March Newsletter
March 4, 2022
Message from the Co-President
February has been an active month for HHA as we continue to track ongoing community issues relevant to our mission, promote excellence in historic preservation and provide resources and information to our members.

1927 Building
The Hudson BoE continues its deliberation over the fate of the 1927 Building.  Recommendations regarding its future are expected this month. As the deadline for a decision looms, I am reminded of the following quote:

“There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here or there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody.”

                                        Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Park Lane Square Project
On February 23, the AHBR approved demolition plans for the former Merino Beverage Store (1946) located at 53 First Street and the “Prestige” brick building (1989) located at 17 West Streetsboro Street. The First Street building was moved to its current location in the early 2000s, is now located outside of the Historic District and has been substantially altered. Both buildings are deemed to be without historical or architectural significance, and neither is listed as a contributing building in the Historic District. Demolition of the two buildings is expected to begin this month to allow for the proposed construction of Peg’s Foundation’s headquarters. A request to demolish nonhistorical additions to the Baldwin-Buss House (1825) will be submitted at a later date.
HHA March Program
Hudson Heritage Association will host its next program, open to all members of the community, on Thursday, March 10, 7:30 p.m. at Barlow Community Center. Park Ranger Rebecca Jones Macko, of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, will speak about the Ohio & Erie Canal. We hope to see you there!

New Monthly Feature
In February a new monthly feature titled "HHA - Celebrating 60 Years of Preservation" was introduced to highlight HHA's history and key accomplishments since its founding. This month Pat Eldridge describes HHA's involvement in the formation of Hudson's Architectural Board of Review, now known as the Architectural and Historic Board of Review.

Another new feature, "Hudson's Historic Homes & Buildings," has been added to highlight the history of significant homes and buildings in Hudson. The first article, written by Diccon Ong, provides a wonderful history of the Brewster Store, located at the corner of North Main Street and Aurora, across from the Clock Tower.

We hope you enjoy these new monthly features and would appreciate receiving your feedback at
HHA Website Updates
HHA recently updated the Links & Resources section of our website. The community may now access Hudson’s National Register nomination submittals. They include the downtown business district (1973), Western Reserve Academy (1977) and the Historic District boundary expansion (1989), as well as six homes/properties that are listed individually.  The nominations are an excellent source of Hudson history and provide insight into the architectural and historical significance of our built environment.
National Historic District marker gifted by Hudson Heritage Association and Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) drawing of the Baldwin-Buss House (1825).
Additionally, links are now available to eight buildings in Hudson that are included in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Administered since 1933 through cooperative agreements with the National Park Service, the surveys use measured drawings and photographs to document some of our country’s most historic buildings.
HHA Board Positions
Hudson Heritage Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Diccon Ong as co-president and Alice Sloan as an executive committee member to the HHA Board of Directors. Both individuals bring a passion for historic preservation and history and have demonstrated their ability to advance HHA’s goals and mission during their tenure on the board.

Diccon Ong is a native of Hudson and is a graduate of Western Reserve Academy, Bowdoin College, and the University of Illinois Chicago. He also completed a postgraduate course in acting at the London Drama Studio. He spent over a decade pursuing an acting career in Chicago, where he co-founded the Itinerant Theatre Guild and served as its Managing Director from 1989 to 1998. He eventually shifted gears and earned a master's degree and state teaching certification in history. He has been working at his alma mater, WRA, for the past 24 years, teaching economics and various courses in American history. He currently holds the H. Arthur Bellows, Jr. ’56 Chair. He served as Chair of the WRA History Department from 2010 to 2018. Diccon joined the HHA board in 2018.

Alice Sloan brings extensive experience in historic preservation to the board. She is a Recognized Professional with the Association for Preservation Technology (APT-RP), an Associate member with the American Institute of Architects (Assoc. AIA), and is employed by Perspectus Architecture in Cleveland. She also holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. She can contribute to any phase of a project, but she has expansive knowledge regarding preventive architectural conservation, which she uses to prepare restoration and preservation plans, technical building assessments and historic community design guidelines. Alice joined the board in 2021.

Be well and stay healthy.
Kathy Russell
Hudson Heritage Association
HHA’s March Program: "Stories of the Ohio & Erie Canal" by CVNP Ranger Rebecca Jones Macko
Courtesy of Akron-Summit County Public Library; General Photograph Collection, 
Ohio and Erie Canal, Canal Logs, 1880-1900 ca.
Park Ranger Rebecca Jones Macko speaks with passion and purpose when it comes to her workplace and our regional treasure, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). On Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m., Jones Macko will be the featured speaker for the monthly program of the Hudson Heritage Association (HHA) at Barlow Community Center. 

