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The Alvrine Chapel is of Hudson , New Hampshire's most beautiful preserved historical landmarks accessible to the public. Alvirne Memorial Chapel, al called simply, the Alvirne Chapel, on Route 102. The chapel was commissioned by Dr. Alfred Hills in memory of his late wife, Virginia, in 1908. The "Alvirne" moniker is created from the two names "Alfred" and "Virginia."
Caretaker of the property, Maryellen Reed, is quite familiar with the history of the chapel, and enjoys sharing trivia tidbits. "
What many people don't realize, is that the chapel is a mausoleum for the bodies of Alfred, Virginia, and their two infant daughters."
The Alvirne Chapel exudes an open and welcoming atmosphere due to its natural beauty and the attention to detail spent in the design and construction of the building. Its construction consists of solid materials including weathered granite for the walls and oak for the beams. The vestry has a fireplace and the entry to the main chapel is through large, thick oak doors with wrought iron hinges. The gray Tennessee marble flooring works well with the red Grueby tiles crafted especially for this building. The stained and leaded glass windows at each end of the building hold church symbols set in the stone mullions.
The chapel is located near the Hills Farms Cemetery. A tall iron fence surrounds the entire parcel of land. Everything related to the construction of the chapel focused on minimizing repairs and upkeep throughout the years.
The chapel's ground was consecrated in 1909. At the time, the chapel was a convenient five minute walk from an electric trolley stop on Webster Street.
The town is now celebrating the 100-year anniversary of this landmark designed to last permanently.
A 1938 hurricanes e passed through the area and damaged a lot of trees surrounding the chapel. Starting in the late 1950s, the Alvirne Trustees took advantage of the necessary tree removal to create a parking area and lawn to make the chapel more visible and friendly to the public.
Many of Hudson's historic buildings are the legacy of Dr. Alfred Hills. A New York City surgeon who summered in Hudson, Dr. Hills built the Hills Memorial Library and the Alvirne Chapel in 1909 in memory of his wife. He also left his home, Alvirne, to the Hudson Historical Society and bequeathed funds and 180 acres of land to build a high school. Today, Alvirne High School serves both Hudson and neighboring Litchfield and is well known across the region for its vocational center and accompanying agricultural and horticultural programs. Hudson began as part of the Dunstable Land Grant that encompassed the current city of Nashua, New Hampshire, as well as Dunstable and Peperell Massachusetts. When New Hampshire became its own colony, the New Hampshire portion became Dunstable, New Hampshire. This section was eventually subdivided into 3 towns: Nashville (west of the Merrimack River and north of the Nashua river), Nashua (west of the Merrimack River and south of the Nashua river) and Nottingham (east of the Merrimack River). Nashville and Nashua would later merge to form the city of Nashua.
Several years after adopting the name Nottingham, it was discovered that there was already a town named Nottingham further east. As a compromise, the town renamed itself "Nottingham West", a name it would keep for the better part of a century. The name was eventually changed to "Hudson" to avoid confusion with the older town of Nottingham. The name apparently comes from an early belief that the Merrimack River had once been thought to be a tributary of the Hudson River, or that the area had once been explored by Henry Hudson; both proved to be entirely apocryphal stories, but the name of the town remains today. A prominent family in Hudson history was the Alfred and Virginia Hill family who owned a large tract of land north of Hudson Village. Their influence and name remains in several important structures in town. The Hill House on Derry Street is their original family home and location of the Town Historical Society. The grounds host the annual "Old Home's Days" fair every year. Hills Memorial Library is one of the oldest public lending libraries in the state, and occupies an architecturally unique stone and mortar building on Library Street. Alvirne High School and the Alvirne Chapel, located on family land across Derry Street from the Hill House, were donated to the town. (Alvirne is a contraction of Alfred and Virginia). The Hill's only son had died during a football game, out of respect for the son, Alvirne went many decades without a football team, despite being one of the larger high schools in the state. It was assumed that such a stipulation had been put as a condition of the High Schools charter. When it was found that no such condition had ever been written down or existed, fincancial pressures encouraged the formation of a football team. In fall of 1994, Alvirne High School fielded its first JV football team, with Varsity play beginning in 1996. Alvirne High is home to one of the largest and best agricultural-vocational programs in the area, the Wilbur H. Palmer Agricultural and Vocational School. This school features several student-run businesses including a fully functioning bank, restaurant, store, day care, dairy farm, and forestry program. The unique educational program at this school has been used as a model for many similar schools across the nation.
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