Hardy History Association holds first meeting of the year

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Photo/ Lauren Siebert Nannette Daugherty displaying one of the most recent donations to the Hardy History Association; framed photograph of the old Hardy Bridge.

The Hardy History Association held their first membership meeting of of the new year Jan. 2 at city hall in Hardy. 

Prior to the start of the membership meeting, a board meeting was conducted beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Following a roll call vote, the board moved onto business which consisted of committee and financial reports.

Since forming just a few short months ago, it was reported the organization had 72 charter members, a great increase over the initial meeting held in December.

It was also stated a new committee, the archivists committee had been formed with Jim Best and Patsy Church spearheading the task.

Board member Nannette Daugherty suggested the board develop a set of criteria in order to help determine which items would be retained by the archivist committee. Space had been offered in the Hardy Civic Center by the Hardy Advertising and Promotions Commission for items to be stored until a museum space could be acquired.

“We need some criteria to determine what we want to keep. We want to make sure we get what we do want and so we need a funneling system for that,” Daugherty said.

Margaret Harness, who was leading the meeting shared the president’s report in the absence of organization president Darlene Wilson.

Harness said the application for the 501-c-3 had been filed, the organization had been represented in the Hardy Christmas parade and the Facebook page following and content was growing.

Drew Henson, editor of the newsletter also spoke to the board about the projects and contests which are still ongoing.

“The newsletter is the biggest subject and is yet to be named. There is a contest to name our newsletter and for our logo design. Charles [Wilson] and I need ideas from the public, members and board so we can start off our premier edition in April. We will name the newsletter March 1 and the contest entries will be limited to the eyes of the board [until winners are selected],” Henson said.

Henson asked for stories and information to be submitted in order to help generate enough content to publish an exceptional first edition.

Submissions may be made through Facebook messenger, by e-mail or by mail.

After discussing a few more items, the board adjourned and the membership meeting began.

“We thank you for being here tonight and as you may know, tonight’s membership meeting is about the old Hardy Bridge,” Daugherty said.

Shortly after, those in attendance at the meeting began to share stories of their memories of the old bridge. It was discussed that initially, a bridge was constructed sometime between 1915 and 1917 but a portion had washed away and a second was created. The second bridge which remained for decades, was wiped away in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, 1982 after unexpected and severe flooding caused the Spring River to swell far beyond its banks.

Reading from an old newspaper, a special edition of the Spring River Times, a poem of the bridge was shared as well as an interview which had been conducted with the Morgan family who witnessed the bridge be swept away by what they referred to as a “wall of water”.

In the article, the Morgans recalled watching the bridge be taken out section by section and in a flash it was gone. December of 1982 was an exceptionally wet month, and in addition to the flooding that wreaked havoc on Hardy, a tornado swept through Highland leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

Those in attendance of the meeting shared stories of their memories of that time, from Jan Lusk who remembered leaving Highland to stay with family in Hardy around the time of the tornado only to wake to the surrounding flood waters to stories of when the bridge was still in place prior to the flood.

One story was shared by Roger Stark, who recalled a one ton pickup attempting to cross the bridge, however, loaded with concrete it was too heavy and broke through a portion of the bridge.

At the time, he recalled his family was tending to the cabins at Wahpeton Hill and he and his father needed ice for the ice boxes.

“We got in a canoe, went to to the ice house, loaded the canoe with ice and came back across. We put the ice on the dock and carried it all the way up,” Stark said.

Others shared stories of the bridge being used as a kind of cattle shoot to load livestock onto the train, others of their earlier memories of trying to cross the bridge only to have to back off as someone else had “reached the middle first”.

Memories of jumping from the bridge, a taboo thing to do at the time, were shared with approximately 10 guilty parties seated in the room.

Keith Darner shared the story of markings on the bridge. “There was a story of one diving. Somewhere along the way, a memory was put on the bridge with the date and a list of names of boys who had jumped off the bridge, and at the bottom it said... ‘and Tiny dove’, it was Tiny Mendes,” Darner said.

A story of Hank Norman who was coming home from church during the winter and saved two boys from drowning was also shared.

The next Hardy History Association meeting will be held Feb. 6 with a board meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the membership meeting at 6 p.m. at Hardy City Hall.

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