The boulder that announces "Welcome to New Reserve" is one of two large rocks at the start of the path that begins directly across from Hayden Hall (corner of College & Aurora Sts) and leads up past the observatory and the John D. Ong Library. I now know that the reason I never noticed them is because without the snow filling the letters you can't really see the writing at all. The other boulder reads "Class of 1902." They were both class gifts, and this walkway used to be considered the main entrance to the campus.
Tis the season! Did you ever consider how much smaller the trees on the green were in the late 40s? That is when Mary Lou Morse, several other members of the Hudson League for Service and their husbands decided that lights on the trees would be wonderful. They bought the lights and went out with a stepladder to put them up themselves! When the trees got too tall, they asked Hudson's Board of Public Affairs if they could borrow a truck. The men in that department went one step further, and not only supplied a truck, but volunteered their time to put the lights up. Today, the Green's tallest tree is at least 80 feet tall, taller than this year's Rockefeller Center tree. Hudson's bucket truck goes up 75' and the men have to bend the top of the tree down to get the star on top. Try standing underneath the tallest tree and look up - or out at Hudson through the lights… it's magical!
Originally there were lights only on the trees on the Green - the lights on the Clocktower and lampposts and the Christmas Mouse came later. In 1965 the Hudson Community Service Association was responsible for Christmas decorations on the Village square. Long-time resident and member Jeannette Wicks thought there should be a mouse, and although she volunteered to create him, she always felt that there was something magical about the mouse. While I can share some of the history, some things will always remain a mystery. It all started with a large plastic bag filled with rock wool insulation and covered with burlap bags. A similarly designed head was attached to the body and a nose was fashioned from the toe of a man's rubber overshoe. The glittering eyes were made from pieces of plastic, but it was once the pipe cleaner whiskers were attached that Mouse took on a life of his own. The final touches included a coat of grey auto paint for the appropriate color and texture, and holiday ribbons attached to his neck and long tail. It wasn't until the energy crisis in the mid-70s that Mouse started wearing a coat or sweater to keep warm. Unfortunately this turned Mouse into a bit of a fashionista - to this day he occasionally insists on a new outer garment.
Every year Mouse spends a little spa time recovering from the winter before going into The Mouse House for the off-season. The staff of Hudson Public Power takes their responsibility for Mouse very seriously, and have provided emergency care several times when he was shot with an arrow. When original Mouse retired, his son and now his grandson act in his stead. Three generations of Hudson families have enjoyed Mouse, and hopefully this wonderful and unique tradition will continue for many years!