IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items


Misc. histories & photos

Hardin c1910

This picture of Hardin, taken about 1910 by Rex Hinman, was located, on the original plat, partly in Allamakee County and partly in Clayton. The owners at the time of platting, January 9, 1854, were Leonard B. Hodges and Joseph and Almirah Collins over the line. This was a point of some note for a number of years prior ro this date, it being one of four pst offices in Allamakee County in 1851, the others being Postville, Lansing, and Tom Corwin (later Johnsport). The postmaster at that date was L.B. Hodges. Additions were platted in 1856, Hardin Center in 1857, East Hardin in 1859; but were mostly vacated and the village was no larger when this picture was taken than 30 years previous. There was at one time a large grist mill located on the Clayton side of the line. The first school in Post Township was at Hardin and was built of oak logs, 16 x 20 in the fall of 1849, mainly by the efforts of Leonard B. Hodges of Hardin who also taught the first school there. The last school held in the house was taught by Wm Larrabee of Clermont. Today all that remains are a few crumbled foundations.

- source of photo & article: newspaper clipping, unknown paper
- contributed by Debra Richardson

Ledger of D. Dickerson

A ledger kept by David Dickerson, operator of one of the general stores in Hardin a hundred years ago, 1865, shows that some items of merchandise were quite costly in those times. It was near the end of the civil war when some commodities were scarce and ready cash was hard to get. Kerosene was $1.30 a
gallon. Sugar was 20 cents a pound, tea $2.50, black tea $1.80, and coffee 60 cents. Home made butter sold for 35 cents a pound. He had a stock of yard goods some of which were flannel $1.00 a yard, black dress silk $1.75, and cambric .35. School books were reasonable, arithmetic 25 cents, primer 20 cents, speller 20 cents and a slate 15 cents.

Dickerson was postmaster from 1861 to 1867 with the post office in his store. Postage for letters was three cents.

Among the customers mentioned were the familiar names which show the scope of territory from which his trade came: James Mather, Reuben Smith, Wells Eaton, John McGhee, George Lull, D. Jamison, Charles Bates, Alonzo Thorton, C. C. Sawyer, M. L. McMaster, Matt Ervin, J. B. McWilliams, James Cayton, P. G. Bailey, Richard Pearson, Wm. Strickland, Wm. H. Buttolph, S. H. Oathout, Worden Tuller, Nathan Lamborn, Robert Dickson, W. J. Bellows, N. J. Beedy, Charles Bloxham, Charles Burnham, John Land, Duncan McDonald, and Ed Topliff.

This part of the record is from Mrs. Miles Taylor in Kansas. Miles is the grandson of LaMotte and Lizzie Barnes Taylor, well known resident of this community many years ago.

- source of article: newspaper clipping, unknown paper
- contributed by Mary Durr

A Once Thriving Town

Village of Hardin Between Luana and Postville was Thriving Place in Early Days

What is said to be the largest abstract ever written in Clayton County has just been drawn up for F.C. Parnell of McGregor by Attorney A.J. Palas at Elkader. It contains sixty typewritten pages, 150 instruments are recorded, 300 others were examined and Mr. Parnell paid a bill of $130.42 before the instrument was handed over to him. The land covered in the abstract is th abandoned townsite of the former village of Hardin between Luana and Postville.

In the early days a thriving village existed at Hardin. The town was a halfway station for the settlers of northestern Iowa in their journeys to and from McGregor where they were obliged to carry their produce for shipment by boat. There were five general stores doing a flourishing business at Hardin in those days, a half dozen blacksmith shops, a hotel and a variety of other business places with quite a collection of dwellings.
Many believed that Hardin was destined to be the biggest town in the northern part of the state and town lots sold at boom prices.

Then the railroad passed Hardin two miles and a half away, and the inevitable happened. The flourishing village died a rapid death. It was only a short time before the plow was running corn furrows through the grass grown streets. Nothing now remains of the former town but the church.