While Jones Macko is an expert in the CVNP, she also is deeply versed in a wonder that pre-dated it and runs through it, the Ohio & Erie Canal. Built between 1825 and 1832, inspired by the earlier vision of President George Washington, the Canal’s contributions to the making of America are comprehensive. 

Meant to connect New York City, the Hudson River, Lake Erie and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, the Ohio & Erie Canal was instrumental in the maturation of the nation. It afforded westward expansion and new prosperity in Ohio, including the emergence of Cleveland as a port and manufacturing center. While these developments created commerce and wealth in Cleveland, they also led to the degradation of its waterways, punctuated by the Cuyahoga River fire, which put the region on the map for all the wrong reasons.

Jones Macko is passionate about the renewal of Cleveland’s natural resources, grateful that deterioration ultimately led to reclamation.

“The National Park was created out of land that had been used, abused and left in ruin, places where people didn’t see the potential. We cleaned it up by letting nature do what nature does. It is a story of redemption.”

The Ohio & Erie Canal, which Jones Macko describes as one-third of the “braided backbone of the CVNP,” also including the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad and the Cuyahoga River, stayed in use until 1913, functioning in its later years as a recreational channel of sorts, once railroads replaced many of the Canal’s functions. Ohioans began to use the Canal for leisurely boat outings and even early-century pub crawls at watering holes that sprung up on the banks. 

Jones Macko’s talk, “Stories of the Ohio & Erie Canal,” will provide a quick history of the Canal and reveal more recent findings about its history. She will share these new discoveries, exploring what the Canal meant for the average citizen, but also what it meant for those who were not citizens.
Jones Macko has worked for the National Park Service for more than 30 years, with the majority at the CVNP. She also held positions at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Indiana Dunes National Park, and in the Great Smoky Mountains and the Everglades.
HHA - Celebrating 60 Years of Preservation

HHA and the Hudson Architectural Board of Review
By Pat Eldredge
Editor’s note:  Past-president Pat Eldredge wrote this piece in approximately 1992.  We appreciate the opportunity to share it on the occasion of HHA’s 60th anniversary and thank Pat for her many efforts in support of Hudson Heritage Association.

In November 1963, a month before the second annual meeting of the newly formed Hudson Heritage Association, President Ned Fitch wrote to the members, reviewing the activities of the past year. Among the successes noted were the following:
“Hudson Heritage revived the oft talked about idea of an architectural review board to pass on or reject plans for new buildings in the Village and Township. As a result of this agitation, and in particular through the efforts of Jack Harris, who doubles as Heritage Director and Village Councilman, Council has passed an ordinance creating an Architectural Board of Review. They asked Hudson Heritage to suggest names for the new board which was done, and members are now in the process of being selected.”

The ease with which the ordinance was written and passed was due not only to Mr. Harris but to the efforts of an HHA task force, spearheaded by Charles Willits, which gathered information and copies of review board ordinances from across the country. As written, the Hudson ordinance provided for a board of five members charged with maintaining the values of neighboring properties by preventing inappropriate structures or additions and to the town as a whole by preserving its character.
The first architectural board members were Peter McDonald, Katherine Poor, John Eustis, S. T. Mackenzie and Eric Grubb.

In December 1974, the entire downtown area around the green and its contiguous streets were successfully nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District. The Village Council and Planning Commission had been working for some time on a local version of historic district zoning protection for the area. They viewed the Historic District as a zoning “overlay,” with all other zoning remaining in effect but with special restrictions superimposed on the Historic District. This was codified in an ordinance passed in March 1975, which reconstituted the architectural board as a seven-member Architectural and Historic Board of Review (AHBR), with a subcommittee of three members with special responsibility for the Historic District.

When new construction or additions are proposed in the Historic District, the subcommittee and the board must determine that they are “appropriate” — defined, in fact, by its definition of “inappropriate.” An inappropriate change is one which “affects adversely or destroys any significant historic or architectural feature of the structure in question or new construction which would affect adversely or destroy the general historic or architectural significance of the district.”

But what architectural features were truly significant, and what elements were significant in the perceivable but undefined character of the district in the town? Help was on the way. In 1977 Council adopted a study by two of the leading restoration architects in the country — Henry and Lorraine Chambers — as guidelines for the board. These Uniform Architectural Criteria were based on an analysis of every single structure in the Village. A team of volunteers worked under the Chambers team. They included Hudson Heritage members Ann Burnham, Puff McEachern, Pat Eldredge, and Marilyn Reid. They recorded 39 architectural character-defining features for each property, including those related to the building or buildings, to the site around the buildings and to street features in front. In addition, more than 200 old photographs were studied. From these, it was possible to determine Hudson’s visual character in each half century of its history — not only how its buildings looked, but how the town felt. It is an important tool for those of us who want to make sure that Hudson doesn’t lose its specialness as it grows.

