Cascade Park is located in the upper 1/4 portion of Lot 34 from the original 1799 land grid. In 1856, John Bushnell Clark owned this parcel. John Clark arrived in Hudson in 1830 with his wife, Polly and their children. Clark was an avid abolitionist, wealthy land owner and farmer in Hudson. The home he built in 1830, 5 Thirty Acres, still stands on Darrow road. A hidden crawl space with small ladders was discovered between the first and second stories of this home during a remodeling project that suggests Clark provided protection for run away slaves as they made their escape to Canada.
A spur of the Cleveland Pennsylvania Railroad that connected Cleveland to Columbus runs through Cascade Park. The Railroad boom in the 1830’s and 40’s provided a great economic boost for Hudson and many Hudson residents invested their life savings in railroad bonds. When the railroad industry here collapsed in 1857, many of these people lost everything they had and were driven to financial ruin. Clark held railroad bonds as late as 1872 and held all of his lands until his death in that same year so it is probable that he was not among the most unfortunate of investors. Today, a pedestrian bridge overlooks the old railroad tracks and is a fun spot to watch modern trains en route to distant destinations.
From John Clarks death in 1871 until sometime before 1891, The Cascade Park land was still part of the John Clark estate that his surviving children shared equally. In a land owner map of 1891, John Clark’s grandson,Theodore Clark, owned the deed to the property. Theodore Clark grew up in Hudson and married Anna Metcalf in 1880. It is likely that they purchased this land sometime after their marriage and, according to the 1880 census, carried on the family tradition of farming.
By 1939, the narrow strip of land that is now Cascade Park, had been purchased by Alan and Katherine MacLaren. In 1940 they had the road, John Clark Lane, put in that led to the new home they had built. Just west of the railroad is a beautiful area of small ledges, a stream and 2 waterfalls. In an interview found in the publication, Pass it On- Oral Histories of Long-Time Hudson Residents, Katherine recalls that the basin beneath the larger waterfall was a “washroom” for hobos that consisted of a soap dish and soap. Hobos would come in on railroad box cars and stop here to clean up before they traveled on. The MacLarens called this spot “Picnic Falls” and Katherine learned that it had been a long time favorite picnic spot for many Hudson residents in the past. It is said that the initials of some of Hudson’s earliest residents can be seen carved on trees in the park.
In 1963 Katherine MacLaren sold the 75-acre parcel to the Hudson Park Board to become the neighborhood park we enjoy today.