Thursday, December 27, 2012

Watch This Spot

Since 1997, this empty space in the 200 block of Warren Street has been Thurston Park, named for John W. Thurston, the Proprietor whose holdings included these lots in 1785. Before it became a park, it was an unkempt vacant lot. Before that, however, it was the site, in succession, of two of Hudson's more remarkable lost buildings. The first building that stood in this spot was this one.

The picture is from Historic Hudson's collection of Frank Forshew photographs and was taken in 1865 or sometime thereafter. The sign indicates that this is the National Hudson River Bank, a bank that was founded as the Hudson River Bank in June 1830, when it purchased the building that had been the Bank of Columbia. The Hudson River Bank became a national bank in 1865.

In 1869, this building was demolished to make way for a new bank building. On July 21, 1869, the Hudson Evening Register reported: "The building so long occupied by the Hudson River Bank is being demolished to give place to a more magnificent structure. In the meantime the business of the Bank will be transacted at the building No. 89 Warren Street, first door above the Worth House." This is the "more magnificent structure" that took its place.

This picture, also from Historic Hudson's Rowles Studio Collection, shows the National Hudson River Bank's new building sometime after July 1907, when the bank had moved to yet another new building520 Warren Street, now City Halland the Elks Club had taken over this building. 

In the summer of 1935, the Chatham Courier reported a fire at the Elks Lodge: "Damage estimated at $20,000 was caused and one fireman was hurt in an early morning fire of unknown origin which swept two floors of the clubhouse of the Hudson Lodge No. 787, B.P.O.E., at 231 Warren street, Hudson, Sunday morning. . . . Intensity of the fire and the fact that the clubhouse stands in a closely occupied business, residential and hotel district caused Fire Chief [Louis] Sacco to turn in a general alarm shortly after his arrival on the scene. Philip Hickey, night steward at the club, who was in the building at 4:30 a.m. said that, at that time, there was no sign or odor of fire. The alarm struck at 5 a.m."

Gossips research has not yet discovered if the building was ever repaired after the 1935 fire or when it was demolished, but by 1940 the Elks Lodge had relocated to 601 Union Street.

Gossips Note: Thanks to Raymond Clapper who asked the questions and supplied most of the answers that make up this post, and to John Craig for providing the rest of the information.

Gossips Correction: The two Hudson River Bank buildings did not stand in the spot that is now Thurston Park. This is the building that stood in that space.

The site of the Hudson River Bank is now occupied by this building.

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