Hudson Wisconsin History, 1857-1957

In the heart of the American Midwest, nestled along the scenic banks of the Willow River and the St. Croix, lies Hudson, Wisconsin—a city with a storied past and a vibrant present. The “Hudson Centennial Souvenir Program, 1857-1957,” published by the Hudson Wisconsin Centennial Committee was written to showcase the city’s rich history. This program commemorates the 100th anniversary of Hudson’s charter as a city, celebrating a journey that began in the early 19th century.

The origins of Hudson trace back to the summer of 1840 when Louis Massey, a French Canadian, and Peter Bouchea, a French Indian fur trader, discovered the area’s abundant resources and decided to make it their home. These pioneers were the first in a wave of settlers who recognized the potential of the land along the Willow River and the St. Croix. By 1848, as Wisconsin was welcomed into the Union, Hudson (originally known as Willow River, then Buena Vista) was poised for growth, drawing in loggers, farmers, and eventually, a diverse population seeking prosperity and community.

The name “Hudson” was adopted in 1852, inspired by the resemblance of the local scenery to the Hudson River area. This period marked the beginning of significant development and progress, with the town experiencing a surge in economic activity and population growth. Hudson’s strategic location made it a vital grain market and a bustling hub for commerce and transportation, connecting the community to far-reaching destinations through river and rail.

Despite ambitious dreams of becoming a metropolis to rival St. Paul, Hudson evolved differently but no less remarkably. It grew into a beautiful city, known for its fine homes, influential citizens, and diverse industries, including the significant presence of the Omaha Railway car shops from 1872 to 1957. While the car shops and mills of yesteryears have since disappeared, Hudson has not ceased to develop and expand. The city and its neighbor, North Hudson, now boast a combined population of nearly 5000, reflecting a community that is both growing and adapting to the times.

The “Hudson Centennial Souvenir Program, 1857-1957” is not just a recounting of historical facts; it is a celebration of Hudson’s journey from its humble beginnings to its present status as a thriving community. With a collection of pictures and explanatory notes, this centennial souvenir program invites readers to explore Hudson’s past, understand its recent past, and anticipate its future. It is a tribute to the enduring spirit of a city that, while it may not have become the metropolis once envisioned, has achieved a unique and cherished identity all its own.


Hudson Wisconsin Centennial Committee, Hudson centennial souvenir program, 1857-1957, Hudson, Wisconsin : Centennial Committee, 1957.



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