Where in Hudson is this?

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The two cookie-cutter looking pine trees in last week's column are on the top of a piece of playground equipment at Veterans Way Park.

'Tis the season to explore all of Hudson's parks, and Veterans Way is one of seven that include playground equipment. The others are Middleton Park, Oak Grove, Hudson Springs, Colony Park, Cascade Park and Barlow Farm Park.

There are 13 additional parks, including several pieces of land that are not yet developed but have been set aside as parkland. Maps of the trails and information about the parks are available at the Hudson Visitor Center (89 First St., Suite 205) or online at www.hudson.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=110.

And now for a bit of Hudson history. If you drive around the historic part of town, you will see a number of buildings, both homes and businesses, that have red tile roofs. I know the Learned Owl and Peachtree both have one.

In 1907, James W. Ellsworth, a native of Hudson who became a millionaire in the coal industry, retired and returned to Hudson. He was heartbroken by the serious deterioration that he saw. Western Reserve College had relocated to Cleveland, two fires (1890 and 1892) destroyed an important mill and most of Main Street, and the town's only bank suddenly closed its doors in 1904 because of an embezzlement, causing many citizens to lose their savings.

Ellsworth set about to bring Hudson back. He brought electricity to town, paved the roads, built water and sewage plants, and reestablished a bank. Many trees, mostly elms, were planted and all the wiring was buried underground or placed at the back of properties.

The plethora of red tile roofs came about because he provided free red roof tile to anyone who would install it on their buildings. In 1912, as a symbol of Hudson's revitalization, Ellsworth had the clocktower constructed on the Village Green. Four years later, Western Reserve Academy officially opened on the grounds of the former Western Reserve College. Thanks in great part to the intervention of one man, Hudson was indeed reborn.

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