Happily ever after for Benson's ‘Old Woman in the Shoe’ in Hudson
HUDSON — Thanks to the efforts of some local Brownies, Hudson’s historic “Old Woman in the Shoe” will hopefully live happily ever after for years to come.
On Saturday, members of Hudson Brownie Troop 12360 placed the finishing touches on the restoration project in Benson Park that began nearly two years ago but was sidetracked by vandals last summer. A holdover from the park’s former incarnation, Benson’s Wild Animal Farm, the giant red boot has been on the grounds since the now defunct amusement park and zoo’s heyday so many decades ago.
Two summers ago Troop Leader Beth Baker was taking some of the girls on an outing to the local park when several of the youngsters noticed the structure had seen better days. Calling on the community and fellow Brownies to help them out, members of Brownie Troops 10954 and 12360 began holding bake sales and yard sales, and in fall 2012, staff from Erickson Construction helped the girls repair the building’s interior walls and add a fresh coat of paint. This past August, an unknown vandal smashed in the building’s door and windows.
Most of the shoe’s interior was destroyed in the process, but rather than dwell on the negative, the local Brownies wanted to start over again — and put a stronger lock on the door in the process.
With the building now fully restored and permanently sealed, this past weekend Troop 12360 placed a granite monument in front of the building, so another generation of local children can stroll over and read the beloved nursery rhyme.
Roger Pellerin, owner of Gate City Monument in Nashua, donated the monument and members of the Pellerin family helped the Brownies install it.
Baker said a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the girls’ lengthy efforts would take place sometime in June.