Hudson’s cross on the hill was a beacon for decades


Hudson’s cross on the hill was a beacon for decades
After the original lighted wooden cross was erected in 1929 on Pope’s Hill in Hudson, it was replaced in 1967 by a 46-foot steel cross which still stands, though it went dark in the early 1980s.

HUDSON – To tell the story of our lighted cross, we must go back to 1922 and Mr. Leland D. Wood.

In that year, Wood was appointed manager of Hudson’s Light and Power Department. A civic-minded man, Wood in 1924 chaired a community Christmas program, and by 1929 the idea of erecting a lighted cross was born.

Centrally located and with a height of over 400 feet, Pope’s Hill (Mt. Belleview) was chosen.

Made of chestnut, the original cross stood 45 feet high. Two hundred-watt lamps were spaced 12 feet apart. The cross was first illuminated on December 6, 1926.

For decades the cross was lit each Sunday, and every night during the weeks of Easter and Christmas.

Age and deterioration took its toll, and in Nov. 1965 power was cut and the cross went dark.

This became a topic of discussion in Hudson and community spirit began to respond. Widespread interest in replacing the cross ensued. Over ten thousand people contributed to a successful fund drive. 

A new cross, made of structural steel and lit by fluorescent tubes was constructed. The cross stands 46 feet tall. It is implanted in a six-foot square bed of concrete. Six feet of the beam rests in a metal sleeve, so it may be removed for painting or repair. 

G. Bonazzoli Construction Company built and installed the cross at cost as a gift to the town.

The Hudson Sun captured the citizens’ joy with its December 9, 1967, headline: “Burst of light from Pope’s Hill greets spectators. The treasured town landmark has finally been relighted.”

The Reverend Frederick Hayes said poetically: “The lighted cross upon a hill, what a glorious sight our hearts to thrill…”

And this sentiment came from Thomas McAuliffe of WSRO Radio: “This cross is dedicated to the town of Hudson and its people…who made it possible. May its light and the spirit that fostered it continue for the next one hundred years.”

Sometime in the early 1980s the cross went dark. Yet it still stands strong as ever, hoping to shine once more.