Saturday, July 1, 2017

A 100-Year-Old Hudson Tradition

Last year, a group led by Trixie Starr, a.k.a. Rich Volo, revived the Hudson bed races--a tradition that some say goes back farther than the 1980s, when they were organized by then youth director Dick Tracy. The bed races this year are scheduled to take place on September 23, on South Front Street rather than Warren Street.

Recently Gossips discovered another long-abandoned Hudson tradition, one that was part of the rituals of graduation week at Hudson High School, and wondered about the likelihood of its being revived. The following report appeared in the Hudson Evening Register on June 28, 1917.

In keeping with the time established custom, the young men of the Hudson High School participated in the annual nightshirt parade last evening. Headed by High Muckedy Muck Arthur Flatley the paraders marched through the streets of the city serenading the "sweet girl graduates," the teachers of the faculty and the Board of Education.
As in years past the paraders were costumed in night shirts with their class numerals painted on their backs and many carried banners and transparencies. At a number of homes which they visited the boys were treated to peanuts and ice cream. "Time out" was also called at various ice cream parlors along the line of march.
At the residence of Mrs. J. W. Gillette, the woman member of the Board of Education, red fire was burned and sky-rockets set off, and the paraders were particularly strenuous in their demonstration for this popular member of the Board.
The popularity of this custom is on the wane, it would appear, if the number of men in line as compared to the showing made other years is an indication.
Prior to the parade a meeting was held in the basement of High school building at which Walter Dolan was elected High Muckedy Muck for next year.
School board member Grace J. Gillette was the wife of John W. Gillette. In 1917, they lived with their son, John W., Jr., and four servants in this house at 601 Union Street. (Their daughter Helen had been married in 1915.)

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
Two decades later, in 1936, the house became the Elks Lodge.

The building is now known as the Upjohn Mansion/Hudson LodgeUpjohn Mansion because it was built following a pattern by Richard Upjohn, which A. J. Downing, who included it in his book The Architecture of Country Houses, considered to be "one of the most successful specimens of Italian design in the United States."


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful find, Carole. So great to know that these historic buildings had living/breathing people attached to them, including even some high school rituals and pranks... Is it possible, I wonder, to have such a town-and-gown connection again?