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Next Exit History - Hudson! for April 19

By Liz Murphy Destination Hudson Published: April 19, 2017 12:03 AM
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The follow-up to the gate house article is not quite ready several key sources out of town. So, instead, referencing the photo, where DOES the sidewalk end in Hudson? Several things pop to my mind. Shel Silverstein's famous book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" (a delightful book of silly poems to read to your children), and also the fact that sidewalks are ending all over downtown right now during another round of construction. But they are also beginning, with two new sidewalks running along the west side of the Village Greens.

And how does this tie into history? This time of upheaval can be used as a fun and educational history lesson for the whole family, and it fits in perfectly with my plea to shop the downtown merchants during the construction. Yes, it's messy, inconvenient and takes extra effort, but Hudson's Main Street has a distinguished history of more than 200 years of doing business, and these businesses need your help.

Imagine how much easier and nicer the shopping is now than it was in the early 1800s even with all the construction. Two centuries ago, women would come to the center of town, perhaps to the meat market, in their long dresses, the bottoms trailing in the dust or mud of the streets because initially there weren't any sidewalks at all. Even when wooden sidewalks were installed, they still had to climb out of buggies onto the dirt street first (remember, Ellsworth paved the streets in the early 1900s).

As you wander down the Main Street sidewalk dodging orange barrels, take note that all the buildings in the northern block (Clinton to Owen Brown) are wood, and most of those between Clinton and Park Lane are brick or stone. The southern block burnt to the ground 125 years ago on April 28, 1892. The fire started in A.W. Lockhart's Saloon (where Kepner's is today) and raced up the block of wooden buildings. A three-story brick block building stood at the corner where Open Door Coffee is today, and although it was destroyed, it stopped the fire from traveling into the next block. There is a pamphlet at the Hudson Visitor Center about the fire if you would like more information.

Be the first person to tell me where the "Sidewalk Ends" sign is by emailing lizmdestinationhudson@gmail.com and you'll win a $25 gift card to the Learned Owl Book Shop.

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