The John W. Smith House is one of the few homes in the Day’s Addition housing development that was completed before the development was abandoned. It is similar to 134 and 175 Aurora Street, all classic Greek Revivals.
The John W. Smith House boasts both a pedimented gable with wide frieze and corner boards and a pedimented portico. The porch on the side was enclosed, and was probably a porch in antis.
The windows are 6/6, double-hung and are symmetrically placed, while there is an off-center entry.
The construction is post and beam and the historic survey indicates that many original logs are in place, some with bark. Inside, the original trim, mantels, windows and staircase have been preserved; the random width chestnut flooring throughout the house is also original. An old barn, board and batten with peg construction, has been converted into a garage.
The John W. Smith House is notable for both its architectural style and also what it represents in the economic history of Hudson. In the mid-1800s, Hudson succumbed to railroad fever, thanks to the construction of the Cleveland-Pittsburgh line, which ran through town. John Smith and his partner Henry Noble Day believed the railroad would create an economic boom for the town and generate a need for increased housing and business. For a while, that’s what happened.
Unfortunately, Day gambled that if one railroad could create an economic boom, two would create a bigger one. Thus, he started the speculative Clinton Line.
He took on investors and created a bank to channel loans to fund his business ventures (such as the Pentagon building), as well as the railroad. He also launched his housing development. The Clinton Line expenses soon outstripped estimates, and Day’s speculations collapsed, taking many Hudson investors’ fortunes with it. Thus, Day’s Addition was never completed.
The John W. Smith House stands in testament to both the dream and failure of Hudson’s hope for the railroads.