Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hudson in a Heyday

While browsing what's become one of my favorite sites, Fulton History, I discovered a special advertising section published in 1914 in the Hudson Evening Register. Its purpose was to promote Hudson, then a prosperous city of 14,000 and "the Home of Two Gigantic Cement Works and Numerous Industries," as a place where "A Wealth of Opportunity Awaits Investors, Capitalists, and Home-Seekers." What follows are excerpts from this promotional text, which reveal Hudson's vision of itself nearly a hundred years ago.

It is said that an uncharitable minister in Newburgh once referred to Hudson as a city of 10,000 unburied dead. Of course the good parson's enthusiasm far exceeded his judgment, yet Hudson has had a quickening, and this came about ten years ago. It really came with the advent of the cement industry in this vicinity. Previous to this, the city had gone along with the deaths equalling the births and the population remaining stationary. The advent of the cement age brought us new vigor and a spirit for better things and a greater commerce. Once enthused, Hudson has kept pushing on, not by leaps and bounds, but by a conservative and substantial growth. This has meant the building of homes and the new residents have made good citizens who have taken an interest in the city, who have found pleasure and joy in seeing it prosper and enlarge. Hudson has never been a "mushroom" town, there have been no overnight growths. It has been conservative, mayhap to a fault, but nevertheless the result is that the general business of Hudson is carried on in a safe and substantial manner, rarely resulting in failure. . . .

Hudson may well boast of her school system. Indeed Hudson from the earliest time has paid much attention to her schools. . . . With the coming of the High School and State supervision of education the educational advantages of the city have grown materially. The city now has three grammar schools and a high school. All the buildings are substantial brick buildings of modern construction.

Our new high school [401 State Street], which is in the process of construction, will be a model of its kind, and fireproof throughout. When completed it will cost between $90,000 and $100,000. A glance at the plans of this building will quickly convince one that in its arrangement and detail every conceivable feature and detail has been arranged for. . . . It will stand for years a lasting monument to those who made it possible and to the foresight of an intelligent and cultured community.

The scholarship in our schools is not mediocre, but on the other hand is high, and is so recognized by the State Department of Education. The credit for this, of course, rests upon the faithful crops of teachers who labor assiduously with their charges. The school system is on a firm and strong foundation. It has advanced with the best of ideas in education and training and stands par excellence with the cities of our State. This is the reason why Hudson is proud of her schools. . . .

Truly Hudson has more than its share of fine and stately edifices. Its public structures are ornaments that will stand the test of time. Few cities of the size of Hudson have so ornate and substantial a building as our Court House. Its quiet dignity impresses one as quite a fitting abode for justice. . . . The firm of Warren and Whitmore [sic] designed this building. This firm is one of the leading firms in the country and their latest work of note has been the Grand Central Terminal and the Hotel Biltmore, in New York City.

The home of the Hudson City Savings institution [560 Warren Street] is another product of the genius of the firm. It is a stately and imposing structure and has been the greatest ornament and addition to the business district in a half century. . . .

Not alone are Hudson's public buildings beautiful and substantial, but the private residences reflect as well the prosperity, taste and culture of its inhabitants. Our residential streets are lined with beautiful homes, not necessarily costly, though many of them are, but attractive and homes that bespeak the life of a happy and contented people.

And this recalls the fact that Hudson's real estate has within a few years taken on a decidedly active advance. All real property within the limits has gone up greatly in value. A lively demand exists to-day not along for comfortable houses to rent, but for lots upon which to build. More houses have been built here in the past 4 years than in the previous 14. Three tracts of attractive building lots have been developed and a fourth is now in preparation. Upon these developments already a number of houses have been built and during this coming year many more will be constructed, for already many are now under contract. Activity in the real estate market speaks well for the prosperity of any city if this be true as it surely is, then Hudson is on the high road to prosperity.

A new development is about to take place in the vicinity of Lake Underhill. This will be in the nature of a natural parkway and the sites which this offer will be attractive and highly desirable. Upon all the new developments restrictions are placed; this of course insures the absence of commercial activities in the heart of a residential district, as well as assuring the prospective builder the nature of his neighbor's house and consequently of his neighbors. Hudson is fast becoming a community of house builders and its real estate market offers profitable field for investment. It is safe to say that at this very moment there is ready use for 50 more desirable houses. Boarding houses and hotels are inhabited by many new comers to the city who are unable to secure homes which are desirable and to their tastes.

The real estate market naturally brings us to our taxes which, as has been wisely said, with death cannot be escaped. The tax rate of the city of Hudson this year was $21.63 per $1,000 of valuation. And we have said to ourselves this is high. But it is not high for what we receive in return. Did it ever occur to you that our tax rate covers everything. It provides for our schools, it furnishes our water, it sprinkles our streets, it collects our garbage, it gathers our ashes, it paves our streets and it pays for all our municipal enjoyments and protection. This is not high when we compare it with other cities in which there are special taxes for schools, special taxes for water; cities where you have to hire a man to collect your garbage and pay him to gather up your ashes. Cities where you are obliged to pay special sewer and paving assessments. Besides in Hudson all property is assessed far below its true and actual value which must necessarily give a higher tax rate though the proportion which each man would pay is not thereby affected.     

No comments:

Post a Comment