Wednesday, March 9, 2011

History of Urban Planning and Design of Hudson, Ohio

by M.A. Hoque

 Hudson, Ohio, a suburb of Akron and Cleveland is considered as rich-people area, with the median home value of $250,000 way above Ohio's average. This rich-people area with calm and quite environment, full of greenery still reminds, even in today's motorist and busy life, that it was once built as an "altar to God in Wilderness". The city was a part of area named the Connecticut Western Reserve. Today's northeast Ohio was a section of the old frontier of the United States, which was settled by people from Connecticut. Preservation of the old heritage and architecture is the high priority and formalized. All the new developments maintains the standards recommended by the City and the Historical Society to keep the city proud of its old heritage, to give a feelings of pedestrian neighborhood and to keep it economically sustainable as well for the next generations.

The dream of founding an "altar to God in Wilderness" led David Hudson of Goshen, Connecticut and a group of settlers to this township in 1799. The land was purchased from the Connecticut Land Company. In 1802, Mr. Hudson founded a Congregational Church in town and then Western Reserve College, referred to as "the Yale of the West" in 1826. That is the beginning of Hudson, and since then it has been gone through raises and falls like any other city in the world.
Hudson blossomed during the 1840s with intellectual fervor and railroad fever. In the last half of the century a series of hard times - the failure of railroad investments, the 1882 departure of the college to Cleveland, and terrible fire on Main Street in 1892 - sent the town into economic decline.
David Hudson is called the father of Hudson while James W. Ellsworth gave the rebirth of the city in early 1900s. Millionaire landowner and railroad pioneer J. W. Ellsworth revitalized Hudson after a mild depression hit the Western Reserve. Returning to his hometown in 1907, he planned a model community with electric, water, and wastewater plants, paved streets lined with elm trees, and underground utility lines. He also restored the derelict College buildings, reopening them as Western Reserve Academy.

Hudson's development slowed down during the Depression and Hudson remained a small village and rural township until construction of the Ohio Turnpike in the 1950s that made it more accessible. 


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Hudson,Ohio, photo by Wayne Senville

 more posts about the history of urban planning:

The City Beautiful Movement by William H. Wilson


Anglo-American town planning theory since 1945: three significant developments but no paradigm shifts

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