Over the years, Architectural Review Board Members have largely been drawn from Hudson Heritage membership.

When the purposes of the Hudson Heritage Association were drawn up 30 years ago, they stated that the organization meant to “urge the preservation of buildings that are fine or interesting examples of architecture” and to “encourage, in new buildings, the same good taste that Hudson’s founders brought with them from Connecticut.” Our role in the instigation of, and our continued support of, the Architectural and Historic Board of Review proves that we meant what we said. 
Hudson's Historic Homes & Buildings

The Brewster Store, 1839
By Diccon Ong
Certainly, no structure in Hudson is more iconic, nor more associated with the town by both residents and visitors alike, than its historic Clock Tower. Located on the Village Green at the corner of Route 91 (Main Street) and Aurora Street, it was a gift to the town, in 1912, from its native son and later benefactor, James W. Ellsworth.  This brick timepiece served, in the era of its construction, as a fitting symbol of industrial America, a nation which in the early 20th century was, like a clock, driven by standardized time and characterized by mechanical precision.  Of course, given such symbolism, it sits somewhat incongruously on the northwestern corner of Hudson’s common green space, itself a legacy of the community’s far more agrarian roots.  Still, despite the inherent irony of its geographical placement, the Clock Tower has become a beloved edifice, almost a trademark for our small city.
While not quite as closely identified with Hudson’s history by most of its current citizens as its looming neighbor just across the street, the Brewster Store, at 5 Aurora Street, should arguably hold just as high a place of honor within our community.  This simple, but nevertheless elegant, commercial property, designed and constructed by local master-builder Leander Starr in 1839, has not only held an important position within the economic life of the community for multiple generations of Hudsonites, but the property stood at the center of a public controversy in the early 1960s that invigorated efforts towards increased architectural preservation in the town and directly led to the formation of the Hudson Heritage Association in 1962.

