Friday, August 06, 1999

Towns with same names as girl invite her to be parade marshal

Ashley Hudson, Indiana
Towns with same names as girl invite her to be parade marshal
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Ashley Hudson, 10, says she’s a “regular kids” with one exception” “I have two towns with my name.”

These towns are a mile apart in the northeast corner of Indiana and they’ve adopted the Pittsfield Township girl as a unifying spirit.

Ashley and her family will be the guests of Ashley, population 900, and Hudson, population 700, this weekend when she serves as the grand marshal of the towns’ annual parade.

Back in early 1997, Ashley’s maternal grandparents were driving along I-69 on the way to Michigan when an exit sign caught their attention. It referred to two towns just off the interstate, “Ashley” was listed first, followed by “Hudson.”

To the grandparents, however, it wasn’t a reference to two towns—it was their granddaughters name. So they pulled over and took a picture of it, said Sandy Hudson, Ashley’s mother.

Several weeks later, the Hudson family, including Ashley’s father, Mike, and her brother Josh, 14, visited the two towns and looked around. Sandy Hudson late wrote to the two towns, telling them about her daughter’s name.

The towns’ joint chamber of commerce wrote a letter back, asking if Ashley and her family wanted to participate in the first annual Ashley and Hudson parade, which was being held in the spirit of cooperation between the two former rival towns. Ashley agreed and attended the first parade in 1997; this year’s parade will be her second.

Pat Alleshouse, secretary for the towns’ chamber of commerce, who has lived in Ashley since the 1950s, said the two towns haven’t always gotten along.

“Over a hundred years ago, Hudson was already a town. The people who owned the land right next to Hudson couldn’t get together (with the Hudson residents) on the price. They moved on down the railroad track and created the town of Ashley.”

Alleshouse says, though, that the longstanding rivalry isn’t as bad as it used to be. Events like the parade bridge the two towns,, which are located just west of I-69, about 18 miles south of the Michigan border.

Ashley, the girl, will receive a complimentary Ashley Hudson hat and T-shirt, free meals, lodging, a ride in the twons’ 1978 silver Corvette during the parade, and a bouquet of yellow flowers—the town’s official color.

“We just fell in love with her right away,” Alleshouse said. “They’re just the nicest family. Just a regular, friendly girl.”

Ashley who will be a student at St. Francis of Assisi in Ann Arbor this fall, is looking forward to the trip this weekend.

“They saw me when I was 8, and they can see how much I’ve grown,” she said.
Originally published Friday, August 6, 1999

Photo Caption: Ashley Hudson, 10, holds up a flier for the Ashley-Hudson festival in Ashley and Hudson, Ind., this weekend. Hudson will be the grand marshal for the festival’s parade for the second year in a row.