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Nebraska...Our Towns

Hardy -- Nuckolls County

Bruce Cramer's livery barn in Hardy, 1902-08, located just east of the bank. [Cramer]

The town site for a village to be called "Hardy" was surveyed in the spring of 1880 on land owned by the Lincoln Land Company, which was in turn owned by officials of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. The town, less than a mile from the Kansas border, is in the fertile Republican River Valley.

The occasion for the establishment of a town at this location was the laying of the CB&Q's mainline from Kansas City to Denver. Needless to say, Hardy had very good passenger and mail service for many years. The initial plat included 95 acres of land. The new town grew so quickly that it was incorporated in the fall of 1880, just six months after it started.

The first issue of the "Hardy Herald" went to press on August 13, 1880. By that time Hardy had three contractors, two real estate dealers, a lawyer, two doctors, two blacksmiths, a hotel, a drug store, two general stores, a meat market, a hardware store, an implement store, a lumberyard, a livery stable, and a saloon.

By 1890 Bixby's General Merchandise and Drug Store was in business, Crameer & Sons General Merchandise store was established, as were two banks, and two barber shops. Gillilan & Leigh started a glove factory, and Lathrop built a greenhouse and nursery, as well as a zoo. Hardy had a huge roller mill, a cigar factory, three brick kilns, and a high school. A short time later two churches, an elevator, a farmers union grocery store, two variety stores, a millinery store, and two restaurants were added. By 1915 there were two implement dealers and two real estate offices.

In addition to the Burlington Railroad that ran through town, the Missouri Pacific rail line was located in Warwick, KS, not far from the southeast corner of Hardy. The two railroad lines were very competitive, which meant lower freight rates all the way around. This proved to be very helpful for bringing in business and industry. By 1910 the population of the town was nearly 500.

A three-story brick high school was built in 1912. In 1919 the old schoolhouse was torn down and the material was used to build a community hall.

The town of Hardy was spared much of the devistation of the big 1935 Republican River flood. While many families along the river lost all but the clothing they wore, no lives were lost in Nuckolls County. Additional diversion dams in the Bostwick Division, one southwest of Hardy, providing irrigation water for 63,000 acres in Nebraska and 28,000 more in Kansas.

At the present time, Hardy has a population of 240. The town has two churches with resident pastors, a bank, a garage, a cafe, feed and seed dealers, a lumberyard, two taverns, a trucking company, and an earth moving contractor. There is also a very active co-op which provides lots of grain storage for the predominately agricultural area.

The city's five wells provides excellent quality water that needs no treatment. The town has developed a good sewage system and has a large fire barn with four vehicles.

Hardy has had many celebrations in the past. The first celebration was held on the Fourth of July in 1881. It is said to have drawn a crowd of 1,800. Hardy celebrated Nebraska's 100th anniversary with a three-day celebration in 1967 with a large parade, barbecue, carnival, and dance.

Of course the high school's alumni banquet is always a big event. In 1987 187 graduates and their spouses were served in the community hall. At the 1990 event, the alumni asked if the town would repair and remodel the old hall. The alum's donated $12,500 to get the project going, to which the village board added another $5,000. With lots of volunteer labor, new doors, new restrooms, electric heat and air conditioning, insulation, and storm doors have been installed. These improvements have given this historic building a new lease-on-life and greatly improved the facilities now available for community activities of all kinds.

By Clyde Cramer, Box 2, Hardy, NE 68943