As the population of Hudson grew, the City became thickly settled in the section nearest the River. By 1787, 1,500 people lived in 500 houses standing shoulder to shoulder down town. This necessitated things like paved streets, street lighting, police and fire protection and a well organized form of local government. Those in the outlying districts of this large tract found themselves paying for services which, at least at the site of their homes, were of very little use to them. There had been unrest for some time, and finally, in 1837, a committee which was probably headed by Oliver Wiswall contacted the New York State Legislature, requesting that a town be raised around the perimeters of the City. This was done on May 13, 1837, and Hudson was thereby clasped in Greenport's confining arms which dipped into the Hudson River on its north and south borders.
There is an unsubstantiated story (unsubstantiated by Gossips, at least) that, early in the 20th century, there was a plan to re-annex part of Greenport with Hudson. This account, from Greenport: The Forgotten Town, of Greenport's first housing development, known as the Friss Tract, sheds some light on that.
Greenport's first real housing development began in 1920, the brain child of William D. Friss. The original purchase covered Homestead Park in the vicinity of Hartwell Avenue, and in May 1920, negotiations were started to make this land part of the City of Hudson. Surveyed by Michael J. O'Hara, the city engineer, it was agreed that Mr. Friss would install sewer and water mains at an estimated cost of $4,700, and with the completion of an anticipated modernized City Charter, he would be reimbursed. Water mains were laid, and a sewer connected with the Aitken Avenue main in Hudson, a facility which is probably still in use by some Greenport residents. But the plan to make it all a part of Hudson was never put into effect. Mr. Friss said Hudson could see no future in the plan, but Greenport bought the idea!
The land covered what had been for many years a popular ball field known as Homestead Park. The original acquisition was the Curry and Storm property and was bought from Timothy Leary who ran the Colonial Inn on what is now Hartwell Avenue. This building had 18 rooms, and the land covered nine acres. In the beginning, a group of well known men in the community were to make the purchase and erect a number of up-to-date houses for sale, but all dropped out except Friss.
From the Inn, he removed the back portion, and this was sold to Carl Tresselt who moved it across the Claverack road where it became his home. The hotel's third storey was taken off, and an elliptical porch was built at the front entrance. The entire structure was remodelled into an attractive private dwelling to which the Friss family moved. The whole area was marked out into building lots, and Friss began to sell them, erecting some of the new homes himself. . . .
It was [Friss's] dream that this project would satisfy the needs of people wishing to live in solitude and quiet, and the original deeds specified that no commercial property could be established there.
When William Friss died, July 3, 1949, more than 90 homes had been completed on the tract, and plans were underway for about 60 more. Among the streets included in the development were Hartwell Avenue, Milo Street, Janis Street, Ten Broeck Avenue, St. Charles Place, Marie Street and Wortman Square.
From the description of the Colonial Inn provided in Greenport: The Forgotten Town, one might conclude that the building that became the Friss residence is 4 Hartwell Avenue.
Greenport historians, is this the case? If so, does the back part of the house, which was sold to Carl Tresselt and moved across the road, still exist?
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