Local Lore

Images of the City of Hudson, NY‘THE FRIENDLY CITY’

The first chartered city in the United States, Hudson was founded on the river of the same name by whalers and merchants hailing from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Rhode Island, who sought an inland port safe from 18th-century piracy.

These initial Proprietors set forth a rational grid of streets and parks over the uneven terrain previously called Claverack Landing. They began building many handsome houses, banks, department stores and other commercial buildings in what would become a living catalogue of American vernacular styles.

The City grew quickly in its early years, missing by only one vote becoming the New York State capital. In addition to whale oil, Hudson was for many decades a thriving commercial center producing a wide variety of goods including beer, matches, mushrooms and pocketbooks.

Over time (as carefully detailed in Bruce Edward Hall’s Diamond Street) Hudson also became infamous as a town of ill-repute. Gambling and prostitution flourished with a wink and a nod from local regional authorities—until 1951, when Governor Dewey finally broke up the rackets with a massive, headline-grabbing raid.

In the 1980s and ’90s, Hudson steadily developed an international reputation as an antiques mecca, with dozens of locally-owned stores lining Warren, the main street. Over the past decade the city has gradually diversified its commercial base to include restaurants, sporting goods, art galleries, housewares, live music and nightlife, and more.

Hudson is also advantageously situated. With an Amtrak station right in town, and both the Taconic Parkway and the Thruway close by, New York City is just under two hours ride or drive away. In under an hour,

11/21/2010 12:08