This summer dozens of locals have played history buff for the day thanks to the Hudson Library & Historical Society’s walking tour series led by Library Archivist Gwen Mayer. One of the tours, the Scandals of Hudson, features mischievous tales of the most – you guessed it – scandalous in nature (well, depending who you ask – some are actually relatively tame in today’s times). The first stop on this pleasant promenade rocks the reputation of the quaint community almost immediately as Gwen explains the building behind the iconic clock tower has a long record of housing banks, one of which once played host to an embezzlement scheme that took residents quite a while to recover from when it was discovered. More secrets surround this section of the settlement known as Brewster’s Row, named after the original store’s well-to-do owner and builder of several of the structures along that piece of land. What did Mr. Brewster do that made him think the Hudson Green was his very own front yard? And why did he continually expand his empire right on down the street adding one formation after another? Catching clandestine clues such as these is only part of the fun to be had during this intriguing event.
Depending on the topic of the tour, the historical hike around Hudson is approximately a mile and a half so patrons will want to wear comfortable walking shoes. Our outing was just over an hour and a half of scenic storytelling and there were plenty of chances to sit for a spell or two during the easy-going afternoon.
A resident of Garrettsville who has been digging up Hudson history as part of the Library for nearly twenty years, Gwen is engaging, informative and informal, encouraging participants to ask questions and chime in, adding to the anecdotal atmosphere. Bits of true crime gleaned from the library archives chronicle tales about other long-ago (and not so long ago) inhabitants including another wealthy man, James Ellsworth, who became the town’s most well-loved benefactor and several ways he influenced the growth of the area, not only in architecture but in attitude as well.
How a polar explorer once on a US postage stamp is connected to a speakeasy when Hudson was a dry community even before Prohibition? What happened to make the town’s clock tower mouse one of the quite recent scandalous “tails”? You’ll just have to sign up for these mini expeditions to find out!
The tours are: Disasters of Hudson (August 2nd at 2pm), Architectural History (August 4th or October 7th at 6:45pm), Kit Homes (August 11th at 6:45pm), Scandals of Hudson (September 2nd at 6:45pm), Underground Railroad (September 25th at 6:45pm) and, just in time for the fright season that is Halloween, Spooky Hudson (October 28th at 6:45pm).
Registration in advance is required as tours are limited to about 25 participants. To secure your spot, stop by the library, call (330) 653-6658, or visit the website at www.hudsonlibrary.org and click the register link on the event of your choice. (A waitlist option is available in case a selected tour is already full.)