In the early 1600s, a group of second-generation settlers, an offshoot of the Sudbury settlement, was granted land parcels in what is now Hudson. Here they coexisted with the native population until the outbreak of King Philip’s War. By 1675 the area was fully settled.
Known as Feltonville until its incorporation in 1866, Hudson’s proximity to the Assabet River supported a vibrant shoe industry, which attracted immigrants from Ireland and Canada. It was named for Charles Hudson, who donated $500 to the building of the town library.
An 1894 fire destroyed much of the downtown area, which was later rebuilt. It offers many fine examples of Colonial, Federal, Romanesque Revival and Victorian architecture, and is protected by the Silas Felton District Commission.
Hudson’s strong abolitionist movement is represented by several local homes that served as stations in the Underground Railroad.