Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Remembering Simpsonville

Gossips has given a lot of attention to Hudson's lost historic districtthe Front Street-Parade Hill-Lower Warren Street Historic District, which was devastated during Urban Renewal to create Hudson Terrace Apartments and a strip mall with offstreet parking. We've brought some attention to Chapel Street, which was obliterated during the same period to construct Bliss Towers. But there's another neighborhood that disappeared without a trace during Urban Renewal that we haven't yet considered: Simpsonville. Simpsonville was located along Power Avenue, where HAVE and Dinosaw now are.

People who remember Simpsonville, which survived until about 1970, have told me that the houses never had indoor plumbing. They were located within the city limits of Hudson, but water and sewer lines were never extended to them. Most of the houses had been abandoned for some time when they were demolished, but remarkably, before they were razed, they were documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey and the photographs that were taken at the time can be viewed at the Library of Congress website.

The Historic American Buildings Survey describes Simpsonville in this way: "Simpsonville is an example of a community of typical speculation housing built at the end of the 19th century. In addition to the speculative housing there are two early 19th century structures of interest--a stone, one-room vernacular style [8 Power Avenue] and a Gothic Revival house with an unusual concave curved gable roof [7 Power Avenue]." It's been suggested that the Gothic Revival house with the curved roof may have been a gatehouse for the Dr. Oliver Bronson Estate. 

Click on an address to see photographs of the building: 
6 Power Avenue
7 Power Avenue
8 Power Avenue
10 Power Avenue
11 Power Avenue
12 Power Avenue
13 Power Avenue
16 Power Avenue
20 Power Avenue


  1. Carole - Several years ago, John Mason wrote a terrific article for the Register Star about Simpsonville, complete with old Hudson family names and great anecdotes.

  2. The Simpsonville photos are all by then-Register Star photographer Robert Ragaini, taken in the early 1980s under contract with the Library of Congress.

    John Mason

  3. As I recall, and it may be from Mr. Mason's research, Simpsonville was a community where people of color lived. Not only that, but people with the last names of Simpson, Jimpson, Simson and Jimson also had Mohican Indian ancestry. I'm going to have to look up Mr. Mason's work. Thank you for the recommendation.

  4. I thought that HAVE Inc took up residence on Power Ave in the late 1970s. By then, the houses would have been gone. Dinosaw and VersaChem were there too. Or am I misinformed?