Hudson

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Hudson is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. It is located along the Massachusetts state line. It is the ninth-largest municipality (town or city) in the state, by population. The primary settlement in town is defined as the Hudson census-designated place (CDP) and is located at the junctions of New Hampshire routes 102, 111 and 3A, directly across the Merrimack River from the city of Nashua.

The town of Hudson had two historic centers, though modern development and suburban sprawl have obscured the difference. Hudson Village, roughly equivalent to the Hudson census-designated place, is located on the Merrimack River near the junctions of Routes 3A, 111, and 102, and is home to most of the original schools, libraries, and town government. The Town Hall, the Hills Memorial Library, and the Kimball Webster School (which today houses the superintendent’s office) are all located in Hudson Village. The Town Common at the intersection of Derry, Ferry, and Library streets is a park that displays large toy soldiers and other decorations at Christmas time.

Hudson Center, historically Hudson’s other town center, is located at the 5-way intersection of Central Street (Route 111), Greeley Street, Kimball Hill Road, and Windham Road. The two most important landmarks of Hudson Center have been lost to history. Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, a zoo and amusement park, was closed in the late 1980s due to mounting financial losses. At one time there was a railway that passed through the Center, taking passengers all the way from the Boston area to Benson’s. A rail depot stand remained on nearby Greeley Street through the 1970s. The acreage of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm was purchased by the town and is now a park for passive recreation. The other landmark, Thompson’s Market, closed in 2002 when Mr. Thompson decided to sell his store and retire to Florida. The structure still remains, but it was remodeled and reopened as a 7-Eleven convenience store. The original Thompson’s Market is also nearby, a small building on Kimball Hill Road now home to a popular sandwich shop. Greeley Field, a popular park located in Hudson Center, contains a playground, Little League baseball diamond, and basketball courts, where pick-up games still occur frequently. A Revolutionary War-era cemetery and an old school house (now housing) on Kimball Hill Road are located nearby.

Hudson serves primarily as a bedroom community for the Greater Boston metropolitan area of which it is a part. In 2006, for example, there were an estimated 10,945 jobs in the public and private sector in Hudson, while the town’s population was 24,729, with a civilian labor force of 14,818. The town’s three largest employers are Benchmark Electronics, BAE Systems, and the Hudson School District. Presstek is also headquartered in Hudson.

Two small recreational lakes exist within the town borders. Robinson (or Robinson’s) Pond in the northern part of the town features a public access beach and boat ramp that can be accessed via Robinson Road. Otternic Pond (locally called “Tonic Pond”), located between Hudson Center and Hudson Village, has a public boat landing (Claveau Landing) that can be accessed off Highland Street. Both ponds are often used for fishing during the summer and skating and ice hockey during the winter. Musquash Pond (or Swamp), located in the southern part of the town, is a wild bird sanctuary and is utilized as a breeding ground by several threatened and endangered species of birds. In the early 1900s hunters would travel by horse from as far as Derry to camp and stalk game in the renowned swamp.

Benson’s Wild Animal Farm reopened in May 2010 as Benson Park, a town park for recreational use. There is no admission fee. Work is being done to rehabilitate the park’s trails and remaining buildings, including the removal of invasive plant species, and to establish a regular police presence. The Old Lady in the Shoe, the elephant house, gorilla house and other structures are being repaired after decay and vandalism. An official grand opening and re-dedication was held September 2010.

Hills Memorial Library, located in Hudson Village, is one of the oldest public lending libraries in the state, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two public golf courses exist in Hudson, the Whip-Poor-Will Golf Club off Route 102 and the Green Meadow Golf Club on Steele Road (off Route 3A/Lowell Road). A 1/4-mile paved racetrack, the Hudson Speedway, lies near the northern edge of town by the intersection of Old Derry Road and Robinson Road. It can be accessed off Route 102.

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