Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wondering What Came Before

It's been a quiet week in Hudson, my adopted town . . . the kind of week that sets me browsing old newspapers at Fulton History. A little item, stumbled upon yesterday, serves as a reminder that the creation of some of our most esteemed historic houses in Hudson involved the demolition of something even older. At the beginning of the 20th century, for Morgan Jones to realize his fantasy of a house reminiscent of castles he'd seen in Europe--a house we know and love as the Inn at Hudson--an earlier house had to be razed. 

In the Beers Atlas for 1873, the house that stood at the corner of Allen Street and Willard Place is identified as belonging to R. H. Mitchell. There is no pictorial documentation of what R. H. Mitchell's house looked like, but it was mentioned, along with other houses in the 3oo block of Allen Street, in a series of articles published in March 1867 in the Hudson Evening Register called "Private Residences." The articles inventoried what the author considered to be the best and most elegant houses in Hudson. This is a quote from one of those articles:
As Warren street came to be more and more required for business purposes, other locations were sought for and the blocks in Allen street, between 3rd and 4th streets, became the favorite. On this block may now be found the residences of a number of our wealthy citizens, who have all the benefits of the city with many of the advantages of the country.
Mentioned among the "several other houses in this block of a little more ancient build" but comparing favorably with the others is the residence of R. H. Mitchell.

On the theme of today's landmarks taking the place of something older, I discovered this little item in the Hudson Daily Register for October 14, 1869.

Alderman Evans, of course, is Cornelius H. Evans, who inherited his father's brewery and built it into a tremendous success. The house predicted to be "one of the finest residences on Warren street" is this house, 412-416 Warren Street, now owned by the Galvan Initiatives Foundation.

Photo: Walter Ritchie|Galvan Foundation
What piques my curiosity is the "old land mark" that was torn down "preparatory to removing it upon the property of Mr. Jacob Waterman, on Sixth street." The 1873 Beers Atlas map shows that a considerable amount of property on both sides of Sixth Street between State and Washington belonged to J. Waterman.

In 1873, there are only two structures on J. Waterman's lots. Could one of them have been the "old land mark" that was moved from Warren Street to make way for Cornelius Evans' grand mansion? Since nothing in that area today seems like something that would be considered a landmark in 1869, we are left to wonder what it was.


  1. I have a copy of an 1865 pic of Warren being set with cobbles. In it is my building and also a flurry of structures where the Evens Mansons now stand.