Sunday, August 17, 2014

Join the Local History Detectives

On Friday, someone contacted Gossips seeking help in identifying the people in a family photo album. The album, made up of pictures taken in Hudson in the early decades of the 20th century, found its way to an antique shop in South Burlington, Vermont. The goal is to identify the people portrayed in the album, locate their descendants, and return the album to them. To help accomplish that, Gossips has permission to publish a few of the pictures from the album--some because they are just interesting pictures of Hudson probably never seen before, others because they provide clues to the identity of the family whose album it is.

The first picture falls into the category of "just interesting." It shows the corner of Warren and Fourth streets, early in the 20th century, with more people on the street than are usually seen in historic pictures. One possible explanation is that it is Sunday morning, and these folks are heading to the First Presbyterian Church. If that's the case, the presence of the baby carriage may suggest that the child inside is being taken to the church for baptism, but that's only a surmise.

Also among the pictures in the album is this one of the office of the Gifford-Wood Company, when it was located at the end of Hudson Street. It is said that this building still survives beneath what is there now.

The next picture is both of interest and of importance in identifying the family in the album. It is assumed that these women are either neighbors or family members, and the street is the street where the family lived. But what street is it? Where in Hudson are these houses located?

Many of the pictures in the album were taken in front of the same house--the house where this young couple are standing with a baby carriage, apparently the same one seen in the picture of Warren and Fourth streets.

This picture shows the entire house.

It is thought that, because the baby carriage appears in the photograph of Warren and Fourth streets, the house was in close proximity to that corner. Searching Hudson on Google, the people trying to locate the house thought it might be 360 Columbia Street, the house that now belongs to Operation Unite.

The size and placement of the windows is similar, the lintels over the windows seem the same, the entrance is a few steps up from the sidewalk, and the door is recessed, but the hood over the door is missing (this happens) and the roof line is different (this happens, too, although there appears to be no obvious evidence that it happened with this house). 

The pictures toward the end of the album (it is assumed they are arranged in chronological order) were probably taken during or soon after World War I (1917-1918). (Someone in uniform is posing in front of the house.) In all the pictures, the house appears unchanged. In this 1931 aerial picture of Hudson, however, 360 Diamond Street appears with the gabled roof that it has today. Is it possible that the roof was altered at some time between 1918 and 1931?

The only picture in the album that gives a hint about the location of the house is this one, where the house number appears over the door and the only number that can be made out is a 3.

The assumption is that this house was located on the same street that appears in the third picture above--a street that is considerably narrower than any street in Hudson today. The narrowness of the street suggests that this could be Chapel Street, the street that ran from Second Street to North Front Street between Columbia and State and was obliterated during Urban Renewal.

More pictures from the album can be seen on Flickr. If you have any ideas about the location of the house or the identity of the people, please post them in comments on Gossips or contact the people who have the album directly. Their contact information is provided on the Flickr page. 

Photos courtesy Mary Heinrich Aloi, Vintage Inspired Lifestyle Marketplace


  1. Where the Operation Unite house is on Columbia, in the 50's it was either The Krupa family (daughter Patty would be in her early 60's or so today) lived there. OR it was Mrs. Brown's house in the 50's (1954 or so). She was a heavy set African American woman, and a kind neighbor to my family on the 3rd floor of 366 Columbia. The Krupa's and Mrs. Brown lived side by side. Mrs. Brown's first name may have been Alice. I think her bldg. was closest to Boise's building that is not there anymore. I haven't walked Hudson in many years but the one with the 2 ladies standing reminds me of the narrow street of parts on Union. That is a guess. Seek out any Hudsonians that are in their 80's or more... if there are any left there these days.

  2. Just to be a nit-picker, I'm pretty sure it's Hudson Avenue, not Hudson Street in your paragraph on Gifford Wood.

    1. You're right, I'm sure, Peter Mullins, and that occurred to me when I was writing this, but to call a "way" that is only a block long, has virtually nothing on it but a Little League ball field, and dead-ends into a factory building an "avenue" seemed so inappropriate that--unconsciously or deliberately--I decided to correct that unfortunate bit of street naming.

    2. I thought too... never knew a Hudson Street. Good picking, Peter!! ;)

    3. I don't believe what I'm reading. You had the nerve to take it upon yourself to rename one of Hudson's Streets, in this case an Avenue. I thought you were such a stickler on "History'. You are being inappropriate. You owe your readers a correction. Can gossips be trusted in the future? Or do you plan to take liberties in your future writings?

  3. If someone can come up with the street or possible streets I, with the help of a friend who owns many years of Polk Hudson City Directory could cross reference the years in question 1900-1920 for the residents on the streets, keeping in mind the 3, as well as if they worked at Gifford Wood. Keep me posted!