The Brewster Store is a fine example of a late Federal style brick building, featuring a sandstone foundation, stone pilasters framing the three first story windows and main entrance, and solid stone lintels topping every window. A wood entablature and balustrade accents the flat roofline on the front façade, and simple ornamental wood panels accentuate the second floor windows facing Aurora Street. A gradation in scale from the first to second story of the building contributes to a pleasing sense of overall symmetry and proportion.
The building itself was borne of a business partnership between Zenas Kent of Franklin Mills, Ohio (later renamed Kent in honor of Zenas’s son, Marvin) and Anson A. Brewster of Hudson.  Brewster quite clearly started out as the distinctly junior partner in this commercial endeavor.  Zenas was already a well-established area merchant and possessed the necessary capital to invest in a new venture in the growing town of Hudson.  However, Kent was already fully occupied with a number of other businesses he owned in Ravenna and Franklin Mills.  Brewster, by contrast, was of far more modest means, but he was ambitious and proved himself both ready and willing to invest his own not inconsiderable sweat equity.  Kent must have recognized that, despite Brewster’s relative youth, he had the wherewithal to oversee the day-to-day operations of this new enterprise. After all, just prior to partnering with Kent, Brewster had returned to his father’s farm in Hudson after having spent several years apprenticed to his uncle in the dry goods business in Washington, D.C.
Under Brewster’s stewardship, the Kent and Brewster Dry Goods store prospered and became one of Hudson’s most successful commercial operations.  Eventually, Brewster bought out Kent’s interest in the operation and became sole proprietor of the newly renamed A. A. Brewster Store.  His establishment was a place where Hudson families could procure a wide range of goods: sugar, flour, coffee, tobacco, toiletries, clothing, tools, and hardware.  The level of success enjoyed by Brewster is evidenced by the construction of a number of properties he financed along Aurora Street just to the east of his store.  In 1846 he paid for the construction of a new Episcopalian church.  Next, on a lot situated between the church and his store, he built an elaborate high-style Gothic Revival home for his growing family (Brewster Mansion, 1853).  He also purchased the house (Isham-Beebe, 1834) located just to the east of the Episcopal Church and gave it to his daughter Ellen A. Brewster Beebe as a wedding gift.  This portion of lower Aurora Street became known as Brewster’s Row and represented in many respects the zenith of economic development in the town in the 19th Century.  
Brewster and his wife had ten children, but their only son, John, died at the age of four, and so the business eventually passed to Brewster’s son-in-law, D.D. Beebe.  Beebe ran the business for several years, but Hudson in the last decades of the 1800s was on the decline.  A much-anticipated railroad boom never materialized, leaving numerous bankruptcies from overoptimistic investment in its wake.  Western Reserve College, a not inconsiderable economic engine, was relocated to Cleveland in 1886.  Then a devastating fire destroyed much of Main Street in 1892.  The next year saw the Panic of 1893, the worst financial collapse in the nation’s history up to that point.  The tiny preparatory school that had remained on the old campus after the college had moved up north was forced to close down operations in 1903.  The very next year, the town’s only remaining bank went bust.
Such was the setting for the return to Hudson of James W. Ellsworth in 1907.  Ellsworth had made a considerable fortune in the coal business, but finding the rise of unions and government regulation not to his liking, he had sold off his holdings and had returned to his hometown to retire in comfortable serenity.  He built an impressive private estate (named Evamere after his deceased first wife, Eva) on the grounds of his family’s farm along upper Aurora Street and thereby established an enviable domestic enclave for his two young children and second wife.  However, Ellsworth apparently hadn’t entirely lost his appetite for entrepreneurial enterprise.  Seeing the sorry state of his boyhood home, Ellsworth set about working to reverse Hudson’s economic malaise.  He would, in a remarkably short order, finance a number of infrastructure improvements: paving streets, installing a new sewer system, building a telephone exchange, planting hundreds of tall oaks along the major streets, wiring the town for electricity (insisting that cables either be buried or run along the back of property lines so as to keep them from impairing the fine view of the town’s newly tree-lined streets), and even offering to supply free red roof tiles and white paint to any town resident interested in a little home improvement. He also personally paid for the restoration of a number of deteriorating houses. Eventually, he turned his attention to the reclamation of the vacated college campus, which at the time featured little more than crumbling buildings and overgrown lawns.  This effort would eventually give birth to a revitalized Western Reserve Academy.  And, of course, as mentioned earlier, he paid for the construction of a public clock tower to adorn the town’s principal commercial street.
A central aim of Ellsworth’s overall plan for Hudson was to reinvigorate commercial activity in the town.  Updating the town’s infrastructure was certainly part of this process. However, he was not one to entirely sweep away the old in favor of the new.  While “historic preservation” was not a term with any true currency in the United States in the opening decades of the last century, Ellsworth was clearly in favor of the adaptive reuse of existing structures.  It was with such a notion in mind that Ellsworth purchased the, by then, rather dilapidated Brewster Store in 1908.  After removing the wooden annex on its eastern side, and giving it a thorough interior overhaul, Ellsworth converted it into the new National Bank of Hudson.  The building would continue to house a number of different banks over the next several decades.
By the 1960s, the bank in residence in the old Brewster Store was the First National Bank of Akron.  This was during a period of extraordinary growth for Hudson.  This growth was largely fueled by the construction of the Ohio Turnpike in the 1950s.  In 1950, the population of the village was 1,538.  An additional 1,339 people lived in the surrounding township.  By 1980, those figures had increased to 4,615 and 8,030 respectively.  However, in the first decade of this expansion, the town’s leaders had yet to develop much of strategy for how best to manage this growth. Older housing stock and commercial buildings were both at risk of demolition.  To fully understand such a risk one needs only look at the communities surrounding Hudson today, many of which let economic interests alone guide their development.  Most traces of their 19th-century origins and charm has thus been lost to time, much to their detriment.
In 1962, the First National Bank of Akron’s management announced plans to convert their Hudson property into a modern drive-through facility, likely sacrificing the original structure in the process.  A group of concerned citizens quickly coalesced around an effort to save the venerable Brewster Store from the wrecking ball.  Ultimately, they prevailed.  In the process, they formed the Hudson Heritage Association (HHA), now celebrating its 60th anniversary.  The HHA has gone on to become an important advocacy group promoting the benefits of preserving and protecting the many nineteenth and early twentieth century homes and commercial buildings of Hudson’s historic district that, while privately owned, nevertheless collectively represent invaluable community capital.  The HHA’s Historical Marker Program has served to identify and catalog close to 170 of Hudson’s oldest buildings and record the history of the individuals who have lived and worked in them.

The Brewster Store recently changed hands and anyone walking or driving by it today can see the telltale signs that it is currently undergoing a major historic renovation. This welcome capital investment, guided by a vision which clearly sees the possibilities of harmoniously bringing our oldest and most venerated structures up to the technological standards demanded by 21st century occupants without a sacrifice to their original aesthetics, lends hope that this property, as well as the civic organization that once worked so hard to preserve it for future generations, will both last for at least another 60 years. Ellsworth’s clock will, no doubt, look on and faithfully mark the passage of this time.
2022 Program Dates

Plan to join us for our popular monthly programs. Unless otherwise noted, these meetings are open to the general public and are held in the Assembly Room of Barlow Community Center at 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments are provided. Mark your calendars for the following dates:

April 14
"Tale of Two Cities" presented by Nicholas Kent and his students from WRA

May 12
HHA Annual Meeting Program TBD

Hudson Heritage Association | |

PO Box 2218 - Hudson, OH 44236