April Newsletter

April 5, 2024

Message from the Co-Presidents

Springtime has finally arrived—at least officially (as the vernal equinox occurred at 11:06pm EDT on Tuesday, March 19th)—although fairer weather in Hudson continues to be stubbornly unreliable on a day-to-day basis. Still, we trust that most of you, like us, are thoroughly enjoying the longer sunlit hours each day and the increased opportunities they afford, no matter the temperature, to migrate outdoors and enjoy one’s surroundings. Certainly, our small fair city is in no short supply of pleasant pathways and places to explore. Those who do so will, no doubt, be visually reminded of the many blessings we enjoy due to the foresight of our predecessors who worked to maintain Hudson’s many historic structures and tree-lined streetscapes. Hudson Heritage Association continues this valuable legacy and counts upon our members’ ongoing support in our efforts to promote the importance of thoughtful historic preservation as our city continues, inevitably, to grow.

Our thanks go out to everyone in attendance at our March program featuring noted local historian and storyteller Tom Vince, who shared the research he has conducted thus far on the largely untold story of “saloons in Hudson” and their impact on the community and its residents during the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Mr. Vince’s “star power” helped bring out one of our largest audiences in the past few years, and in addition to the benefits of his intoxicating scholarship, attendees were rewarded afterwards with an unusually fine selection of home-baked treats from HHA board member Patty Campbell. (As yet another example of the phenomenon that no good deed goes unpunished, Patty made the rookie mistake of revealing her talents, thus almost guaranteeing that she will be called upon for her culinary expertise more frequently in the future!)

For our April program, HHA is eager to welcome another group of students from Western Reserve Academy currently enrolled in an elective on local history entitled “History of Hudson and Western Reserve College/Academy.” A year ago, students from this same course gave a presentation on “The Slavery Controversy of 1831-33 at Western Reserve College: Idyllic Academia vs. Social Activism.” They recounted the tumultuous events from the first decade of the college that caused quite an uproar in the town of Hudson and even threatened the viability of its nascent institution of higher learning. This year, five WRA students will share their research on Hudson’s Great Fire of 1892. A quick scan of North Main Street today reveals a curious dichotomy between the architecture of the buildings lying between Park Lane and Clinton and those located further north, between Clinton and Owen Brown. Have you ever wondered why? Our young guests are prepared to offer an explanation. The program will be held at the Barlow Community Center on Thursday, April 11th starting at 7:30 p.m. More details can be found below.

This April newsletter also sees a continuation of our Properties with Pedigree series, this time featuring a short article on Western Reserve Academy’s Morley Cottage at 73 Hudson Street. As you will discover below, not only is this quaint Greek Revival house one of Hudson’s oldest domestic structures (1835), but it has served as a family home to several influential educators. This article was submitted to us by current WRA senior Rojauhn Pakdel, the second he has authored for HHA.

We are saddened to announce that long-time Hudson resident Molly Izant White passed away in Falmouth, Maine on March 12. Please see Tom Vince's tribute, "Remembering Molly Izant White," below. If you’d like to gain a better understanding of the Hudson of Molly’s youth, you can link here to Molly’s HHA presentation of January 2007, entitled “Growing Up in Hudson in the 1930s.”

Finally, we ask that all HHA members please mark their calendars for our Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 9th at 7pm. More details about this event will be featured in our May newsletter. Stay tuned! In the meantime, stand up from your computer, put on a light jacket, get outside, and enjoy all that your own Hudson neighborhood has to offer (after you finish reading the rest of this newsletter, that is).

Diccon Ong & Nora Jacobs Snider


Hudson Heritage Association

April Program - Hudson's Great Fire of 1892

Hudson Heritage Association is honored to be hosting a group of students from Western Reserve Academy for our April monthly meeting to be held at the Barlow Community Center on Thursday, April 13th at 7:30 p.m.

These students are currently enrolled in a course called History of Hudson & Western Reserve College/Academy taught by HHA Co-President, Diccon Ong, a faculty member in the Social Science Department at WRA. In addition to learning about the history of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the founding and settlement of Hudson, and the establishment and subsequent development of Western Reserve College (and its preparatory school, later to become known as WRA), students have had the opportunity to research historically significant topics of their own choosing.

In a presentation entitled, “Hudson’s Great Fire of 1892: Would a Phoenix Arise from the Ashes of a Small Midwestern Town?,” these Reserve students will describe the conflagration that shocked the residents of Hudson on a windy, early morning in 1892.

Despite the pre-dawn hours in which this disaster struck, many residents roused themselves out of bed and rushed to Main Street to offer whatever aid they could. Some put their brawn to pumping water for the overwhelmed volunteer fire department, others assisted by carrying threatened goods and other valuables to places of safety, and several brave souls helped their neighbors escape from the buildings burning down around them. The response represented a true community-wide effort and a selfless commitment to the needs of their neighbors and the future of Hudson more broadly speaking.

With the main portion of Main Street reduced to a smoldering rubble, residents almost immediately began the hard work of rebuilding a more flame-retardant and robust commercial district, thereby creating the idyllic Main Street that still exists today, one that has served subsequent generations most ably and is a central feature of our current civic pride. This presentation will highlight the perseverance of Hudson and its residents and trace the Great Fire’s legacy into the modern day, making the topic relevant to every resident of the town–past, present, and future.

