Hardy History Association to move forward with museum

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Photos/ Lauren Siebert Bob Zeiger was the program presenter for the Feb. 6 Hardy History Association meeting. Prior to the membership meeting, the board meeting was held during which a vote was made to move forward with a museum.

The Hardy History Association (HHA) is one step closer to opening a display area and Hardy History Museum, following an offer during the organization’s Feb. 6 meeting.

The meeting opened with updates regarding membership and the 501-c-3 status.

Treasurer Katie Harness announced to date, the group has a total of 95 members. President Darlene Wilson announced the organization received their letter from the Internal Revenue Service and officially received their 501-c-3 non profit status.

Board member Charles Wilson requested to bring some new business to the table which would allow the organization space for a museum much quicker than initially anticipated.

“I made a deal with the old dulcimer shop owner to rent his building. I feel like time is against us to set up this museum and so far, we haven’t seen a better building than this one,” Wilson said.

He explained he and his wife Darlene intended to relocate their business into the lower level of the building and offered the entire upstairs section, as well as a portion of the floor space on the lower level to the HHA.

Additionally, board member Ernie Rose told the group he was in discussion with the owners of the old service station near the cemetery about the building there.

“My primary interest in the property is for parking off Main Street and to use the facility. We could remove the small building in the back and tie it into the parking lot. The big building is in good shape structurally,” Rose said.

Wilson said he looked at the property and the building near the highway had two large rooms and space for a third to be created. He said the location was a possible future home for the HHA’s museum, however; in the mean time, maintained his offer to use the upstairs portion of the old dulcimer shop.

“One drawback is the upstairs is not ADA accessible, but what Darlene and I talked about, is also an area downstairs, about a 12 by 24 foot space that could be a display area,” Charles said.

After further discussion and input from the group’s archivists, Jim Best and Patsy Chruch, the board voted to accept Wilsons’ offer of using the upstairs of the facility. The board will begin to modify the space accordingly and move items into the building March 1.

The next order of business was to discuss grant opportunities. Darlene said she had done some research and discovered the Sharp County Community Foundation offers grants from $100 to $1,200.

“I took the walking tour map that was done and got with Rachel Silver with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program who provided this,” Darlene said. “I took the information, restyled it and this is juts a draft, but I want to apply for money to print these for the upcoming tourist season.”

The board approved a motion to move forward with the grant application to print walking tour maps.

Following the board meeting, a brief recess was held prior to the membership meeting.

During the membership meeting, committee reports were provided followed by the program which was presented by Bob Zeiger about Main Street in the 50’s and 60’s.

Drew Henson, media relations for the HHA, reminded those in attendance the newsletter was fast approaching with a deadline for entries slated for March 15.

Best and Church spoke about policies to protect property which needed to be set in place before moving forward.

After a few brief comments, Nannette Daugherty introduced the speaker for the evening, Bob Zeiger.

Zeiger started his presentation by turning the audience’s attention to a large quilt he had on display near the front of the room.

“This quilt was finished before 1910. I know because my dad’s name was not on there. Gramma Zeiger had a racket store and they had these sample blocks and some women would come to the store and [work to] put it together,” Zeiger said.

He explained the design of the quilt not only preserved the history and told the story of his family’s history, but also of the history of the people of Hardy who were around during the making of the quilt.

“I appreciate y’all starting this and not just for the physical part but for the stories that need to be told,” Zeiger said.

He then began to share a set of stories he recalled from his childhood in Hardy, beginning with a recollection of the old bakery which was located on Main Street.

“I wasn’t very old. We lived three blocks from the bakery and every day, my mom would always make bread. One morning, instead of making it, she sent me to the bakery. Well, needless to say, I loved bread and one loaf didn’t make it back home, so, she sent me to go get another loaf,” Zeiger said. “There was a tie yard in Hardy, a lot of ties there. That tie yard was in the parking lot for Hardy. Lee Baker was the original buying them and then Floyd Swetnam. They stacked them 12 foot high, let them cure then load them and he’d put a tie on his shoulder and load it in a box car. That was work. My dad and Audrey Thompson are the only two I can remember by name who could do it. There was others but it took a big hauss because each tie weighed about 200 pounds.”

He shared stories of the blacksmith shop and how in his youth, locals would watch out for one another. He recalled one story of Charlie Hall’s Blacksmith Shoppe located near the railroad tracks.

“It was an old wooden building and it slightly leaned toward the river. It leaned against a tree and if the tree ever went away the building would have fallen over. That tree is where he shod horses,” Zeiger said. “A friend of mine, Charlie Holloway had the Spring River Ranch and needed some shoes on his horses. He rode that horse barefoot eight miles down the railroad. When he got to the shop, Charlie took some raw metal, beat it into a horseshoe, put some holes in it, put it on his horse and charged him $2.”

He went on to tell stories which sparked the memories of those in the room and stories of the old cotton gins, Saturday drawings and more were shared.

The Hardy History Association meets the first Thursday of each month with the board meeting to begin at 5:30 p.m. and the membership meeting to begin at 6 p.m. at Hardy City Hall.

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