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As spring break and other travel opportunities approach, remember the Next Exit History app and the 17 Hudsons Challenge!
The smartphone app works anywhere in the country, so if you are eager for a little history about the place you are visiting, you might find it on the app. No matter where you go, look for a place called Hudson. There are 17 incorporated towns across the country named just "Hudson", and dozens, if not hundreds, more that are not incorporated or have Hudson as part of their name. Take a picture of yourself in front of the sign and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post it and enter you to win a $25 Hudson gift card. Details of the 17 Hudsons Challenge can be found at www.destinationhudson.com.
Now for a bit more of Hudson, Ohio history. Owen Brown brought his family to Hudson from Connecticut in 1805 when his son John was 5 years old. Squire Brown, as Owen was called, was very instrumental in the development of our fledgling town. However, as important as Owen Brown was for Hudson's history, and as involved as most of his family was in the Underground Railroad, it is his son John's name that appears on many of the historic plaques in Hudson. An historic marker announcing Hudson as the boyhood home of the famous abolitionist can be found on the south green, just beyond the southern end of East Main Street.
Squire Brown established the first of several tanneries in Hudson on Brandywine Creek, near what is now Owen Brown Street. In 1818 John and a friend moved out to property on Hines Hill Road where they opened their own tanning operation. They and their workers lived in what is described as a "Bachelor's Hall", with the Widow Lusk to cook and keep house for them. When John married the Widow's daughter, Dianthe, and started a family, a larger house was built, which is still known as Old Tannery Farm. In 1925 there was a movement to have Old Tannery Farm purchased and turned into a national memorial. This never materialized, and the house remains a private home.
John and his family moved to Pennsylvania in 1826, but he returned to Hudson many times. He gave his first anti-slavery speech in 1837, on the steps of the original Congregational Church building in town. The plaque denoting this historic event stands on Church Street at the corner of E. Main, next to Town Hall which was built on the site of the former church.
These and many more historic details can be found on the Hudson Heritage Association's self-guided walking tours which can be found at the Visitor Center & Gift Shop and at www.hudsonheritage.org.