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Located in the central part of the state is Illinois's entrant in the Visit 17 Hudsons in 2017 Challenge. The Village of Hudson is in McLean County, 10 miles north of Bloomington-Normal. The village was settled in 1836 during a real estate boom. Many of the early settlers came from New York State and supposedly chose to name their new "colony" after the town of Hudson, New York. Others claim it was named after the Hudson River.
The original town's design consisted of core smaller "in lots," surrounded by a ring of larger "out lots." Unlike many other Illinois towns, Hudson did not have a central public square, rather it's main street was designed to be 120 feet wide, compared to the normal 80 foot width. Evidence of the original design can still be seen.
Hard times immediately fell upon Hudson concurrent with the deep national depression of 1837. Things didn't pick-up until 1854 when the Illinois Central Railroad steamed into town. Livestock production and farming played crucial roles in the town's development. It was incorporated as a village in 1873. In 1883 telephone service arrived and electric lights were first installed in 1912. The town hall was constructed in 1916. In 1992 the nearby Interstate 39 was completed improving access to Normal.
Hudson's most notable resident was Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915). Hubbard was a writer, publisher, artist and philosopher. His book "A Message to Garcia" sold 40 million copies in 1899. Hubbard died on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed in 1915. Hubbard's Hudson home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the village has a population of nearly 1,900 residents. The average age is 37.2 years. Over 98 percent of adults have a high school diploma and 41 percent have a college degree. Household income in the village is 50 percent above the national average. In terms of physical size, the Village occupies only .83 square miles, and has a total of 670 housing units.
Hudson, Illinois is a self-described "bedroom community" in the Bloomington-Normal metro area. It purposely seeks to maintain its rural small-town feel. Hudson's Mayor, Jason Collins, says his community is a "vibrant and caring community that is a wonderful place to live and raise a family." It's town seal contains the descriptive phrase "Product of the Prairie, Pride of the People."
The village elects a mayor, trustees and village clerk every four years. Its volunteer Hudson Community Fire Protection District serves Hudson and surrounding communities. The Hudson Police Department serves Hudson and the nearby town of Towanda. There is a public library. The K-5 elementary school is part of the McLean County Unit 5 School District. Students attend West High in Normal.
The Village maintains several parks and fields. McLean County's Comlara Park, located on Evergreen Lake, offers additional recreational opportunities.
Being relatively small bedroom community, there are only a few businesses and shops in town. Nearby eateries include the Lake Road Inn and Green Gables Grill.
Additional information regarding the Challenge is available at destinationhudson.com, or at the Visitor Center and Gift Shop in Town Hall, 27 E. Main St.