It was exciting to hear this past week that the online marketplace Etsy would be locating a branch to the Cannonball Factory in Hudson, bringing a major business success story and dozens of jobs to the town. As Sam Pratt eloquently stated on his web site, SamPratt.com, the news was confirmation that “if City residents kept steadily building upon Hudson’s unique history and architectural fabric, protected its community character, maintained an active main street full of locally-owned businesses, and took advantage of Hudson’s terrific location, the possibilities for attracting greener, more forward-looking businesses was boundless. Great businesses want to locate to great towns.”
Etsy founder and CEO Rob Kalin’s decision also means new life for a restored historic building, and extends the string of handsomely readapted, fully utilized brick structures (Helsinki Hudson and the Musica building) that now enliven a once forlorn stretch of Columbia Street. With light and life in and around them, each of them is –or soon will be –beautiful to behold. Just in case any other prospective entrepreneurs are thinking of following the visionary Kalin’s lead, I’d like to point out a few other favorite brick buildings in town, all currently in a weird state of cold (indeed, at the moment, frigid) storage and in need of a bevy of warm, creative bodies to put them to use. Note to potential buyers: Feel free to appropriate any forthcoming ideas as your own:
The Boarded Up Train Station:
Astride CSX train tracks at Seventh and State, this structure, its filigreed cast iron ornament still intact, would be a great place for a restaurant, perhaps called “Depot” or “Freight.”
The Bricked Up Former Allen Street School
With it’s great views of the Hudson and the Catskill mountains, this 1902 building would be a fitting site for a weekend retreat-type spa, which I think it was being considered for at one time. Or how about a far northern branch of Bard’s Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts ?
The Pocketbook Factory
This place is huge and, thanks to owner Eleanor Ambos, still looking pretty damn good. (Someone should rebuild the the tower, though, seen in its truncated present form on the left side of the picture.) How about…an even farther northern branch of Bard’s Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts?
The Grand Residential Building
Restored into apartments, this structure at Union and Fifth Street could be named “The Second Empire.” –Scott Baldinger