October Newsletter
October 8, 2021
Message from the Co-Presidents
HHA continues to pursue advocacy initiatives by heightening awareness of issues, legislation and proposals that effect the future of Hudson. This month the following initiatives were highlighted:

  • 1927 Building Update – Representatives of the Hudson City School District, Board of Education, Liberty Development, Hudson Heritage Association, DLR Group and a concerned citizen met on October 1, 2021, to continue the dialogue about the proposed plans from Liberty Development. Liberty Development stands firm on its March 2020 plans that seek to demolish three-quarters of the historic 1927 Building, while Hudson Heritage Association has voiced its strong opposition to those plans and has provided three alternative options for consideration. Further discussions will be scheduled at a special Board of Education Work Session in late October or early November, where both Liberty and HHA will share their thoughts and proposals to help inform the Board of all options as they evaluate the best solution to move forward.

  • Downtown Phase II Proposal – Fairmount Properties has announced conceptual plans for development of housing options (98 total units) as part of Downtown Phase II, along with the relocation and expansion of Heinen’s Grocery Store (40,000 SF) at the end of Clinton Street. A scheduled Open House with the City of Hudson and Fairmount Properties last week sought public input on the project. Well over 100 people attended and provided feedback about residential preferences, the conceptual site plan, and ideas for the future use of the building and property that would be vacated by Heinen’s. For additional information on the proposal and timeline, please visit Let’s Talk Hudson, the City’s new online engagement site where the community can provide feedback and ideas on the proposal. 

  • Park Lane Square Project – On September 22, Peninsula Architects, Peg’s Foundation, and the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation had an Informal review of drawings submitted to the Architectural and Historic Board of Review (AHBR) for the redevelopment of the Merino property, located adjacent to the West Village Green. The proposed plan would redevelop approximately one (1) acre of land bounded by Park Lane to the north, W. Streetsboro Street to the south, the West Green to the east and First Street to the west. A September 17 City Staff Memorandum to the AHBR notes that the National Register Historic District boundary intersects the property and divides the proposed Peg’s Foundation building (shown in image below), and recommends that “the rear wing and the main mass be reviewed separately; with the main mass subject to the city’s general design standards and the rear wing subject to any applicable Secretary of Interior Standards or City of Hudson design standards for historic buildings/properties.” The site plan and preliminary drawings can be viewed by clicking here. The next AHBR presentation/meeting is scheduled for October 13, 2021.
  • Short Term Rental Ordinance - Draft revisions to the Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance have been submitted and will be discussed and voted on in upcoming City Council Workshops and Meetings. To review changes to the ordinance, click here. Or visit the City of Hudson’s website to learn more.

Our October program welcomes back Hudson’s venerable archivist and historian Tom Vince on October 14 at Barlow Community Center. Mr. Vince will entertain and enlighten us with surprising stories and anecdotes about Hudson homes and buildings.

A documentary film The Master Craftsman, about Richard Grell and his hand-crafted Windsor chairs, will be presented free to the public on Sunday, October 10 at 2:00 at the Hudson High School Auditorium. Additional information can be found below.

Finally, HHA’s Research Committee headed by Rob Swedenborg has been active. In October, the Isabelle Billiter House 1879 (25 East Streetsboro) and the Rugar/Sveda House 1855 (29 East Streetsboro) will be awarded HHA Historic Markers at the October 14 HHA Program at Barlow Community Center. Both homes were restored by Allan Sveda, a recipient of HHA’s Preservation Award in May 2021.

Be well and stay healthy.

Christopher Bach & Kathy Russell
Hudson Heritage Association
October Program (Thursday, October 14, 2021)
Tom Vince discusses Hudson's Historic Homes and Buildings
Hudson and history are synonymous, and historian Tom Vince tells the town’s stories with precision and charm. On Thursday, October 14, Vince will speak at 7:30 at the Barlow Community Center. All are welcome to attend the free event.

Vince, who has served as the institutional memory for Hudson for decades in many roles, knows the nuts and bolts of Hudson’s buildings, but also knows the stories beyond the structures, related to the settlers and inhabitants of Hudson.