The April 13 meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Barlow Community Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Properties with Pedigrees - Morley Cottage, Western Reserve Academy

Morley Cottage, located at 73 Hudson Street, is a historically significant house currently utilized as a faculty residence on the campus of Western Reserve Academy. Ansel R. Clark, the esteemed editor of the frontier newspaper, Ohio Observer, originally built this two-story structure in 1835. The cottage's architectural charm is defined by a central two-floor simplified Greek Revival structure surrounded by two symmetrical single-floor wings. The original two-panel entry door is now located in the west wing. The six front windows are 6-over-6 and 6-over-9, with panels under the window casings. In 1960, the cottage was renovated to reinforce its substructure and replace its siding, ensuring its continued preservation. Just a couple of years ago, the interior of the home was further renovated to provide a somewhat more open floor plan, with a screened-in porch added to the north of the west wing.

Throughout its history, Morley Cottage has been home to several notable occupants. These included Elias Loomis, the famed astronomer who served as a Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Western Reserve College from 1836 to 1844, and William Pettingill, who was the Treasurer of the college between 1863 and 1869. Decades later, Roscoe John Theibert, known affectionately by students and colleagues alike as “Teddy,” and who served as the WRA football coach for many years, resided there. From the 1970s to the 1990s the house was the home of beloved faculty members Chris and John Brueker and their children. Chris taught biology and John taught Latin at WRA.

However, without any doubt the most famous resident of Morley Cottage was its namesake, Edward W. Morley (1838-1923), a pioneering scientist and chemistry professor at the college from 1868 until his retirement in 1906. Professor Morley and his wife, Imbella, resided there between 1869 and 1882, the year in which the college abandoned its campus in Hudson and relocated to Cleveland. Morley gained national fame for his groundbreaking work in both chemistry and physics. He first garnered attention as the first person to calculate with precision the atomic weight of oxygen. However, he is most celebrated for his pioneering collaborations with Albert A. Michelson, which ultimately led to the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887, a pivotal investigation meant to establish the existence of a “cosmic ether” (which, as this experiment demonstrated, doesn’t exist) that Albert Einstein later credited as inspiration for his groundbreaking theory of relativity. An additional bit of trivia is associated with this property. One of the first telegraph lines ever installed in Hudson ran from Professor Morley’s laboratory in the Athenaeum (located just to the north of his home) to the railroad depot. This was apparently done in order to facilitate Morley’s ordering of scientific supplies. There was also a line, however, that ran from his lab to Morley Cottage. It is reputed that the professor would regularly telegraph his wife when lunch was approaching so as to remind her to put water on to boil for the potatoes! 

Rojauhn Pakdel

WRA Class of 2024

Morley Cottage, left and Professor Edward W. Morley, right

"Remembering Molly Izant White," by Tom Vince

Lifetime Hudson resident Mary (Molly) Izant White passed away March 12 in Falmouth, Maine where she had moved a few years ago to be near her daughter, Ruthie. She was 95 and had lived life abundantly.

In 1962, Molly & Gene White, Bob & Velia Pryce, William “Bucky" & Nancy Harris, Bob & Joan Maher, Brad & Anne Burnham, and William Moos decided that the time was right for founding the Hudson Montessori School which had a modest start in rented quarters on Maple Drive. It has since become a premier learning environment in Hudson with large and expanding quarters on Darrow Road at Middleton. For the life of this school, "Miss Molly" has always been an important link to the founders. She was active in knowing the students and participating as much as she could in the life of that school. No stranger to private education, Molly had attended the Hudson School in the 1930's that her mother, Ohio writer Grace Goulder Izant, had founded in the house next to the old Library at 30 Aurora Street and where the teacher lived upstairs. Both of her brothers were graduates of Western Reserve Academy, and Molly herself went to the Laurel School in Shaker Heights for her high school years. Like her mother, she went to Vassar College and upon finishing her degree, went to live in New York City where she met widower Eugene White and married him in 1952.

Molly's father, banker Robert J. Izant, offered a parcel of land next door to the Izant homestead "Great Elm" on the north end of College Street, and the young couple built a contemporary house where Molly and Gene were able to raise their five children. Molly was a fine musician and offered piano lessons in her home; so many Hudson students have fond memories of lessons in Molly's home. Always kind to animals, Molly had pets in her house and goats in the yard behind it. The story of how Molly began her long love of goats is told in the little book she published in 2006 called "Molly's Memories" which covers the time she was growing up at "Great Elm" until 1942. This was the background for the program she gave at Hudson Heritage Association in January, 2007, called "Hudson in the 1930’s" https://app.hudsoncommunity.tv/373477897.

Members of Hudson Heritage Association will probably know that Molly's mother, Grace Goulder Izant (1893-1984), the author of several books about Ohio including Hudson's Heritage (1985), was one of the charter founders of the HHA in 1962 and was often a guest speaker. Like her mother, Molly was a very strong individual who raised her children to be achievers who cared for the larger community. Molly was one of those women whose imprint on this community will long be felt, and all of us in HHA who knew her, are sorry about losing this wonderful link to an earlier Hudson, but whose educational vision will be part of her lasting legacy.

Apply for Seats on Hudson's Architectural and Historic Board of Review

Do you have an interest in helping to maintain the integrity of Hudson's historic streetscape? The City of Hudson has two upcoming vacancies for the Architectural & Historic Board of Review. The Architectural & Historic Board of Review (AHBR) reviews and approves/disapproves applications for zoning certificates other than for industrial buildings in industrial zones. This is for a full four-year term serving through June 20, 2028. The Architectural & Historic Board of Review meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. City Council is accepting applications through Friday, April 19, 2024. Click here to learn more about the AHBR and how to apply.

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

PO Box 2218 - Hudson, OH 44236 
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