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The small city of Hudson lies 125 miles north of Manhattan and is located at the “head of navigation,” the farthest place on the Hudson River to which sizable ships could once sail from New York Harbor. In the last decades of the 18th century, Hudson became an increasingly prosperous port, but eventually patterns of commerce changed and decline set in. By the turn of the 20th century, its former wealth was little more than a memory, and only the surviving brick mansions served as a reminder of the city’s former glory.