May 2021

Hardy History

By |2021-05-04T16:53:39+00:00May 4th, 2021|General, History|

A Short History of


Prior to 1880, Hardy did not exist. Only a few families lived in this heavily timbered area, and not until the completion of the railroad did the boom times come. Thanks to the railroad, much was needed – a water tank to service locomotives, a station to take on and unload passengers and freight, housing for its employees, and various other services. The town of Hardy was officially founded in 1883, and was named for James A Hardy, Jr., a 25-year-old trackage subcontractor who saved his boss’s life.

In 1894, Hardy was made County Seat of Sharp County’s Northern District, with Evening Shade being County Seat of the Southern District. The present County Seat is Ash Flat, established when the two districts were combined in 1967.

Hardy’s population remained around 50 for the first 10 years of its existence; by 1900 the population had grown to about 600 residents.

The first substantial businesses were not established until the 1890’s and 1900’s. Those were the ‘general stores’ where you could find anything from food to pots and pans to hardware. By 1920, businesses occupied almost two blocks on Main Street. Those included general stores, hotels, general merchandise establishments a private telephone company, a Ford automobile agency, two cafes, a bank, two drug stores, two livery stables, a jewelry store, an ice plant, a feed store, two lumber companies, a wholesale grocer, a lovestock sale barn, and the Court House.

The life style in Hardy remained about the same until the late 1970’s. At that time, some businesses began to move out of town to other areas; however, what brought about the drastic change in Hardy was the flood of 1982. This devastating event flooded to the roof of the grocery store in town, and most of the other stores were badly damaged. After the flood, most of the businesses moved to the Highland area – and that’s when the craft and antique shops began to open in the historic buildings on Main Street.

Today, Hardy retains its ‘old town’ flavor. The downtown area looks much like it did during the Model-T days… and the merchants want to keep it that way! Most of the modern changes have occurred at the ends of town, leaving the heart of Main Street a tiny preserve for quality antique shops, craft stores, specialty shops and gift nooks. The cool, clear waters of Spring River, a favorite of tourists for decades, flow just one block off Main Street, offering swimming, excellent fishing, and canoeing.

The idea for the Old Hardy Town mural, located at the corner of Spring and Main Streets, came about when Kenneth King had a wish to konate something of lasting value to the town that had been so good to him and his family since he started his business in 1963. In the summer of 1992, in an effort to preserve a part of Hardy’s rapidly vanishing heritage, Mr. King commissioned two artists, Ernie Patton and Kermit Kroll, to paint a panorama of five long-gone landmarks on an outside brick wall. The mural is approximately 80 feet long and 23 feet high.

One of the five scenes depicted on the mural is the Frisco Railroad Depot which stood in Hardy from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. During those years, the depot served as a social gathering place and business location. On Sundays after chruch, young people would say, “Lets go to the station and watch the train come in.” Unfortunately, after the dwindling of rain service in the 1970s, the depot was razed and this brought regret to area residents.

Another of the landmarks pictured it the old gas station (Oct. 1, 1917 – July 13, 1973). The station was located between the railroad tracks and the Spring River bridge. This service station did more business than all other Hardy service stations combined. It weathered two bad floods, but the third one put it out of business.

The Old Iron Bridge spanned Spring River from the time it was built in 1916 until it was totally destroyed by the devastating flood in 1982. Untold numbers of wagons, people and cars made their way across the structure before it washed away. Truly a focal point of the area, generations of Hardyites had great pride in and affection for the old bridge. It had a simple grace and beauty that appealed to the eye and heart.

Wahpeton Hill, which is on the south side of Spring River opposite Hardy’s business district, was once wooded hills where Memphians came to enjoy the peace and quiet during the early part of the century. In the language of teh Indians, Wahpeton meant, “home among the leaves”. Below Wahpeton Hill, the fields along the river were the scene of annual Indian Olympic Games. In 1932, Judge Frank Guthrie bought Wahpeton Hill and several hundred acres. Mrs. Gutherie immediately started plans for the construction of Wahpeton Inn. The Inn was opened formally in the summer of 1933. It was built entirely of native stone; the floors of the lobby and living room and the outside terraces were made of flagstone. All the furniture except the beds were constructed of native oak. Much entertainment was offered: an orchestra, family sytle meals, coffee shop, bowling alley, shuffleboard court and a dance floor in the pavilion. The Inn was burned on November 13, 1939. Although much effort was expended in an attempt to save the beautiful inn, it burned to ashes and sadly was never rebuilt.

The Beck House was built in 1885 by John Elmer Beck, a railroad man from Springfield, Missiour. It was built of the finest materials and with elegant furnishings, many purchased in Memphis. Over the years, the Beck farm served as the center of community attractions. The riverside area provided a primitive golf course, and during the 1920’s and ’30s, the farm was the site of an annual circus that entertained the people from all over Norther Sharp County. Teresa Beck, one of the six children of John Beck, married a Mr. Donaldson, one of the Hardy’s depot agents. Mrs. Donaldson, affectionately known as “Aunt Tee”, loved int the house until her death in 1980. In 1992, the house was demolished because it had become too dilapidated to repair. Our “Bonanza” restaurant is near the site of the old house.

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January 2017

Why Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce

By |2017-01-15T14:12:31+00:00January 15th, 2017|General|

Some business owners might say their schedule is demanding enough at the moment, and the thought of adding one more activity to their busy calendar is unbearable.

So why should they try to cram time into their already hectic schedules to join and actively participate in their local chamber of commerce?

Because membership in the local chamber offers numerous benefits and keeps business owners on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within their community and local marketplace.

Not only that, but research points out that consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it’s a member of their local chamber of commerce.

According a research study by The Shapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street Services, when consumers know that a small business is a member of their local chamber of commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it and 63 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from the company in the future.

