Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hudson's Own Frank Forshew

I thought I knew quite a bit about Frank Forshew, the 19th-century pioneer in daguerreotypy and photography, who was born in Hudson in 1826 and established his business here in 1850, the same year he married Mary Hildreth. I knew that he was well-known and highly successful. I knew that we are indebted to him for documenting so much of Hudson in the latter half of the 19th century. I knew that his studio was located at 241 Warren Street, now 441 Warren Street, the building that houses TK Home & Garden. I knew that, when he retired a few years before his death in 1895, the establishment was taken over by Captain Volkert Whitbeck, who had joined Forshew's photography business in 1863, after being discharged from the Union Army. I knew that he died of "a stroke of apoplexy" while visiting his eldest son, John, in Brooklyn. I knew that he is buried in Cedar Park Cemetery.

What I didn't know, because it never occurred to me to wonder, was where in Hudson Frank Forshew lived. Today, while responding to an inquiry from someone seeking historic pictures and information about her recently acquired house, I discovered where Forshew and his family made their home. It turns out their residence was right next door to Forshew's place of business, at 239 Warren Street (now 439 Warren Street). The picture below shows the two buildings as they were during Forshew's lifetime. It's tempting to imagine that the photograph was taken by someone in Forshew's employ and that Forshew himself appears in the picture, posing by the open window in the center, his elbow resting on the sill, beside his wife who is inside, and that two of their five children, with their little dog, appear in the windows on the second story.


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