“My involvement with HHA goes back several decades, and I was honored to receive a lifetime award from the Association in 2019,” Vince said. His presentation on October 14 will include wit, wisdom, and a look inside some of the most surprising and fascinating stories of Hudson homes and buildings.

Vince has been the archivist at Western Reserve Academy (WRA) for 26 years and wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. His signature chapeau sits atop a brain that is an intellectual archive of the school and the town. Vince is often the first point of contact for people seeking to connect with the town and its history. For example, Marty Ann Brown - a direct descendant of Owen Brown, who came to Hudson in 1805, and his son John Brown, known as the abolitionist leader who led the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 - visited with Vince to explore the place her ancestors called home. Vince frequently shares treasure troves of knowledge on the town’s structures, like the Loomis Observatory, which sits on the WRA campus and is the oldest observatory in the country still standing on its original foundation.

In addition to his role at WRA, Vince is a frequent contributor to the Hudson Hub-Times and Hudson Community Television (HCTV). He has served previously as the President of the Hudson Heritage Association and the Hudson Rotary. In 2009, the Hudson Chamber of Commerce named Vince Citizen of the Year.
The Master Craftsman
Richard Grell has been hand-crafting Windsor chairs on his Hudson property, using wood from his farm for more than 50 years. His museum-quality chairs are owned by institutions, businesses and individuals across the country, and have been purchased by famous actors, musicians and Fortune-500 CEOs and presidents.

Many of his finest pieces reside in museums and schools across the United States including the Ong Library and Wilson Hall on the Western Reserve Academy campus and the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C. Sixty-five of his pieces were commissioned for the University of New England Alumni Hall in Portland, Maine.   

Richard Grell’s career is now the subject of The Master Craftsman, a documentary presented by Hudson Community Television and produced by local filmmaker and director, Phillip Sieb, along with HCTV producer Philip Leiter, a board member of Hudson Heritage Association, who served as the film’s director of photography. The film focuses on Richard Grell’s unique handcraft techniques emphasizing traditional tools and methods, and what it is that motivates him to undertake this challenging artistic and entrepreneurial endeavor. 

A special Hudson screening of the 32-minute documentary will be shown at Hudson High School auditorium on Sunday, October 10 at 2 p.m. followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and stars of the film. The screening is free and open to the public. Ample parking in the east lot is available and the theater is on the first floor. 
2022 HHA Preservation Awards
Nominations accepted until January 31, 2022
The Hudson Heritage Association Preservation Awards recognize and honor historic structures in Hudson that have been well preserved or restored within the last five (5) years in a manner that maintains the historic integrity of the property. No minimum or maximum number of awards will be given in any year.

We encourage our HHA members to nominate preservation/restoration projects for the 2022 HHA Preservation Awards. To be eligible, properties must be at least 75 years old, and may include private residences, commercial buildings, publicly owned buildings, nonprofit organizations and historic landscapes. You can find the information about application for the Preservation Awards Program by clicking here

Criteria for nominations include: 
  • All nominated properties must be located within the City of Hudson.
  • To be considered, restoration and preservation projects must have been completed on or after September 15, 2017.
  • Properties may be nominated by their owners or by another individual or group. If another individual or group nominates a property, the owner must be notified.
  • Consideration for awards will include appropriateness of the materials used on both the exterior and interior parts of the structure, including landscaping materials, and the historic accuracy of any preservation or restorations made.

Nominate a property before January 31, 2022, and help HHA celebrate preservation in Hudson.
Neighboring Properties Receive HHA Historic Markers 
Two Homes Restored by Allan Sveda to be Honored at October 14th Meeting
Properties located at 25 and 29 East Streetsboro are the latest homes to be added to the list of more than 160 buildings recognized by Hudson Heritage Association for their historical and architectural significance. Both properties are among several in Hudson that have gained new lives after being acquired and restored by local architect and preservationist Allan Sveda.

