The Hudson Historical Society was formed to preserve the history and heritage of Hudson, Quebec, and area. Situated in Vaudreuil County, Hudson is located on the south shore of the Ottawa River about 60 km west of Montreal. The town stretches about 15 km along this shore, and covers some 2,162 hectares of land back from the river, of which more than half is zoned agricultural.
What is now Hudson was once part of the Seigneurie de Vaudreuil, which was granted to the Marquis Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil in 1702. Early colonists included a number of voyageurs. The fur trade was Hudson’s earliest “industry.”
In the early 19th century, the French-speaking population was augmented by Scottish employees of the Hudson Bay Company and by farmers emigrating from Cumberland, England. Since then the town has attracted both English and French-speaking residents. Currently, about 65% of the 5,008 population (2006 census) are English-speaking. Descendants of many of these pioneer families, both English- and French-speaking, still live in the town.
A remote village in the days of travel by horse and canoe, Hudson was drawn into the orbit of Montreal and the wider world with the inauguration of travel by steamboat and especially (in 1890) by the arrival of the Vaudreuil-Prescott Railway Company (later CPR).
Improved transportation made the village accessible to cottagers and to permanent residents willing to commute to their jobs in Montreal. But the town still maintained its rural character.
While settlement can be traced back to the 18th century, the Town of Hudson assumed its current municipal form only in 1969 with the merger of East Como, Hudson and Hudson Heights.
More complete information about the history of Hudson can be found on the website of the Hudson Historical Society and in the numerous publications of the Society.
In 2009, the Society opened its Museum, which is located in a heritage home at 542 Main Road. The museum contains a collection of artifacts pertaining to the area as well as an Archives.
The Museum houses interesting objects gathered from the different eras in the town’s history, as well as pictorial descriptions of the history of the town in French and in English. Films of people at play in the 1930s (swimming in the lake, boating, cross-country skiing) have proven to be favourite attractions, as well as military mementoes from the 18th century to the wars of today and souvenirs of Hudson’s role in England’s Great Train Robbery. The museum also houses the historical society’s archives.
The Hudson Historical Society meets eight times a year (January to May inclusive, and September to November inclusive) at which time guest speakers and Society members make presentations about the history of the area. “Deeper histories of Hudson” trace the geographic, botanical and environmental dimensions of the town. Meetings take place on the second Monday of the month in the hall of St. James Anglican Church, 642 Main Road at 7:30 p.m.
The Hudson Historical Society is proud to participate in a major cultural event organized by Greenwood, the autumn literary festival Storyfest.
From the Society's earliest days, members engaged in researching the history of the early families and of memorable events (e.g. local Loyalists and Patriotes in the Rebellions of 1837-38.) Much of this research is made available in the publications of the Society.
A full list of the historical society’s publications is available on its website.
The Museum, which is also a Hudson Info-Centre, is open during the summer months from Friday to Sunday inclusive, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A visit to the museum is well complemented by a visit to another museum in Hudson, the Greenwood Centre for Living History.
Access to the historical society archives is available on request.
Annual dues to the Hudson Historical Society are $10 for individuals and $15 for families.
Hudson Historical Society, 541 Main, Hudson Heights, J0P 1J0.