Although founder David Hudson settled in this Western Reserve city in the 1800s and helped build a bustling community with churches, schools, a college and parks, it’s difficult to imagine he could foresee the modern place it would become.
For Think-Digital co-founder and partner Steve Donatelli and his wife, Lauren, Hudson’s rich history is what drew them here 11 years ago.
Lauren grew up in Cincinnati, but frequently visited her grandmother in Aurora. “We used to pass through Hudson,” says Lauren, a stay-at-home mom of four. “I loved the town and I always wanted to live in one of the houses with the cracks on it — one of the older houses.”
The Summit County community of 22,437 embraces its heritage with rows of historic Greek Revival, colonial and Queen Anne-style homes restored to former glory while including contemporary flourishes such as high-speed broadband for local businesses.
Since moving into their 1875 colonial with a wraparound porch, the Donatellis have found comfort in everything from walking to the weekend farmers market to the superb school system (No. 2 in this year’s rankings), where their kids participate in activities such as last month’s National Bike to School Day.
“They really pump the kids up about getting up and getting moving,” says Lauren.
The addition of First & Main in 2000 brought new life to Hudson’s downtown, seamlessly blending open-air mixed-used retail and office space with the city’s historic Main Street.
A second phase will begin later this year at the northwest edge of First & Main to create a more connected downtown.
Still, the Donatelli family values those simpler moments such as the annual Memorial Day Parade — the first event they attended as new residents.
“We walked to the end of our street and watched this adorable parade. We looked at each other like, Where are we? Does this stuff really exist still?” says Lauren. “Those are the things we’ve really come to cherish.”
2016 Total Home Sales: 330
2016 Median Home Sale Price: $345,000
Education Ranking: 2
Safety Ranking: 17