About 25 East Streetsboro
The home at 25 East Streetsboro, which operates today as the Hudson Guest House, will be known as the Isabelle Billiter House, named for the woman who lived there for 49 years as a widow and where she raised four children. One of those children, daughter Jessie, looked after her mother and eventually inherited the home, where she lived for the rest of her life. Together, the mother and daughter lived in the house for 90 years. The house is believed to have once been a wing of the home located at 19 East Main Street built in 1836 for Dr. Israel Town and known today as the Johnson/Romito Funeral Home. In 1877, a new owner remodeled the house on East Main and removed the wings. One of the wings was purchased and moved to its location on East Streetsboro, where it was eventually bought by Isabelle and converted in 1879 into the house that stands today.

Following Jessie Billiter’s death, the property passed through the hands of several short-term owners. By 2013, it had been abandoned for four years, stripped by vandals, and became a tear down. Allan Sveda purchased the property from the bank and set about saving the structure from demolition. The home won an award for best restoration in 2016 from the Summit County Historical Society and Progress Through Preservation. 

The research report for 25 East Streetsboro can be viewed by clicking here.

About 29 East Streetsboro
Built in 1855 by local investor and developer F. W. Bunnell, the home located at 29 East Streetsboro was soon sold to Albert Rugar, a stone mason, and his wife Charlotte. Mr. Rugar was also a Civil War veteran who became well-known for the panoramic drawings of two Civil War camps in Ohio and later for a famous drawing of the Lincoln funeral train traveling through Columbus. He subsequently became one of the first and most foremost artists known for panoramic views of American cities. These poster-size drawings are often called “bird’s-eye views” and have become an important historical record of cities and towns from that time. Today, they are often displayed as decorative art. The Library of Congress has most of Rugar’s original works.

After the Rugars, the property passed through two more hands before becoming a rental, including serving as the parsonage for the old St. Mary’s Church, now known as the Church on the Green. The house was sold again in 1917 and then again in 1940 to two individuals with connections to Hudson’s railroad. The second of these owners, Concezio Piccolino, his wife and their heirs lived in the home for 63 years.  In 2013, this house was also purchased by Allan Sveda, who restored it before making it his own personal residence. The property has been named the Albert Rugar/Allan Sveda House.

The research report for 29 East Streetsboro can be viewed by clicking here.
About Allan Sveda
A graduate of Kent State University’s School of Architecture, Mr. Sveda began his work restoring Hudson buildings in 1978. After retirement, he continued to buy and restore properties in the community. During his career, he has renovated the Brewster Mansion, the Hannaford Chrysler Plymouth Motors property on West Streetsboro, the Evaporator Works, the Sebastian Miller house on East Main, as well as the first three homes east of the Church on the Green on East Streetsboro Street, and many others.

Mr. Sveda will accept markers for both properties at the Hudson Heritage Association general meeting to be held Thursday, October 14 at the Barlow Community Center.  The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m.

HHA Historic Marker Program
Hudson Heritage Association established its program to award markers to historic properties in the community in 1973. Having a marker indicates the building has been researched to document its history, notable elements of its architecture and details about its ownership and occupants. More information about the requirements for an HHA marker and guidance about conducting the research required can be found at https://hudsonheritage.org/research-history/. Information about the homes that have HHA markers can be found at the “Find a Property” section of the HHA website, where visitors can search by street, property name, age or other categories. Go to  https://hudsonheritage.org/find-a-property/ for more details.
Join Us!

Hudson Heritage Association values our members! 

Annual dues are critical to our mission. They help us cover the general operating expenses that bring monthly programs to the community, they fund the research of historic homes, and they support our ongoing community advocacy. Annual dues are also an affirmation of the trust our members place in us to protect the unique architecture and streetscape of our special town. If you haven’t already renewed or joined, it is not too late.

2021-22 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. A schedule for the upcoming programming year follows:

November 11
Ohio's Great Serpent Mound with Brad Lepper

No meeting

January 13
"Lost Akron" with Mark Price

February 10
"The Women of the Tiffany Studios" with Renee Sentilles

March 10
Ohio and Erie Canal Program

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

May 12
HHA Annual Meeting - TBD

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

PO Box 2218 - Hudson, OH 44236