Where in Hudson is this? for May 21

by Liz murphy | Destination hudson Published:

The well pictured in last week's column is on Wellgate Dr., just east of Hayden Parkway off Route 303. The original house on the property was built by a prominent Cleveland family as a summer home, and a brother-in-law built another home on the property. It is possible the well was installed at that time, since into the '70s everyone on this privately owned land had cisterns because there was no city water available. There definitely used to be a bucket attached to the well, but a base was installed in the '70s so visiting grandchildren didn't fall in. According to Themis Clessuras, current owner of the "big house," the original house burnt to the ground during WWII and was rebuilt. She says Bob Pierson bought the property in the early '60s and lived in the house. It was after he put in the road that additional homes started to be built.

Memorial Day is approaching, so a bit of its history might be appropriate. Memorial Day was first observed a year or so after the end of the Civil War when there was a spontaneous decorating of the graves of Union soldiers. As a result, the original name of this holiday was Decoration Day, a day of remembrance in honor of our veterans. Markillie Cemetery, which dates from the early 1850s, became the final resting place for many Hudson Civil War veterans. Some gave their life on the battlefield, including Lt. John Hitchcock, age 22, son of the president of the old Western Reserve College. John died in 1862 at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee, and his impressive obelisk grave marker stands just behind the Markillie chapel.

I didn't find out when Hudson's tradition of its Memorial Day parade began, but in the 1930s members of the American Legion would gather at the Boy Scout Cabin (SW corner of 91 & 303) and march up to the cemetery for a ceremony. Martha Marsh remembers well the first parade when the tradition resumed after the war - in 1947 she was head majorette and proudly led the band up the street. Martha then took over the coordination of the parade from her uncle in the early '70s, and just this year turned it over to her daughter, Cindy Suchan-Rothgery. And if WRA folks wondered what was happening to their beautiful lilac hedge each May back in the '60s, Martha admits that she was part of a group that would strip the bushes of their flowers and bag them up for the Civil Air Patrol who would fly over the cemetery during the memorial service and scatter them on the crowd below.

Unlike July 4th or St. Patrick's Day parades, which are celebrations, our parade is more solemn, and participants have always been asked not to toss items from their cars or floats. Our parade ends with a ceremony honoring our veterans at Markillie Cemetery. This year the parade kicks off on May 26 at 10 a.m. from Milford Drive where everyone lines up, and proceeds east on 303 and then north on 91 (Main Street). For those who are out of town or want to avoid the crowd, Hudson Cable TV will be taping the parade and the memorial ceremony, which will air that evening. Starting tomorrow, and all day Saturday, HCTV will be airing their tapes of all parades since 1997.

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