Thirty-five years ago Mr. Parnell's father-in-law, Nelson McGee, bought thirty-eight acres about the townsite. Though he has been in possession of it and farmed the land since, a clear title had never been obtained until the piece was recently sold and Mr. Parnell had to furnish an abstract. It was discovered that two early surveys of town lots overlapped each other and that the plotting of two additions to the town later had so further mixed things up that many days of labor were required to straighten out the tangle.

- article source: McGregor newspaper article, March 2, 1914
- contributed by Debra Richardson

Hardin History

In 1851 only four post offices were existing in Allamakee Co. ..... Hardin - Lansing - Tom Corwin - Postville. In the early 1850's Hardin was the most important and flourishing inland town in north east Iowa. By 1855 Hardin had five general stores - a large steam grist mill - a big tavern - even a race track for horses. Hardin's location was 4 1/2 miles east of Postville on an old military trail from McGregor to Fort Atkinson. When the railroad routed 2 mi. south, the town of Hardin that had 900 people could not survive change. Postville with 600 people reaped benefit, as did Luana. In the early 1900's there were still several stores besides the church, a very large tavern, a grocery store and a casket store. One of the early doctors was Dr. Green who came to Hardin in 1856. He was a brother to Mrs. Lemuel Leet, grandmother of Lulu Leet Livingood. He later moved to Postville to practice and also his son became a doctor in Postville. The first school house in Allamakee Co., in Hardin was founded in 1849. Suzie Batchelder taught 1904-1905. The Hardin school closed about 1915.

- source: Allamakee Co. History, 1989
- contributed by Debra Richardson

Remember ...

The Old Hardin Hotel

The Village of Hardin was surveyed in January, 1854, by S.P. Hicks, County surveyor for Leonard B. Hodges. The town was named after Colonel Hardin of Illinois. Previous to the sruvey and platting of the village, a store and several dwelling houses had been erected and the prospect was deemed good for the building up of a most flourishing town. Surrounded by a splendid agricultural country which was fast filling up with enterprising people, everything seemed to favor the owners of the land and caused them to make an effort to win a prize by this sale of town lots and affording a market for the large amount of produce that would be raised by the farmers in the neighborhood. The first store was opened by A.D. Frazer, one of the original proprietors of the place in 1851. This may be said to be the beginning of the new town. With the growth of the town the mercantile trade increased so that in 1855 there were five stores while at the same time all other trades were represented. No town in the northern part of the state was then in a more flourishing condition. Hardin was located on one of the main arteries of travel to the northwest and was a popular port of call and trading point before the coming of the railroad. The building of the railroad about two miles south left it "out in the cold," and from that time forward it began to decline.

- source of article & photo: "Remember ...", No. 34 in a Series; Central State Bank, Elkader, St. Olaf, Volga; unknown date.
- contributed by Debra Richardson

Cooling Embers ...

Towns die. America's landscape is marked by this indisputable fact of the development of the United States. The reasons vary, of course, but many of the ghost towns owe their demise to the spread of railroads in the last half of the 19th century. The tracks brought economic booms to many areas, but not all. One such town was Hardin, once the most flourishing town on this part of the state. There were already a few successful stores there when S.P. Hicks, the state surveyor for this area, laid out the town's boundaries in 1854. The first school in Allamakee County was built in Hardin in 1849--the future governor of Iowa, William Larabee, taught there--and a post office was established a year later. Located partially in Allamakee and partially in Clayton County, Hardin appeared to be a town with a future.

Fading Memories...

But Hardin was to have no future. The town was "left out in the cold" when the railroad was built two miles south of town about 1860. The decline was quick. The town had little more than memories left by the turn of the century. A few weeks ago, one of the last reminders of the town, a regal brick house over 120 years old, was purposefully burned so it could be razed. Ewald and Loren Walch needed the area for planting. Like the light from cooling embers, memories of Hardin fade with each passing day.

- source of photos & articles: newspaper clipping, unknown paper, unknown date
- contributed by Debra Richardson

.... but never forgotten

Hardin 2000
photographer Debra Richardson

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