The three defining moments in time for Hudson are:

  • 1699 The laying out of the first road at the dam from Marlborough across the Assabet River (where Washington Street now crosses)

  • 1866 The incorporation of the town

  • 1894 The Great Fire that cleared all the buildings around the rotary and eastward almost to the Town Hall. These fires seemed to plague most towns in the 19th and 20th centuries


Selected dates in Hudson’s History

  • 1660         Marlboro becomes a Town

  • 1674         Marlboro has 10 families

  • 1698         John Barnes builds grist mill, north bank of Assabet River (now at Washington St)

  • 1700         Joseph Howe owns mill Marlboro builds first road to mill at dam

  • 1711          John Barstow owns mill

  • 1723         Robert Barnard owns mill

  • 1790         First store, “old red house” (Lewis Block site, ODD fellows building)

  • 1794         Joel Cranston store & tavern at ODD Fellows site

  • 1799         Silas Felton & Joel Cranston in business Tannery begins on Tannery Brook

  • 1800        Feltonville (now Hudson), 13 dwellings & 100 inhabitants

  • 1816         Daniel Stratton begins shoe factory

  • 1820         14 dwellings, 1 public house, grist, cotton & cloth mills

  • 1841         Jedidiah Wood’s son builds at Wood Square

  • 1843         Brigham starts shoe ‘factory’ on Main Street

  •                    Stephen Pope buys land at Market & South Streets area, develops Tannery

  • 1848         Marlboro Branch, Fitchburg Railroad reaches Hudson

  • 1857         Brigham builds Factory at dam

  • 1860         Feltonville (now Hudson) has 1,000 residents

  • 1860s       Civil War era—Company I, 5th Regiment with 49 men formed Agitation for new town begins, to be split from Marlborough

  •                    South Street tenements built

  •                    Great demand for shoes, Hudson factories develop & expand

  • 1865         Trowbridge builds at Wood Square

  • 1866         Hudson incorporates; population at 1800

  • 1868         Population 2,600, part of Bolton annexed

  • 1872          Town Hall built; Japanese delegation visits shoe factories

  • 1875          Population of Hudson reaches 3,493

  • 1880         Joseph Bradley shoe factory, Main & Tannery Brook site

  • 1881          Central Mass Railroad reaches Hudson

  • 1882          Larkin Lumber begins

  • 1885          Goodyear Gossamer (later Goodyear Rubber established at the dam

  • July 4, 1894  The Great Fire

  • 1895         Much of the destroyed downtown rebuilt in brick

  •                    Town buys Solon Wood’s land, becomes the Rotary

  •                    First trolley arrives

  • 1900         Hudson had 7500 residents

  •                    Fire Station No. 1 built at Wood Square

  • 1900-23   Concord, Maynard & Hudson trolley line operates

  • 1904         Present Library built

  • 1910         Armory built on site of Marshall Wood’s home (Washington & Park)

  • 1911          Methodist Church (site of Hudson Pawnbroker-Main & South St) burns

  • 1916          Hudson celebrates 50th Anniversary and Hudson

  •                    Historical Society forms.

  • 1920         Hudson Movie theater opens on Pope Street

  • 1935         Chase Block burns

  • 1951         Jeft’s Block (Murphy Insurance on Main Street) suffers major fire

  • 1966        Hudson celebrates 100th Anniversary

Hudson, Massachusetts ~ 150th Celebration 1866—2016

This area was also known as Indian Plantation, Cow Commons, The Mills, New City and Feltonville

Also there are the several excellent Images of America series of books (Arcadia Publishing) that contain early pictures of Hudson. These are written by Lew Halprin & the Hudson Historical Society. Hudson (1999); Hudson, Post Card History Series (2008). There is another book in the series, Hudson’s National Guard Militia by William Verdone, (2005) that deals with the Armory and the units who were stationed there over the years.

and a river runs through it

Hudson’s Downtown represents a good example of a 19th to early 20th century mill community.

Little from those days remains now but a stroll around the main streets will reveal the early town layout.

The Hudson Historical Society was formed in 1916 to capture the fascinating history of the town. The Society has a large collection of artifacts, print and digital materials. Ellen Busch is the genial and knowledgeable Curator and David Bonazzoli, Historian of the Society. All are welcome.

Hudson Mill Building 43 Broad Street,4th floor, Room c-402

usual hours: Tuesdays 2 - 4 PM First Saturday of the month 10 AM to Noon but closed due to the corona virus.

Map, tour, information and inspiration provided by Richard Gelpke

This with able assistance from David Bonazzoli and Lorene Jean, Hudson Art & Framing.

© 2016  LBJ with

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