Sunday, February 5, 2017

House Numbers in 1851: All Is Revealed

In November, Gossips published a post that concluded, based on evidence from the Hudson Daily Star, buildings in Hudson were not numbered in 1851, and hence numbers were not used to describe the location of a house or business--for example, a house advertised for sale on Allen Street was said to be "a few rods from the Court House," and it was announced that a new boarding house was opening "in the A. Hammond Building, fronting the Public Square." That post prompted a reader to send me an email informing me that in the 1851 Hudson City Directory, a facsimile of which was published in 1985, "all the residential and business listings include house numbers." She concluded, "Hard to believe that in a planned city, numbering houses would be overlooked, but easy to believe it [i.e., describing location by reference to well-known houses or businesses] was just the local manner of speaking."

Well, hard as it is to believe, it is true. (But then there is much about Hudson that is hard to believe but true.) Yesterday, Gossips reported that on August 6, 1851, the Common Council passed an ordinance requiring the owners and occupants of properties to place numbers on their buildings. The ordinance specified that "a suitable person shall be appointed, whose duty it shall be to allot and designate the numbers of the several houses and lots in said city." On August 26, 1851, the following item appeared in the Daily Star.

Around that same time in August 1851, this notice began appearing in the Daily Star, announcing the intent to publish a "General Directory of the City of Hudson . . . on or about the 1st of October, or immediately after the numbering of the Lots is completed."

Needless to say, the editor of the Star, who had often commented about the problems caused by the buildings in Hudson not being numbered, had supportive things to say about the effort to create Hudson's first city directory.



  1. One day I hope yo finally research my building and find out its original number too.

    1. Vince--The easiest way to find out the original number of your building (which BTW is 219-221) is the Tap Record. I've mentioned the Tap Record before on Gossips, because it is such a remarkable source of information. It can be found online on the City of Hudson website:;/content/Documents/File/900.pdf. It's a record of when every building in Hudson was hooked up to the City water supply, AND (this is why it is so valuable), in most instances, it gives both the pre- and post-1888 building numbers.