The Hudson Historic District includes most of downtown Hudson, New York, United States, once called "one of the richest dictionaries of architectural history in New York State". It is a 139-acre (56 ha) area stretching from the city's waterfront on the east bank of the Hudson River to almost its eastern boundary, with a core area of 45 blocks. It has 756 contributing properties, most of which date from the city's founding in 1785 to the mid-1930s. In 1985 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It includes part of Hudson's original Front Street-Parade Hill-Lower Warren Street Historic District, excluding portions which were demolished soon after that district was designated in 1970. It is one of the rare downtowns to have followed the grid plan laid out by its 18th-century founders through the present day, and Warren Street, its main artery, is New York's most intact 19th-century main commercial street.
The oldest buildings in the district reflect the city's post-Revolutionary origins as a safe harbor for New England whalers, a past alluded to today by the whales on the street signs. It later became an industrial center, with areas of worker housing and grand homes of factory owners in its downtown. In the early 20th century, the rise of officially-tolerated prostitution on what is today Columbia Street made the city known as "the little town with the big red-light district."
Historic preservation efforts since the district's establishment have helped spur the city's economic renewal. Shortly after the district was designated, antiques dealers began setting up shops on Warren Street, leading eventually to what The New York Times described as "the best antiques shopping in the Northeast". Art galleries followed, and many weekend visitors have relocated to Hudson full-time, including some celebrities. The new arrivals have restored old houses they have purchased. The city has established a Historic Preservation Commission to protect the district's historic character.
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