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Learning about America's 17 Hudsons - Massachusetts

Published: May 7, 2017 12:00 AM
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Hudson, Massachusetts is forty miles its southwest is Hudson, New Hampshire and just 28 miles west of Boston. The Massachusetts Hudson provides its 19,864 residents with a "superb quality of life in a semi-rural, suburban setting filled with New England scenic charm." The19th century mill town's revitalized downtown is located along the Assabet River.

From 1675 to 1678 King Philip's War pitted English colonists against local natives. More than 4,000 perished in the fighting. Native Americans were vanquished from the area. In 1699 the first European settler, John Barnes, was granted land on what had been Ockookangansett territory. Along the north bank of the Assabet River he built a gristmill and a sawmill. Barnes also constructed a bridge linking his property to the river's south bank and the Town of Marlboro (incorporated in 1660 and now known as Marlborough). The area north of the river became known as Feltonville. It remained a part of Marlborough until 1866 despite 120 years of repeated petitions by Feltonville residents seeking to separate from Marlborough. They finally succeeded in 1866. The newly incorporated town was named for Charles Hudson who donated $500 for a library in exchange for town naming rights.

Historically, Feltonville/Hudson men were patriots. They fought with the Minutemen on April 19, 1775. Twenty-five died during the Civil War as members of the Union Army, and many fought in the wars of the 20th century.

Railroads came to the area in the 1850s initiating industrial development. By 1860 Feltonville/Hudson was home to 17 shoe factories. Over the next 40 years new industries arrived, including woolen mills, a piano factory, an elastic webbing plant and a factory that rubber coated fabrics. In 1885 Goodyear Gossamer was founded in Hudson. It became Apsley Rubber in 1892 before morphing into the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Concurrent with the development, Hudson experienced an influx of immigrants who worked in the town's many factories.

The Great Fire of 1894 destroyed the central business district, but downtown Hudson was quickly rebuilt. By 1900 a local power plant was supplying electricity to the community and an electric trolley line was built to connect Hudson with neighboring towns. By the mid-20th century many of the factories had closed, but post World War II housing developments doubled the population. More recently the town has attracted high-technology companies to fill the old mills. The average age of Hudson residents is 43 years. 88% have high school diplomas. 37 percent have college degrees. The cost of living in Hudson is 37 percent higher than the national average. The average home price is $320,000 and the average household income is $71,327.

The 11.8 square mile town is governed by five elected Selectmen. The town's Executive Assistant manages the town's daily operations. There are three public elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. The public library, first opened in 1867 thanks to Charles Hudson moved into its current Carnegie-funded building in 1905. The town has 17 parks plus 2 recreational complexes.

Interestingly, CityTownInfo.com rates Stow, Ohio as the most similar town in the United States to Hudson, Massachusetts.

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