February Newsletter
February 11, 2021
Message from the Board
FUTURE OF THE 1927 BUILDING FACES CRITICAL DECISION POINT

HHA DOES NOT SUPPORT LIBERTY DEVELOPMENT'S PROPOSAL AND SEEKS TO PROTECT THE 1927 SCHOOL BUILDING

In October 2020, the Hudson City School District (HCSD) announced its intention to work with Liberty Development to pursue the feasibility of converting the 1927 Hudson High School Building into condominiums and that open space on the property was being considered for eight carriage houses (at the rear of the site), along with the construction of two single-family homes on the front lawn facing Oviatt Street.

HHA’s board of directors met with a representative of Liberty Development to review the company’s plans for the property. While the HHA board was open to learning about Liberty’s plans and potentially giving tacit support to the project, it became clear that the board had serious reservations to the plan as presented at that time. HHA subsequently identified three conditions as prerequisites for any potential future HHA endorsement of the plan. These included:

  • Maintaining the historic streetscape of Oviatt Street (including the preservation of the old oak trees and lawn leading to the front of the building and the elimination of any plans for new construction of single‐family houses)
  • Preserving the historic exterior of the school building
  • Confirming a commitment to pursuing a preservation easement of the site and building which would permanently protect the building and site for the future.
Liberty Development's plan for the 1927 Middle School Building and surrounding property.
Unfortunately, when Liberty and HCSD presented an update to the community on February 1, its plan was unchanged. The project appears to be moving forward with no consideration for the enormous impact it will have on one of the town’s most significant structures and for the very heart of the town’s Historic District in which it sits.
Since it was founded in 1962, the mission of the Hudson Heritage Association has been to promote local history and advance the critical work of preserving the town’s invaluable architectural assets for the benefit of current and future generations. As such, the HHA cannot in good conscience lend its support to this plan for development and we are asking you to join us in our efforts to prevent one of the town’s most important public buildings from either ill‐ considered commercial development or possible demolition.

We hope HCSD will consider alternative uses for this building and the land on which it sits. This is a building that has long served a valuable role in our community and, following the execution of a plan for thoughtful repurposing, could continue to do so for another century and beyond with the RIGHT plan. It features a level of detail, craftsmanship and materials one rarely sees in newer construction today. And given the many generations to have passed through its doors, the building is engraved in Hudson’s collective consciousness. Now, over 90 years later, the idea of preserving the building, restoring it to its former grandeur and renovating it for the 21st century is an extraordinarily exciting and viable proposition.

The adaptive reuse of the 1927 High School Building goes far beyond the preservation and repurposing of a single historic structure. It is one of Hudson’s last opportunities to retain a significant civic building within the historic center/Village core, one that could bring renewed interest, activity and life to the surrounding neighborhood, community, and Main Street businesses, if it's done right.

While we appreciate that there are many in the community who would like to see increased options for housing in Hudson, the current plan of the Liberty Development Company is neither right for the neighborhood in question nor appropriate for the long‐term needs of the city as a whole. We hope you will join us in communicating this idea to those in charge of deciding the fate of this public facility that was originally built with community funds and has since been maintained with taxpayer support. YOUR VOICE MUST BE HEARD. Please write to the Hudson leaders listed below to voice your opposition to Liberty's plan and to support HHA's position.

Board of Directors
Hudson Heritage Association

ACT NOW, if you agree that the 1927 High School Building deserves a better fate than conversion into condominiums, with carriage houses behind and blocked from view on Oviatt Street by pseudo century houses. JOIN US in expressing your opinion to Superintendent Phil Herman, members of the HCSD Board of Education, Hudson’s City leaders, and members of Hudson City Council can be contacted at:

Hudson School District Administrator
Phillip Herman, Superintendent

HCSD Board of Education members:
David Zuro, President

Steve DiMauro, Vice president

James Field, Member

Alisa Wright, Member

Tom Tobin, Member

Hudson City Manager
Jane Howington

Hudson Mayor
Craig A. Shubert

Hudson Economic Development, Director
Jim Stifler

Hudson City Council members:
Beth Bigham, Ward 4

Hal DeSaussure, At Large

Chris Foster, Ward 2

Kate Schlademan, Ward 1

Skylar Sutton, Ward 3

William Wooldredge, At Large (Council President)
HHA February Program - TONIGHT!!
"Euclid Avenue - Cleveland's Millionaires' Row" with Dan Ruminski, 'The Cleveland Storyteller'
The home of financier Sylvester T. Everett, at Euclid Avenue and East 40th Street,
was one of the largest mansions on Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row.
Mark Twain called it “the grandest, most beautiful street in all the world.” Travel guides of the time called it the “Showplace of America,” compared it to Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées and declared it a must-see for tourists from Europe. Today, the ornate mansions, lavish gardens and unparalleled elegance of Cleveland’s “Millionaires’ Row” are but a memory – at least until Dan “The Cleveland Storyteller” Ruminski brings them back to life with his spellbinding stories.

For its February program, Hudson Heritage Association welcomes Ruminski, who will share the stories of some of the wealthy industrialists - Rockefeller, Mather, Hanna, Stone and others - and their mansions that once lined a four-mile stretch of Euclid Avenue. His presentation, “Euclid Avenue: Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row,” will take place tonight, Thursday, February 11, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the program will be virtual, airing on Hudson Community TV (Channel 1021) and HCTV’s online livestream (www.hudson.oh.us/1081/Watch-HCTV-Channels-Online). For those who miss the broadcast on February 11, the program will be rebroadcast and then made available on HCTV’s online archives.

From his storytelling chair, Ruminski, a retired history teacher, transports his audiences back to Cleveland’s heyday with an engaging style, captivating them with illuminating tales of the people and events that transformed Cleveland into one of the world’s top cities.
The home of John D. Rockefeller, the most famous resident of Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row.
Over the course of more than a decade, Ruminski, who carefully researches all his stories, has presented to more than 50,000 people across the region. 
 
