Hudson, Mich., is my mailing address only because its post office is closest to Posey Lake. Often people ask, where is Hudson, what s there, and is there any reason to go there?
Until Tuesday morning the pat answers to those questions were: the city with 2,500 population is in Lenawee County, 18 miles west of Adrian; it has a post office, a grocery store with a 10 percent senior discount on Wednesday, and a McDonald s and a Subway. Tuesday morning I was forced to take a second look at Hudson because of a two-hour wait while Gladys, the never-say-die car, was in the emergency room, also known as the repair shop.
Like many small towns in Michigan, and probably in other states too, Hudson has a lively history that townspeople like to talk about, or should I say brag about. As an example, Dick Geetings who operates a service shop his father started in 1961 with his brother, Pat, recalls about three grocery stores and a meat market downtown, 10 gas stations, a theater where the bowling alley is now, and that people from far and near came to town Friday nights to meet in front of the A&P store for its drawings.
They say if you want to know anything about the history of Hudson you should talk to Hazel Monahan. Ms. Monahan is the curator of the Hudson Museum, located in the old Thompson bank building that is visited by about 500 people each year. Luckily, Ms. Monahan was doing research in the Hudson Library when I stopped in as much to get cool in the air-conditioning as to check the local history books.
A retired nurse with a penchant for history and genealogy, Ms. Monahan knows the city and its residents inside and out. She writes a recollection column for the Hudson Post-Gazette. It and the Bi- County Herald are published weekly in Hudson.
Hudson history is a reminder of how important the railroad was to early settlements. Before the railroad arrived in what is now Hudson, the village of Keene was at the corner of what is now U.S. 127 and Beecher Road. When the railroad was built two miles north of Keene, that was the end of Keene and the beginning of a thriving Hudson. First named Lanesville, Hudson was renamed for Daniel Hudson, a New Yorker, who owned property but never there.
Bean Creek that runs through the city was a vital waterway to the early settlers and industries, including flour mills and the Pet Milk Co. Today it is a catchy name for the local carpet, florist, and nursery businesses. If you look closely during the rainy season there s enough water in the creek to go fishing.
Plans for the city that has had more empty storefronts than occupants make us hopeful that Hudson can once again rely on the present and not depend on the past for recognition.
Thanks to the late William Thompson, one of Hudson s most generous benefactors, there s a cultural side to Hudson s future. The late Mr. Thompson s mansion and his collection of artifacts from around the world will be opened as a museum, according to his wishes. When the museum opens, I ll let you know so that you can see it and the rest of Hudson.