graphicAs was the pattern with all the towns in the Western Reserve area of northeast Ohio, Hudson was first settled by pioneers from Connecticut. The oldest town in Summit County, Hudson was founded in 1799 by David Hudson of Goshen, CT, who served as the town’s first postmaster, Justice of the Peace, innkeeper, real estate agent and entrepreneur. Hudson’s energetic leadership attracted other pioneers to his 25-square mile township, and in 1802 he helped establish the First Congregational Church, the town’s oldest place of worship. In 1826, David Hudson founded Western Reserve College, the first College in northeast Ohio.

graphicAlthough agriculture - especially dairy farming - was a prominent feature of Hudson life well into the 20th century, the town became an early center for commerce and education. In 1850 Hudson was the first town in Summit County to have rail service (the Cleveland and Pittsburgh line), which underscored its commercial importance. When the college moved to Cleveland in 1882, it left its preparatory school, Western Reserve Academy, which today is ranked among the nation’s finest private schools.

Hudson fell into decline in the late 1890s, but was revived in 1907 when native son and multi-millionaire James W. Ellsworth returned to the town. Ellsworth decided to renovate the town’s commercial center, reopen Western Reserve Academy, build and donate public utilities to the community, and turn Hudson into a "model town." The preservation of historic buildings became one of Ellsworth’s favorite projects, and along with his other far-sighted improvements, is an important characteristic of the city today.

graphicIn 1950, Hudson’s population was barely 2,500, an increase of only 1,000 people since 1890. The arrival of industry -notably Morse Instrument in 1941 and General Motors in 1957 - helped make the community an attractive place to live and work. The first suburban-style neighborhoods were developed in the late 1950s, and by the end of the ‘60s, Hudson’s growth began to surge. The old village and township forms of government remained in place until 1994, when residents voted for a merger that resulted in the City of Hudson. David Hudson’s original 25-square mile township is now home to 23,000 residents.

 

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