Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back to 1965: South Bay Neighborhood

Today we return to the assessment of Hudson neighborhoods from the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan. Having covered the respectable uptown neighborhoods--the High School Neighborhood, the Oakdale Neighborhood, the Hospital Neighborhood--the study now turns its attention to the first of two neighborhoods whose descriptions include such words as deteriorating, substandard, blighted, and clearance: South Bay Neighborhood.

Very little in the South Bay Neighborhood escaped being designated substandard--either "serious," marked with diagonal lines, or "critical," marked with dots. Surprising today, all the houses on Willard Place, except for No. 8 at the end, were designated "serious." Aside from the 300 block of Allen Street and West and East Court streets, the only blocks not considered substandard in 1965 were the south side of Allen Street between Third and Second and the north side of Union Street between Third and Second.
South Bay Neighborhood
The South Bay neighborhood is predominantly working class or "blue collar" in character. The neighborhood was defined to include the industries and railroad uses of the Bay, where the survey of the Bureau of Urban Affairs reported severely deteriorating structures, open sewer outfalls, and noise and dust, all contributing to blight.
Of the 615 housing units, approximately one-third were in standard condition. Another 28% were in intermediate condition and 38% were substandard. Vacancies were common (vacancy ratio: 7.0%).
The fewest problems were found near Washington Park; the greatest number were found on the blocks adjoining the industrial uses and west of Front Street between and along Warren Street.
One-fifth of the total number of substandard housing units found within the City were in the South Bay neighborhood. Only in the North Bay neighborhood were there greater numbers of substandard housing units reported.
Although the neighborhood, as defined, extends from Washington Park to Promenade Hill and includes Franklin Park and St. Mary's Playground, the park space is totally inadequate. Washington Park functions well for passive adult recreation. St. Mary's Playground and Franklin Park are much too small for the active sports of the children who use them, and Promenade Hill is a formal monument in a windy and hilly location, not greatly used for even passive recreation.
The South Bay neighborhood is severely blighted. The low-lying area of the neighborhood, bordering the Bay itself, and the blocks west of Front Street require much clearance and redevelopment to eliminate blighted structures and residential uses which are not compatible with the existing heavy commercial and industrial uses.
The blocks closer to Warren Street contain many old buildings of historical and architectural interest. These buildings should be conserved and rehabilitated insofar as possible, to preserve and enhance the historical quality of this area. The City should investigate the creation of an historical preservation district (to include the blocks east of Front Street extending south beyond Partition Street, and east to Fourth Street) in order to aid in the restoration and conservation of these buildings.
The recommendations for "clearance and redevelopment" were carried out only a few years after they were made in 1965, but it took forty-one years for the City to act on "the creation of an historical preservation district." In 2006, the Union-Allen-South Front Street Historic District was created.     


  1. Yes, let's go back to 1965 Hudson.
    Most residents of Hudson considered the North & South Bay neighborhoods undesirable as a residence.
    This was based on their opinions of housing conditions, especially the interior living conditions and
    unfortunately the race & economical level of peoples that resided in the neighborhoods.
    Many Hudsonians believed that new housing (Bliss Towers, Terrace Apartments, etc.) was a positive solution to replace what was once there.
    It is of value to make note of the state of the Country during the 1960's; demonstrations, rioting & burning of inner cities, etc.
    Not many came to Town in the 1960's with open minds, money & foresight to see what could be the future of Hudson.
    Thankfully for Hudson & its residents that renaissance would take place years later & continues to this day.

    In 1965 I was a student at St. Mary's Academy, 3rd & Allen, and resided at 110 Warren.

  2. It was also the period of the rise of "The Mall Mentality" which quickly abandoned downtowns across the nation for suburban shopping & parking. No one knew what to do with the death of urban living so it was decided to tear the old down to be replaced with new.

  3. Mention of "clearance and development" seems a good opportunity to recall the former size of the "Front Street-Parade Hill-Lower Warren Street Historic District," a National Register of Historic Places listing.

    Fortunately, 'Gossips' already told the story of that district's reduction, in 2010:


  4. i remember yanking copper pipe out of a few of the old houses before they were torn down. i also remember that i couldn't believe people could live in them, they were deplorable.