On December 9th, the Hudson Lodging Association is hosting a Hudson Holiday House Tour featuring 5 historic houses, all within walking distance of Warren Street and each other. Sojourners can buy tickets, carry their “passport” to gain entry to the participating homes, then get a brief tour by a host or docent. Advance tickets are $20.00 each, available at www.HudsonHolidayHouseTour.com.

Hudson is well known as an architectural jewel box, with hundreds of properties either listed or eligible to be listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. And in those historic homes included on the tour, ticket holders will certainly enjoy a close up view of some of the architectural details that make this city so distinctive. What will be less obvious, but just as fascinating, is the history that surrounded these buildings in their early days.

The earliest home included shows up on a deed dated 1709. At that time, other than the river, Hudson didn’t exist. Instead, river traffic identified this part of the world as Claverack Landing. Claverack means “field of white clover” – a reference to lands at the east end of present day Hudson that were purchased from native Mohicans by the Dutch. Early visitors to this house would surely have come from the river and, other than a dirt track heading east towards the Claverack we know today, the landscape would have been mostly wooded. In fact, at that time, Front Street would have been the outskirts of town.

By 1792, when another house on the tour was built, Hudson was the 24th largest city in the U.S. River traffic had become a major source of commerce and the main street in town, Warren Street, was also a significant East/West route for pioneers eager to head to the territories west – with a ferry moving them to Athens and beyond. Hudson was chartered as a city in 1785 and, surprisingly, lost the vote to become capital of New York State by only one vote in 1797.

In the aftermath of each of these events, inhabitants went on about their business – doing the day-to-day tasks that benefitted their families and the community. This innate drive to make things better is why Hudson exists today. And why the Hudson Holiday House Tour is such an important way to celebrate these early residents.

Other participating properties will be featured in future articles. For more information about the December 9th House Tour, and to purchase tickets, go to www.HudsonHolidayHouseTour.com. It is a benefit for the Hudson Children’s Book Festival.