by Judy Stringer
What was left of Hudson Middle School – the 1927 building that originally housed high school students – was not much more than a pile of rubble by mid-July.
But days before demolition of the 190-year-old structed began, contractors collected what the school district and Hudson Heritage Association are referring to as “architectural artifacts” of the building’s façade. Those include two sets of vertical pilasters from each side of the main entrance, the massive horizontal entablature above those pilasters and large urns that stood on top, according to HHA member Kathleen Russell.
HHA paid $51,000 to salvage the artifacts, which were moved to a storage facility, per a June 14 agreement with Hudson City School District. The artifacts will eventually be part of a memorial to the 1927 building, although the two parties have not yet agreed on the design and location of such memorial.
The heritage group had initially pitched using those components in the construction of a memorial gateway arch on the former middle school property, which will be preserved for 99 years as part of a separate agreement between HCSD and the John and Alison Quagliata Family Foundation. The Quagliata’s $710,000 donation thwarted a proposed housing development at the site.
At the May 31 school board meeting, however, school board President David Zuro expressed his opinion that an arch standing as tall as the building’s former front façade would be “a bit imposing.” The board later approved a resolution to move forward with the salvage and storage of key architectural components for a historical structure “to be agreed upon later.”
Russell said HHA now has until Sept. 15 to submit illustrated design concepts to the board.
“Then by Dec. 15, HCSD and HHA will endeavor to agree upon the design and the actual location of the memorial structure,” she said, “and following approval of the design, HHA will have two years to raise the funds for its construction.” ∞