The beautiful campus of the HUB Station Arts and Business Center continues to serve the Town of Hudson and our region.
The two-story building with a proud history once housed grades 1 through 11, is now the home of HUB Station’s Arts Center. The adjoining building, known as Junior High to former students, is now the home of HUB Station’s Business Center. The Activities Center, added to the campus later, is home to the pottery studio and serves children and adults as a center for physical activities and summer art programs.
HUB Station’s Campus has long been a site for education and growth for students since the forties. Construction of a two-story building to be known as Hudson School began in 1941 and was completed in 1942. Weeks before the new school was to be occupied, it was destroyed by fire. A second brick building was completed in 1945. A fire once again destroyed the building and this time the school records. The building was rebuilt again as an exact replica of the building that had been destroyed but this time with firewalls for better protection. During the rebuilding period, students were transported to the old Davenport College campus in Lenoir. Students attending the school were transported from Sawmills, Baton and Whitnel to Hudson. The first floor of the building served elementary school students while the second floor served high school students through grade eleven.
Hudson school grew at a tremendous rate after World War II. In 1947 Band and Chorus were added. In the early fifties the sports of football, basketball and baseball were added. During that time students practiced on a wooden gym on site and a teacherage was also located on the property. The athletic teams brought home conference championship trophies and celebrated student Doris Hall, National Spelling Bee champion.
The new school building was occupied in 1947. In 1948, an auditorium, a new lunchroom and additional property were added. A second building, known as the Junior High Building, was completed in 1950. The school continued to grow until eventually more classroom space was needed.
In 1958, high school students moved a mile down the road and into a new high school building known as Hudson High. Hudson School then became Hudson Elementary School and served students grades one through eight. Both schools continued to grow until the elementary school was eventually serving more than 900 students in all grades each year. In the late nineties, the Caldwell County Board of Education made the decision to build a new more modern elementary school. Students were moved to the new elementary school location in 1999 with no plans for the existing two-story structure. Realizing the historical importance of Hudson School to the town’s history and not wishing the building to be destroyed, members of the Hudson Board of Commissioners purchased the building that had meant so much to the community. After major renovations to the auditorium and office area, the building was opened to the public with the intent of it serving as a community center for its residents and surrounding communities.
The town board began to discuss ways the beautifully renovated auditorium could be used. One of the town’s commissioners suggested that dinner theater had been a popular attraction for other small towns in the region. Others agreed and in 2003, the town hosted its first production. Since that time the town has produced more than 30 shows and hosts visitors from surrounding counties and other states who realize the quality of every performance. Concerts, trade shows, festivals and other community events have been held in the auditorium and on the grounds of HUB Station since the early renovation. During this time, the first floor of the building was rented as office space to a group supporting Horizon School located in the old Junior High Building. Horizon School was later moved to another location owned by the school system leaving the building unoccupied for several years.
In 2016, a new town council became aware of the school board’s intent to sell the former Junior High School Building and Gym, now also located on the school property. Negotiations began immediately to purchase it and went on for several years until an agreement was finally reached between the town and school system. The purchase was finalized, and the deed signed in July of 2018. One of the town’s commissioners had presented the idea of an arts and business center for the campus and after much discussion and planning, the board agreed with her presentation of the vision and began to make the plan a reality. The board formed a steering committee to help the town raise the funds needed to renovate the buildings and share additional thoughts and ideas to make the adopted vision a reality.
The HUB Station is now a destination to visitors from all 50 states and around the world thanks to The Mitford Museum’s location inside the Arts Center. Jan Karon, #1 New York Times best selling author of the Mitford Series, was a first-grade student at Hudson School in Nan Downs classroom in the forties. Mrs. Downs was one of her favorite teachers who Jan says encouraged her love of writing and art. The first room of the museum is in Jan’s first grade classroom where Nan Downs taught for many years.
The Arts Center houses the WNC Society of Artisans Art Gallery, gallery hall which hosts local and regional art exhibits, a retail boutique, a massage therapist and beverage company and The Mitford Museum, all located on the first floor. The second floor of the Arts Center is home to artists’ studios, a weaving room, a performing arts suite where music and other performing arts classes are taught, art classes and specialized instrument classes. A pottery studio is located in the Activities Center.
The business center houses Caldwell Community College’s Small Business Center and its director on the first floor. The Edge, a business incubator and launch pad for entrepreneurs is located on the second floor of the business center. New and Existing businesses occupy office space on both floors of the building.
The school cafeteria, which served thousands of students in the past, has been partially renovated with more upgrades to come. The town is also working on additional parking for high attendance events and working on ways to tie HUB Station activities into the town’s downtown business district. The HUB Station has become an economic engine for the town and will spur economic growth for Hudson and the region for many years to come.
HUB Station’s Campus is located on a six-acre tract. The property adjoins a walking trail leading directly to the town’s recreation center and the campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute. An amphitheater is located at the back of the property.