Tuesday, September 23, 2014

School Days Past in Hudson

In 1914, a hundred years ago, the building at 401 State Street, now used as a county office building, was under construction as the new Hudson High School.

Twenty or so years later, the population of high school students in Hudson had outgrown the building. To deal with overcrowding, classes were held both at 401 State Street and in the school building across Fourth Street, which had been the original high school but was then Central Grammar School.

Each time classes changed throughout the day, students had to file across Fourth Street to get from one building to the other.

Because the high school had reclaimed one of the elementary schools, the overcrowding impacted the elementary schools, and younger children attended school only half days.

In the 1930s, while the country was still in the throes of the Great Depression, Hudson needed a new high school. To muster taxpayer support, the Hudson Board of Education appealed to Hudsonians' civic pride. They assembled all the schoolchildren and took a picture of them, which appeared in a pamphlet published by the school board with the caption: "'UNDER PRIVILEGED' Hudson's children to whom but half-time schooling is given."

Here's how Walter First in his scrapbook, where Gossips found these two images, recalled the time.

In the early 1930's, there was an appeal to the taxpayers of Hudson by the Board of Education for a new High School. The Proposition Pamphlet listed the financial budget data, and included pictures like these. The request for Taxpayer approval ended as follows:
"We, the Board of Education, have done our best, but you all know, at its best, conditions are deplorable."
Having been there at that time, I can agree. The campaign was effective. The taxpayers approved, and the new High School was completed for the 1938 Graduation Class.
The building we now know as Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School was built was a New Deal Public Works Administration project. It was completed in November 1937 and was originally known as the Chancellor Livingston High School.


  1. The then new High School at 401 State collapsed during its construction.
    In the year 2014, re: your probably from Hudson via facebook & linda russo porpa entry on 8/10, there is a request to donate for the +200 Hudson students that were classified as homeless last year.
    So the need to support the students of Hudson continues 80 years later.