Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Wards of Hudson . . . and Other Things

In our next local election, which happens in November, a little more than eight months from now, Hudson voters will be electing aldermen to represent the recently redrawn five wards of equal population.

A while back, in August 2013, Gossips shared the item below, found in the Hudson Evening Register for April 30, 1886, which announced the creation of the Fifth Ward, carved out of what had been previously the Fourth Ward.

Some may think, based on the 1873 Beers Atlas map below, that Hudson was divided into four wards from the time of the Proprietors, but it was not.

Originally, Hudson was divided into just two wards: everything south of Warren Street was the First Ward; everything north of Warren Street was the Second Ward. Today, I discovered, in the Hudson Daily Star for January 11, 1853, a letter to the editor that helps determine when the change from two wards to four wards happened. The letter makes the case that Hudson should have four wards because having only two wards presents "an insignificant appearance among our sister cities, none of which have less than four." The letter, which called for a charter revision, also sheds light on how we ended up with two aldermen for each ward instead of just one. Because there is much of interest in the letter, it is reproduced below in its entirety.


Equally interesting is the editorial comment about the letter, which emphasizes and amplifies the letter writer's salient points.


It's interesting to note that, according to the letter, the charter in place in 1853 "was revised and passed some twenty-four years ago." A new charter was adopted two years later, in 1855. Our current city charter has not been amended in its entirety since 1973.


  1. Most interesting. I looked into the creation of the 5th ward issue myself when working on the Fair and Equal campaign, and found that immediately after it was created, a 5th supervisor from Hudson showed up on the board of supervisors of the County, without any discussion thereof being mentioned in the County minutes anywhere. I found that odd. I guess if the city created 100 wards, then magically 95 more county supervisors would show up for work, and each get 14K or whatever in a salary from the County. Hmmm. No, relax, I am not going there!

    So we have two alderpersons per ward, the genesis of which was the idea that one be elected each year (so the terms would be staggered), to provide continuity or something? When did the city cease having aldermanic elections annually in favor of bi-anually? And given that we now have bi-annual elections, the original rationale for having two alderpersons per ward has long since disappeared. Hmmmm. Perhaps I had better stop musing about this further, before I get into trouble. :)

  2. Most interesting... Muse away.