Nashua January 1909. At the time of her marriage she was employed as a teacher in Nashua and Frank was employed as a railroad worker in Nashua. In November 1926 the farm was sold outside of the Hill(s) family and purchased by Grant Jasper. A quick note before the reader gets too confused over Hills vs Hill. In July 1846 Grandville Hills changed his name and that of his family Hill by an act of NH Legislature.
The James Hills (aka the Granville Hill) Farm had been owned by as many as 6 generations of Hills over a period of 180 years. Over these years the farm acreage was reduced from 100 to the 40 acres which Grant Jasper purchased from Mary L. (Hill) Robinson in 1926. From 1926 until 1958 the 40 acre parcel changed ownership 4 times; in 1958 the owner at the time, Harry Tuft, sold 28 acres, including the colonial house, to Ralph and Nellie Weaver who later sold to Lionel Boucher in November 1962. This was the beginning of major changes in the landscape of the farm. Within a month a survey was done and the colonial home along with the current 1.39 acres was separated from the remainder of the farm and sold to John and Margaret Aldrich. The remainder of the farm was surveyed and subdivided for house lots. Our story line continues with the colonial home.
In February 1973 the home was purchased by William and Carol Murray and their son, Terrance. Owning this fine colonial home had a major influence on the lives of this family. They acquires an appreciation and love for antiques and the structure of this home. Much of the following information was reported by The New Hampshire Sunday News and published May 18, 1975.
Change became a two way street when the Murray family moved into this 1800 colonial home in 1973. Not only did they bring about changes by restoring the old colonial, living there changed their life style and interests. Carol developed a sudden interest to furnish her “new” home with period furnishings. Her fascination with “old things” began to rub off onto her family as both son Terrance and husband Bill develop an interest. Bill took to restoring the house; removing modern door knobs and replacing with period latches, all while using groves in the wood where the originals once were. Walls were torn down and replastered; wide floor boards were scraped and refinished. Old chairs were stabilized and in some cases the caning or rush seats replaced. Their interest was such that the Murrays planned to open an antique shoppe and augment the items for sale with some of Carol’s hand crafted items.
Parts of this house were likely built about 1800 during the ownership of William, grandson of James. There is evidence that the present building resulted from two separate buildings being melded together into one. This is shown by two massive beams 12 inches wide running one over the other the width of the house in the attic. Also, one of the upstairs rooms is at a different level, requiring a step up/step down to enter/exit the room. There are 9 rooms, 2 chimneys, and 8 fireplaces; all of which were functional. The kitchen fireplace is deeper than the others with evidence of a baking oven at one time.
This was found to be an old house with lots of hidden charm; one where the Murrays liked to reside in and where visitors liked to come. And here the Murray’s stayed for 27 years until Carol sold in August 2000. Since the Murray’s this colonial has hosted four owners; the most recent, Hughes and Titianta Lafontaine, took ownership a few months ago. Welcome to Hudson!! Researched and written by Ruth Parker.
Written by Ruth Parker
This is the first of three articles which traces the route taken by the steam railroad in it’s four mile stretch through Hudson.
The Nashua and Rochester railroad began operation of a single track route through Hudson in 1874 with a single station which was located in Hudson Center off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall the home of Hudson Grange). This line provided passenger and freight services in both directions. After 1910 business on this line was on the decrease and the station closed about 1922 with passenger service continuing until 1934. O the station closed passengers boarding the train at Hudson Center would purchase tickets from the conductor. The line east of Hudson to Fremont, NH was abandoned by 1935; leaving Hudson as a branch line out of Nashua. Hudson remained an important stop because of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm and the Jungle train which brought passengers from Boston’s North Station to the Animal Farm on Sunday’s. The price of the train ride included admission to Benson’s.
Coming east from Nashua trains crossed the Merrimack River about 60 rods south of the Taylor Falls Bridge and proceeded on a north-east direction to Hudson Center and then on to Anderson Station in West Windham, a four plus mile route At first there was a wooden bridge across the river, but it was burned when set afire by sparks from a locomotive traveling on it. It was replaced in 1910 by an iron bridge, the metal later being salvaged for use during World War II to support the war effort. Our first photo shows the iron bridge C 1912 looking north (upriver) to the concrete Taylors Falls bridge. The abutments from the railroad bridge are still visible in the river as you cross from Nashua into Hudson. . These abutments can also be seen on the Hudson side of the river at Merrill Park. This park is located on land which includes the railroad right-of-way. Our second photo shows the entrance to Merrill Park which sits on the former railroad right-of-way. Part of the old railroad bed is also visible opposite the entrance to the Park and near the end at Fulton and Gillis Streets.
