Hudson features unique and historic homes
For more than 150 years one of Hudson's most unique homes, the Octagon House at 1004 Third St., has been at the center of the community's historic residential district. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the distinctive eight-sided "house turned museum" attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The Hudson landmark is maintained as a museum complex by the St. Croix County Historical Society. The Octagon House features a garden and carriage house with museum and gift shop. Each building is filled with antique furniture and artifacts.
Built in 1855 by Judge John Shaw Moffat and his wife, the house is furnished with items from early St. Croix County settlers and offers an authentic glimpse of what life was like in Hudson's Victorian era.
With each season, decorating changes in the house.
The Hudson Home & Garden Club has restored the Victorian gardens of the house.
Other well-kept structures from the 19th century are scattered throughout the city. One can enjoy a varied taste of history by taking a stroll past the homes on Third Street, where the entire neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Some of the more interesting homes on the street include the Richardson-Swasey house, the Spooner house and the Phipps mansion, now The Phipps Inn.
To get to Third Street, follow Hwy. 35 to Vine Street, go one block east on Vine and turn left.
The Richardson-Swasey house is located at 703 Third St. on the left-hand side of the street. Built in 1862, it is a prime example of Italianate architecture, with its bracketed cornices and symmetrical lines.
At 727 on the same block is the Philo Q. Boyden house, which was built in 1879. An example of Victorian Gothic architecture, the Boyden House illustrates how ornamentation from a variety of previous styles was combined.
Two blocks farther north, the John C. Spooner house is located at 915 Third St. Built in 1877, it is an example of the vernacular Italianate design, with its large paired brackets, dentils and classical window hoods.
The famous William H. Phipps home is located on the left at 1005 Third St. Built in 1884, it is an excellent example of the Queen Anne style, with its verandas, balconies, stained-glass windows and an octagonal tower topped with a witch's cap.
The Phipps home, now a bed and breakfast inn, is located directly across the street from Hudson's most famous home, the Octagon House.
The Fulton-Hughes house at the corner of Orange and Sixth streets is just one of numerous other homes throughout the historic district that has been restored and refurbished.
A walking tour of Hudson's historic district is available through the Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on Hudson's historic district, contact the St. Croix County Historical Society, (715) 386-2654, http://www.pressenter.com/~octagon or the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, (715) 386-8411, http://www.hudsonwi.org.