About Historic Hudson Wisconsin
Hudson was settled in the summer of 1840 by Louis Massey and his brother in-law, Peter Bouchea. William Steets arrived at about the same time. Later that same year, Joseph Sauperson (commonly known as Joe LaGrue) took up residence. These four are considered Hudson’s original inhabitants. Massey and Bouchea settled at the mouth of the Willow River, near the present-day First and St. Croix Streets. They had been part of the group who lived for some time along the river below Fort Snelling, which appears on some old maps as “Massey’s Landing”. The 1840s saw a few settlers making their appearance here — Captain John Page, the Nobles brothers, Dr. Philip Aldrich, Ammah Andrews, Moses Perrin, Colonel James Hughes, Daniel Anderson, and others.
Hudson was originally called Willow River. It was later named Buena Vista by Judge Joel Foster, founder of River Falls, after returning from the Mexican War where he fought in the Battle of Buena Vista. In 1852, Alfred D. Gray, Hudson’s first mayor, petitioned to change the name of the city to “Hudson”, because the bluffs along the St. Croix River reminded him of the Hudson River in his native New York.
A large number of settlers arrived in the 1850s and 1860s, many of whom were ancestors of today’s residents. The lumber industry was the prime attraction of the area, and over time sawmills were established throughout the St. Croix Valley.
U.S. Highway 12 once crossed the St. Croix River on a toll bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota, which provided revenue for the town. With the construction of Interstate 94, the toll bridge was removed, though the long causeway extending to the former bridge location is now open to the public as a pedestrian walkway.
Hudson has grown as a tourist destination in recent years with shops and restaurants on the St. Croix in its historic downtown, along with hotels and other businesses that serve traffic on Interstate Highway 94.