The trains climbed a grade from the river’s edge heading toward Hudson Center. The tracks crossed Lowell Road between the residence at 1 Lowell Road and the business at 5 Lowell Road. The train crossed Lowell Road and the street railway (trolley) on a trestle at the junction of Lowell and Central Streets as seen by our third photo. In this photo the home on the right is currently 65 Central and the house in mid picture is 1 Lowell Road.
The tracks then proceeded in a north of east direction along Central Street to a street level crossing of Melandy Road onto town owned land which was the former town barn, later the skate park, and now the pickleball court.
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.
This building which began as a school house in Peterborough, NH was moved to Hudson in 1929. It was moved a second time in 1941 where it found a permanent use by our town Recreation Department until it was replaced in 1985.
In 1929 Hudson was in the midst of the depression and money was tight. Extensive repairs had been completed to the Webster school building as the result of the recent fire. These repairs placed the facility in a better condition than before the fire. Hudson’s total school enrollment was 457 students: 356 at Webster, 58 at Hudson Center, 23 at No. 1 District school at Musquash, and 20 at No 9 District on Derry Road (now Old Derry Road). Yes!! Two of our local district schools were still operating at that time. Also, there were almost 100 Hudson students who were attending private elementary schools. Despite the depression it was apparent to the school board that an additional classroom was needed at Webster. They were fortunate to locate an available portable school house from the district of Peterborough. This building was secured, moved to Hudson, and placed behind the Webster school house in time for the 1929 school year. This annex to Webster immediately acquired the nickname of the “portable”.
The “portable” served Hudson quite well. It provided a make-shift class room which could be used for any grade(s) until another school building and/or school room became available. One year the “portable” was used for grade 1 and grade 3. Another year, for example, for grade 2 and grade 3. And so it continued. The depression continued into the 1930’s. The school board continuously looked for ways to decrease the cost of the elementary grades. At the same time the number of students attending Nashua Junior and Senior High was increasing. In 1933 the No.1 school house was closed due to cost and enrollment. This saved the district over $800 but added to the congestion at Webster. This situation continued until Hudson obtained a federal grant and made plans for a Junior High school building. Land was purchased and The Hudson Junior High school was built on School Street at the corner of what is now First Street near Oakwood Street. In 1939 the junior high was completed and Hudson students in grades 7,8,9 were schooled there; thus reducing the tuition spent to Nashua. This also relieved the pressure at Webster and made possible the closing of the “portable”. At that time grades 1-6 attended either Webster or Hudson Center’ graded 7-9 attended Hudson Junior High, and grades 10-12 were tuition students at Nashua.
The “portable” was used as a Webster annex until the end of the 1938 school year; almost 10 years. At the School District meeting in March 1939 the “portable” building was made available to the youth of Hudson. A short time after the building was moved from the rear of Webster onto School District land at the corner of First Street and Oakwood Avenue. A Recreation Committee of 5 persons was formed and organized activities for the youth of Hudson during the weeks of school summer vacation began to take root.
By 1953 there were 300 children and teenagers participating in the 9 week schedule of supervised summer activities ranging from playground activities, little league, and crafts. One special event such as doll show, pet show, bicycle parade, father and son baseball, or a trip to Benson’s was scheduled for each week. These events were held at the Youth Center on Oakwood Street and area fields: the ball field behind the Junior High, tennis courts located at the Robinson playground on School Street, and the ball field at the corner of School and Library Streets. This last field is now the site of the Leonard Smith Fire Station. At the School District meeting March 1954 the so called “portable” lot at the intersection of First and Oakwood Streets was deeded by the School District deeded to the town of Hudson for use by the town Recreation Committee.
Our first photo shows the Youth Center aka the old “potable” facing Oakwook Street C 1975. This building remained in use through the summer program of 1984 at which time it was replaced as a project of the Lions Club. The new building was 2,160 square feet and contained a large meeting room, heating facilities, an office, and space for a kitchen. The Lions Club donated the cost of this building with the assistance of many tradesmen, suppliers, and individuals in town who worked on the project at or below cost. The building committee consisted of Alvin Rodgers, Gus Piantidosi, Richard Millard, and Phillip Rodgers as chairman. The keys to the new youth center were turned over to Recreation Commission Chairman Paul Hamilton and Selectman John Bednar who thanked the Lions for their contribution to the community. While making this presentation Lions Club President Roger Latulippe stated that the new recreation building was donated to the town and its citizens as a token of gratitude for the many years of support shown to the club. Credit was specifically given to Paul Dawkins who wired the building at no cost and to the Snowmen snowmobile club who hung sheetrock at no cost.
Our second photo shows the Rec Center at it appears in 2019. Under the direction of Dave Yates, Recreation Director our recreation department now includes activities at this location plus the facilities at Robinson Pond, the playground and ball field at Hudson Center, activities at the Community Center (previously Lions Hall), senior services at the North Barn, and numerous ball fields and playground distributed through town. The 1975 photo is from the collection at the historical society. The current photo was taken by the author.