If you still don’t think you have time to join and participate in your local chamber of commerce, consider the following:

  • Most consumers (59 percent) think that being active in the local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy overall. It’s 29 percent more effective, however, for communicating to consumers that a company uses good business practices and 26 percent more effective for communicating that a business is reputable.
  • If a company shows that it’s highly involved in its local chamber (e.g., sits on the chamber board), consumers are 12 percent more likely to think that its products stack up better against its competition.
  • When a consumer thinks that a company’s products stack up better against the competition because the company is highly involved in its local chamber of commerce, it is because he or she infers that the company is trustworthy, involved in the community and is an industry leader.
  • When consumers know that a restaurant franchise is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 40 percent more likely to eat at the franchise in the next few months.
  • When consumers know that an insurance company is a member of the chamber of commerce, they are 43 percent more likely to consider buying insurance from it.

How does all that sound? If your business is a restaurant or an insurance company, isn’t it fantastic to hear the news that consumers are more likely to choose your business over a competing, non-member business because you’re a member of your local chamber of commerce? Are you convinced yet that you should join your local chamber if you aren’t a member already?

If not, read this top 10 list of reasons why you should join your local chamber of commerce supplied by 10 local chambers across the United States.

  1. Membership brings credibility to your business. You can increase positive perception among consumers and business owners when you’re identified as a member of a chamber of commerce.
    Dearborn Chamber of Commerce in Michigan
  2. Increase your visibility in the community. As a new member of the chamber of commerce, you will be listed in the chamber newsletter, e-newsletter, on Facebook and have the opportunity to be highlighted in other chamber publications. You also can grow your business by advertising with the chamber and sponsoring events. The chamber may also promote your grand opening/ ribbon-cutting ceremony and assist with any public relations efforts.
    Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce in Texas
  3. Create networking opportunities. Chambers have numerous committees and serving on one of them provides numerous networking opportunities as well as professional leadership development. You can build your business while promoting developments of keen interest to local businesses and the community at large.
    – Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in Georgia
  4. Gain a voice in government. The local chamber takes on the tough issues and opposes new regulations, taxes, fees, assessments and costs directed at small businesses. It also helps protect the principles of free enterprise and aids businesses in being treated fairly.
    – Yuma Chamber of Commerce in California
  5. Make business contacts. The chamber’s most fundamental mission is to generate more business activity for the community. The chamber initiates more business-to-business commerce and more opportunities for networking and connecting local professionals than is available through most other local organizations.
    – Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce in South Carolina
  6. Receive chamber newsletters. Newsletters provide new member information, interesting information about operating a local business, articles about the local community, a community calendar and details about up-and-coming chamber events, among other things.
    – Teton Valley Chamber Of Commerce in Idaho
  7. Acquire customer referrals. Every day, your local chamber receives calls from individuals and businesses looking for potential vendors, and chamber members typically recommend chamber members.
    – Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce in Tennessee
  8. Chamber events and programs. Chamber events and programs provide members with great opportunities to get to know new people and expand their prospect base. Chamber events are innovative and fun ways to help members meet potential customers, clients and vendors— and generate new business leads.
    – Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce in California
  9. Promotion and publicity. With a chamber membership, you can reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity.
    – Pike County Chamber of Commerce in Illinois
  10. Access to members-only discounts and services. These differ from chamber to chamber. For example, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce in Oregon has a member-tomember discount program where a chamber member will receive $10 off any phone or accessory purchased from the local Verizon Wireless retailer in Sandy, which is a member of the chamber.
    – Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce in Oregon

Small businesses represent the largest segment by number of most local chamber membership rolls. Results in the research study by The Shapiro Group, Inc. and Market Street indicate the impact of local chamber membership on small businesses is very powerful. If a consumer knows a small business is a member of its local chamber, the business enjoys a 44 percent increase in its consumer favorability rating, a 51 percent increase in consumer awareness, a 57 percent increase in its local reputation and a 63 percent increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.

The table shows the impacts among key demographic and geographic subgroups.

Research indicates that chamber membership stimulates business-to-business commerce in the local community. Other businesses in town are more likely to do business with you and your company if you are a member of the local chamber. Because a major part of a small business typically comes from business-to-business services, it is essential to maintain a positive standing within the local business community.

But it takes time for a business to establish its image and reputation in the community, says Dr. Craig Shoemaker, a marketing professor and the chair of the marketing department at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He says people like doing business with companies they like and trust, but that trust must be earned.

“The more a firm is networked with its community, the quicker and easier it is to establish a trust bond with customers,” says Dr. Shoemaker.

Prior to his time at St. Ambrose, Dr. Shoemaker owned and operated a marketing services business in Phoenix, Arizona, which was a member of the local chamber of commerce. He says chamber membership was very beneficial to him and his marketing business.

“The chamber was a great place to network and meet people who shared a common interest in serving their community and their customers,” he says.

Dr. Shoemaker says all companies face common opportunities and problems. He found the chamber-sponsored “president’s roundtable” to be quite valuable.

“In these forums, you could discuss your challenges and problems to a group of people who understood and had faced many of the same issues,” he says. “There was a comfort in knowing that your situation was not unique.”

Ready to join your local chamber, if you aren’t already? Keep in mind, however, that you can’t just be a member of the local chamber to reap the benefits of chamber membership. Paying your annual dues just isn’t enough. You must also make an investment of time and effort in chamber activities and become involved. Simply put, what you get out of chamber membership is directly relative to what you put in.

“If a firm is to gain maximum value from membership, it must be an active participant in chamber-sponsored events,” Dr. Shoemaker says. “Chambers plan events so that its members benefit. Only by participation, can a firm get maximum benefit.”


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