OK—Although Hardy and land surrounding it were not a part of the Cherokee
Strip, they have played a major role in the development of Kay County. The land west of the Arkansas River was the reservation for the Kaw Indians.
was organized by industrialists from Arkansas City to serve the people on the
reservation. It was located on the Midland Valley railroad in the north end
of the reservation, 3 miles from the Kansas line. It was named for General
W. E. Hardy, aged secretary of the Kaws. His first home was in Hardy. The
land upon which the town was located was 240 acres of what was known as
“dead” or inherited Indian land. A certain number of residents were needed
before the town could be incorporated so the railroad workers were counted as
residents in order for Hardy to qualify as an incorporated town.
February 1, l906, at 4:30 p.m., the first train ran on the Midland Valley
Railroad and was run into Hardy. The arrival of the train was the occasion
for a celebration. The track force stayed in Hardy several days before
moving the camp north to Silverdale, KS. An impressive feature of the
railroad building was the long trestle south of Hardy over Myers Creek. The
first trestle was of wood and required 5600,00 feet of lumber, 20 tons of
bolts and nails. The next trestle was built of steel and was 86 feet wide and 685 feed long. The disappearance of the
old rail line in 1969 marked the end of an era that helped develop Osage County and that also provided a rail outlet from Arkansas City into the Kaw Indian
country for trade purposes. The site of the trestle is still visible.
was surrounded by a cattleman’s paradise. At first, the bluestem grass
growing as high as a horse’s back was home for big ranches. The coming of the
railroad saw the big pastures divided and the allotments of Indians were sold
of head of cattle were shipped in trainloads from Texas and fattened before
shipping on to Kansas. During shipping season, the cattle roundups would
start at 4 a.m. and finish around 11 or 12 p.m.
the early days there were several business houses including the Hardy bank, three general stores, two
hotels, two pool halls, a barbershop, a livery stable, lumber yard and
hardware store, blacksmith shop, a confectionery, a saloon and two grain
elevators. A medical doctor also doubled as a dentist but business wasn’t
very good so he left.
first schoolhouse was a wooden frame building. It was soon outgrown and a
brick building was built beside it. Both were destroyed by fire. The last
school consisted of 2 classrooms and an auditorium that was used by the
last structure remaining in Hardy in 1968 was the jail. The jail was a small
square building made from railroad ties with a corrugated roof. It had 3
small windows and a door all of which had iron bars. The jail was given to
the Cherokee Strip Museum and is one of the main attractions at the museum