“I want to celebrate individual Clevelanders and the great families who changed this area and the world,” said Ruminski, who lives in Wickliffe. “I want to inspire audiences and light up the hearts and minds of our region’s younger citizens, help our community find its way to a future that honors and learns from achievements of our past. I want to promote the community I loved as a boy and still do.”
 
“Breathing life into history through captivating storytelling – that takes special talent. And Dan Ruminski has it,” said Chris Bach, HHA’s President. “We are thrilled to be able to introduce Dan to the Hudson community and hope that his passion for history, research and storytelling rubs off on all of us.”
 
Dan Ruminski, aka “The Cleveland Storyteller,” can hold an audience in the palm of his hand.
Tune in to Hudson Community TV (Channel 1021) TONIGHT or visit HCTV’s online livestream (www.hudson.oh.us/1081/Watch-HCTV-Channels-Online). For those who miss the broadcast tonight, the program will be rebroadcast on HCTV and then made available on HCTV’s online archives.
Square Dealers Celebrates 40 years
Hudson Heritage Association has published several books in its 59 year history. One from its early years continues to grace the shelves of the Hudson Visitors Center and is experiencing a resurgence of interest. The publication date might be 1980, but its tales of early Main Street businesses are forever embedded in Hudson's storied past.

When Square Dealers authors Pris Graham and Pat Eldredge where co-chairs of the HHA Research Committee they spent countless hours at the Summit County Courthouse looking at deed books and wills, and in front of the microfiche machine at the HHA office looking at tax records. At some point, they decided that documenting the Main Street buildings was a priority. Pat remembers that it was a great deal of fun, as well as work. They thought the culmination of their work would be the HHA program they delivered, but several people in the audience said, "Why don't you write a book?" So they did, with funding from HHA.

Pris, the artist, did the illustrations from contemporary photographs held in the Library. Pat wrote the text. The book was for sale at HHA meetings and at the Learned Owl Bookstore. Recently Pris's daughter Tim donated her mother's original drawings to the WRA archives.
The stories of Hudson's early settlers and merchants and the structures they built never grow old and are best retold over and over, reminding us of Hudson's legacy that began in the early 1800s. We are reminded of Hudson's greatest asset, Main Street, that we are all fortunate to enjoy but must be committed to protect.

Square Dealers is for sale for $4 at Destination Hudson/Visitors Center. Signed copies will be available free of charge for new or renewed HHA memberships at the Historian level or above for the 2021/22 membership year. Click here to join now.
History of Hudson's Main Street
An excerpt from Square Dealers
by Pat Eldredge and Pris Graham
"In 1806, six years after the first settlers arrived in Hudson, Ohio, David Hudson's large clapboard house was completed. It served as home to the Hudson family, of course but beyond that it served as town hall, as church, and as hotel. It could surely be termed a store, as well, since a variety of goods and services changed hands under David Hudson's watchful eye.

At the same time, Herman Oviatt was operating an Indian trading post near the Cleveland Road at the southern end of the township. He was soon to tire of selling spirits to the Indians and would move into town to what in now East Main Street and begin selling general merchandise to his fellow citizens.
But Main Street rose from the ashes of the Fire like a phoenix. And, in the first decade of the 20th century, James W. Ellsworth, the local-boy-turned-millionaire proposed for Hudson and for its Main Street a plan which would make it a Model Town. We are indebted to that plan for the absence of telephone and lighting poles along Main Street, for the rehabilitation of the remaining early 19th century commercial structures, for several surviving red tile roofs, and for a new spirit of hope and determination which began the new century.

Today, Hudson’ Main Street is pictured in magazines, written of in books, and used as an example in seminars and in classrooms. We are forever indebted to the men and women who built Hudson’s commercial center, giving us the Main Street we know today."

Square Dealers was written by Pat Eldredge and Pris Graham and published in 1980. It's a short history of nineteenth century Main Street and the commercial buildings on the public square, Hudson, Ohio. The book is available at Destination Hudson/Visitors Center for $4. Signed copies will be available free of charge for new or renewed HHA memberships at the Historian level or above for the 2021/22 membership year. Click here to join now.
HHA Virtual Programing Survey
Coming Soon!
HHA responded to Covid-19 restrictions regarding group meetings by taking our popular monthly programs virtual. From Case Barlow Farm's "Big Red," to Gorge Dam and the Hudson Railroads, HHA has provided opportunities for our members and the community to learn something new each month about the history of Hudson and its surrounding towns.

When the program year began, no one knew how long we'd be restricted to virtual programming and now, well into 2021 there is no clear end in sight. In order to plan programming for the coming months we have developed a short survey that will help us understand if and how HHA programs are being viewed.

Please look for your e-survey in the coming week. It will take 2-3 minutes to complete and your feedback will be appreciated!
2021 Program Dates

HHA is planning a virtual program year for as long as there are state mandates against in-person gatherings. The safety of our members and friends is our priority! Please plan to join us on our regular program dates/times (second Thursday each month at 7:30) when our programs air on HCTV (channel 1021) and Hudson Community Television's HCTV Channels Online or anytime after as the programs are available on HCTV's online archives.

Tune in to HCTV (channel 1021) at 7:30 p.m. as HHA presents the following:

February 11
Millionaire's Row with Dan Ruminski

March 11
Women of Summit County with Leianne Neff Hepner
Summit County Historical Society

April 8
David's Hudson's Family with Tim Hudson

May 13
HHA Annual Meeting - TBD

Hudson Heritage Association | info@hudsonheritage.org | www.hudsonheritage.org

PO Box 2218 - Hudson, OH 44236