The next stop among America's 17 Hudsons is the picturesque city of Hudson, Wisconsin. Located 739 miles west of its Ohio counterpart, it is 17 miles to the east of St. Paul, Minnesota. Situated along the banks of the St. Croix River, the town abounds with boating and fishing opportunities. Prospect and Primose Parks afford panoramic river vistas, while Lakefront Park offers residents and visitors a swimming beach, bathhouse, walking trails and a band shell where summer concerts are performed.
Hudson, Wisconsin, has a population of 8,600, spread over 26.5 square miles, living in 2,900 mostly single-family homes. The average age is 38.9 years, slightly higher than the national average of 37.4 years. The town's medium household income is nearly double the national average. Educationally 98.8 percent of adult Hudson residents have a high school diploma and 45.9 percent have a college degree.
The quaint river town boats a rich history. A thriving downtown area features award winning restaurants, shops and art galleries. In 1840 fur traders established a settlement known as Willow River. Eight years later the name was changed to Buena Vista, or "beautiful view." In 1852 the town's first mayor, A.D. Gray, decided to rename the town "Hudson" since the area resembled New York's Hudson River Valley. Lumber became the mainstay industry from the mid-to late 1800s. The first sawmill opened in 1850. By 1872, the booming lumber industry supported 17 operating sawmills. In 1871 the first rail line arrived.
A massive fire in 1866 destroyed much of the business community and many homes, however Hudson quickly recovered. Portions of downtown including the town's famed Octagon House and several private residences are within a historic district that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1913 Hudson erected a toll bridge. Collected tolls meant no property taxes for residents. With toll revenue and much forethought, city leaders crafted a model community that still effectively provides for residents needs, despite the elimination of tolls in 1951.
Today, the metro area also includes the towns of Troy, St. Joseph and North Hudson for a combined population of 32,000. The area has grown 25 percent over the past decade.
A total of 5,500 students attend the eight public and two private schools. There are two technical colleges plus a branch of the University of Wisconsin.
Located just off I-94, Hudson features an industrial park and numerous shopping areas. Hudson Hospital & Clinics offer excellent healthcare services. Hudson's Library is adjacent to The Phipps Center for the Arts. As the area's premier cultural center, Phipps offers a wide variety of theater, musical and visual arts programs. Hudson residents enjoy numerous community events including; a hot air balloon affair each February; an extended 4th of July celebration; a September art festival; plus numerous summer-time events. Nearby state parks and a host of hotels and restaurants support Hudson as a tourist destination.
The city of Hudson is governed by an elected mayor and 6 alderpersons. The city has a 30-person police department. The fire department, founded in 1873, remains largely dependent upon volunteers. Hudson also is the county seat for St. Croix County. The local paper is the Hudson Star-Observer.
Hudson, Wisconsin, is among the 17 communities included in Destination Hudson's Visit 17 Hudson in 2017 Challenge. The Challenge is co-sponsored by the Hudson Hub-Times and Hudson's Restaurant. More information regarding the Challenge is available at the Visitor Center, located in Town Hall, at 27 East Main. Street, or at destinationhudson.com.