Two houses on the northwest corner of Union and South Second streets will be considered together, because they were owned together by two previous owners, they were purchased together by Eric Galloway, and they were transformed together, by him, in 2003 or thereabouts.
This is a detail from an aerial photograph of Hudson, very likely taken in the 1930s, which shows the two houses probably little altered from what they looked like when they were built.
Here are the two houses today.
The evidence suggests that 130 Union Street started out as a fairly simple early 19th-century asymmetrical, side hall vernacular house, but it's been transformed into this pseudo-Greek Revival confection. The addition of columns to this house took place at about the same time that the massive two-story columned portico was being installed at Galloway's own house in the 300 block of Allen Street, inspiring some punsters to suggest that Galloway suffered from "Tara-ette syndrome."
When I moved to Hudson in 1993, 136 Union Street was enrobed in stucco, an early solution perhaps, predating aluminum and vinyl siding, to the problem of having to repaint clapboard. The owners before Galloway, who had embarked on a painstaking restoration of the building, removed the stucco to reveal this elegantly simple five bay house with some Victorianizing details: the cornice and the door surround.
Galloway transformed the house--with imagination, some salvaged Colonial Revival elements, and lots of dentils--into an architectural confection that defies analysis by anyone armed only with McAlesters' Field Guide to American Houses. It's an early 19th-century house, but there is little evidence of that to be found on the exterior of the building.
In the transformation, too, 136 Union, as well as 130 Union, sprouted a second house attached at the back. At 130, the smaller house is accessed by a path alongside the larger house, but at 136, the smaller house fronts on South Second Street and has its own address: 15 South Second. At the time the second house was built, there were no regulations in Hudson about the subdivision of property, and 136 Union and 15 South Second are now listed separately in the tax rolls. There were--and still are--code restrictions about the percentage of a lot that can be taken up by buildings. It would seem that this project should have required an area variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but I don't recall it ever going before the ZBA.
There is no doubt that this corner looks better now than it did before, and there is no question that the people who live in the buildings now are better neighbors than those who inhabited them a decade ago. (In the mid-1990s, 136 Union was a notorious crack house, even offering its customers a "drive-up window" on the Second Street side.) But for a city with enviable historic architecture, that's not exactly the point. As a commenter on this blog said in reference to the proposed restoration of Washington Hose, "Hudson has real history." We don't need to--nor should we--"tart up" our historic buildings and turn them into something they never were.