Last week's photo was of the May Pavilion at Hudson Springs -- Hudson's 260-acre keystone park.
Hudson Springs consists of a 50+acre, spring-fed lake, which provides excellent bass and bluegill fishing, a meadow and two miles of trails through acres of wildlife-filled woods. There is an extra loop in the trail that is perfect for wildflower viewing in the Spring. There are three picnic pavilions, restrooms, disc golf, volleyball, a playground, an open play meadow and a children's hedge maze.
But from where did this all come?
Hudson native Joan May Maher, who grew up on what villagers called May's Lake, shared some memories. Judge May and his family originally lived in the village and owned the property with a small three-acre lake surrounded by farmland. They had family gatherings at the lake, with a picnic shelter where the May Pavilion stands today. In 1946, they moved from the Village to a new house at the lake and took up farming. Judge May found a spring in the swampy land and took steps to increase the size of the lake to more than 50 acres. Joan said that beavers have expanded it since that time.
Her father died in 1949, but had often said to her mother that if anything happened to him, they could make a living by having a swimming and fishing business -- and they did. They opened in 1950 and named the park Hudson Springs. Joan remembers working non-stop with five of her brothers, especially on some summer weekends when there could be more than 2,000 people at the lake.
There was a fishing lodge near the back of the current dog run area, a big diving board, a bathhouse and a boathouse. Kent State University used to have regattas on the lake. The area developed a reputation as a premier recreation and fishing spot. According to Joan, fishermen said the bass was the best-tasting in the state.
Hudson was not prepared to buy the property when Caroline May sold it after all her children completed college, but realized in the early 70s the importance of acquiring open land for future use. After much discussion and negotiation, the Village of Hudson bought the property in 1974, with the understanding that the Park Board would buy it from them as they could.
Two adjoining pieces of property were acquired in the late 70s, bringing the park to its current size. Hudson has 20 parks totaling 1,128 acres. Information about all of them is available in the Visitor Center vestibule, or online at www.hudson.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=110.