Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remnants of the Past

Back in September 2010, Gossips did a post about a mysterious baseball diamond-shaped expanse of concrete at the edge of the cemetery near Prospect Avenue and Columbia Turnpike. 

This, DPW Superintendent Rob Perry informed us, was a wading pool, a remnant of the old Academy Hill playground, one of several neighborhood playgrounds maintained by the City of Hudson in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Perry mentioned also a shed that provided storage space for playground equipment and toilets for girls and boys. The shed, Perry said, had originally been an early firehouse. The building today offers clues of its previous uses.

Sadly, this little building, which, if it was a firehouse, must date back to a time when fire engines were pulled through the streets by men or horses and were basically hand pumps that sprayed water at the flames, is falling into disrepair. The south wall is particularly compromised, with stones breaking away at the back corner.  

The building belongs to the City of Hudson and is situated on land that is still considered a city park. There's a rusting sign on an adjacent fence that announces the park closes at 9 p.m. Wouldn't it be nice if the deterioration could be halted, and this simple little building, which reflects past eras of life in Hudson, could be prevented from succumbing to demolition by neglect?


  1. A reader just called to say that this building was, until around 1920, Jones Fire Company No. 6 and confirmed that the fire engine housed here was pulled through the streets by volunteer firemen. It's possible that the Jones for whom the fire company was named was Fred W. Jones, owner of the New York Coral and Shell Marble Company, who built the "mountain railroad" from the river to Becraft Mountain, through South Bay.

  2. The lumber barricading the door -in such a sensitive manner - has just recently been added.

  3. I was just looking at this building and that sign this week. It would indeed be a great thing to start looking at this and other public amenities in and around the cemetery for restoration. In our tiny little city, the cemetery and its surroundings could relatively easily be restored into the parks of reflection and serenity that they were originally designed to be.

  4. Vince--DPW Superintendent Rob Perry just informed me that the lumber barricading the door was installed recently because a vagrant had broken the locks and was living inside the building.

    1. The doors are handsome in their layers of old paint;

      Couldn't DPW Superintendent Rob Perry simply have the locks fixed instead of drawing attention to this building treating it like its ready for demolition?

  5. Thanks Carole.It would be interesting to map what is in walking distance for dog owners.Downtown there are many dog owners with out cars period or are older(dogs and owners) and need something in a central place.Back to the NIBY problem.But a dog park all the way downtown,is too far for many uptown and going north dog owners ,to walk to.In meetings we have discussed there being a smaller,well designed( that meets naysayers objections) local park downtown and then also looking for a larger place where dogs could really run safely.The 2 areas Scalera offered up last year were minuscule and not suitable at all.
    This might have potential as the larger park,maybe,and still be in search for a place downtown.Is that possible?

  6. I think it would make a great dog park. The only problem to be solved would be parking, since there is no parking on the east side of the street (not even space to pull a car off the roadway) and the west side of the street is typically parked solid with cars belonging to hospital staff.

    The park extends all the way up to the top of the hill, where Hudson Academy once stood. There are stone steps to the left of the old firehouse that lead up to the site of the academy building. When the Academy closed, all the land, extending down to Prospect Avenue, was deeded to the City of Hudson as park land.

    It's a wonderful park, and one that most people don't know about and few people have ever visited because it's so hard to get to. There's no sidewalk on that side of the street and, as I said, no place nearby to park a car.

  7. During the 1950-60s it was a wonderful playground for neighborhood children. My Mother packed 5 lunches and off we would go, walking to the playground and spending the day there. There were many activities and tournaments with other playgrounds in the city. Horseshoe pit, merry-go-round, swing equipment and the cement wading pool..arts & crafts. Climbing up to it was a bit of a challenge.

    I seem to remember a sidewalk on the playground side. Don't know what happened to it, except all the hospital changes over the decades, may have necessitated removing it. It is a precarious intersection there.

    I don't remember it being a place for reflection or serenity, but a neat place for kids to spend their summers. What it was before a playground, I cannot say. Except that the original Hudson Academy was there and perhaps it was used as a playground for the school...Way before my time...

  8. I use to go there as a kid in the 50's use to walk through the cemetery then through a path through the trees to get there. went back there in the fall and took a photo you can see it on my blog
    Just child hood memories now.

  9. I go through this park daily on my way to the cemetery to walk my dog. Hudson needs a dog park. I make the trip to the Friends of kinderhook dog park frequently. That is a great park. Maybe we could talk them and see what they did to get approval and a site. I would love to be involved.