Monday, June 29, 2015

A Historic Instance of Inhospitable Hudson

Even before Hudson decided to assume the moniker "The Friendly City," there is historic evidence that Hudson was a pretty wide-open and welcoming place. Captain Franklin Ellis, in his History of Columbia County, notes that in 1786--just a year after the city was incorporated--there were eighteen public houses in Hudson and seventeen "individuals and firms . . . licensed to retail all kinds of spirituous liquors." Ellis comments:
This list of public-houses certainly seems large, but its size is perhaps in some measure accounted for by the very large country trade, indicated by the daily arrival of twelve hundred sleighs, the greater part of them coming from a considerable distance."  
In 1905, there were twenty-five hotels in Hudson, many of them located near the train station and the boat landings. And, of course, we've all heard tales of Hudson's notorious red light district, which survived until 1950 and is reputed to have attracted visitors to Hudson from all over the Northeast.

From Diamond Street by Bruce E. Hall
Given all this, it was surprising to find this item in the Hudson Evening Register for June 29, 1915, proving that, despite its Rabelaisian reputation, Hudson of a hundred years ago was still capable of being puritanical and intolerant.


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