Discovering Hardman: Oregon’s Ghost Town

Hardman is located in the picturesque landscape of Oregon, a ghost town that once thrived as a freighting center in the late 19th century. The town’s history is steeped in the pioneering spirit of David Hardman, who first homesteaded the area in the 1870s.

Despite its decline after the railroad bypassed it, Hardman remains a testament to the enduring spirit of small-town America and attracts visitors seeking to explore its rich past.

Today, Hardman is home to a small population of 35 full-time residents and a handful of out-of-state property owners who cherish the town’s peacefulness and sense of community.

The town’s refurbished town hall and historical society serve as a reminder of its heyday, and its remaining buildings offer a glimpse into what life was like during its early years.

This article will delve into Hardman’s history, population, infrastructure, and other interesting facts that make it a must-visit destination for those interested in the American West’s pioneering history.

Key Takeaways

  • Hardman was a prosperous freighting center in the 1870s but its decline began when the railroad bypassed the town in favor of Heppner.
  • Hardman is now a ghost town with a steady population of 35 full-time residents and about 25 out-of-state property owners who are friendly but reserved.
  • The town has no services but residents are willing to help, and Heppner, located 20 miles northeast on Highway 207, is the nearest place for services.
  • Hardman is home to the Hardman Historical Society and association, and the town hall hosts hunter’s breakfasts during hunting season and potluck dinners for town residents once a month.

Location and History

Located approximately 20 miles south of Heppner on Highway 207, Hardman was once a thriving freighting center in the 1870s. However, its decline began when the railroad decided to bypass it and instead chose Heppner as its destination. This significant economic impact signaled the death-knell of Hardman as a major town, resulting in its designation as a ghost town.

Today, Hardman remains a quintessential ghost town with many buildings still standing. Exploring the ruins of this once prosperous town provides a glimpse into its history and the stories of its former residents.

Despite this designation, Hardman still has a steady population of 35 full-time residents and about 25 out of state property owners.

Population and Infrastructure

With a steady population of 35 full-time residents and approximately 25 out of state property owners, Hardman does not have any services within the town itself. However, the community is known to be very supportive of each other. The residents rely on nearby Heppner, located 20 miles Northeast on Highway 207, for their daily needs. The nearest services to Hardman are located there, including grocery stores, gas stations, and medical facilities.

The community centre has undergone minor renovations, and the town hall building has been refurbished with the help of around 60 thousand dollars from the state. It is home to the Hardman Historical Society and association, and they have monthly potluck dinners for town residents. The town hall building also hosts hunter’s breakfasts during hunting season.

Hardman faces many challenges despite its small population due to its remote location and lack of services. The town has no schools, hospitals, or public transportation. Therefore, residents rely on their own vehicles or the goodwill of their neighbors to get around. The town’s infrastructure is minimal, with no paved roads, streetlights, or public parks. Moreover, the town’s economy is mainly driven by agriculture, and there are limited opportunities for employment or business growth.

Nonetheless, the residents of Hardman continue to maintain their community through their support for each other and their dedication to preserving the town’s historical significance.

Other Interesting Facts

One interesting fact about Hardman is that it was not the only town vying to establish a post office in the area. Raw Dog and Yellow Dog were two small towns competing for the stagecoach depot in their locale. When it was learned that a post office was to be established, it was decided that Raw Dog would be the place because it had a few more people than Yellow Dog. Raw Dog eventually became the town of Hardman, named after David Hardman who had homesteaded the site.

Today, Hardman is home to the Hardman Historical Society and association. The society hosts potluck dinners for town residents once a month and is dedicated to preserving the town’s history. The remains of Raw Dog and Yellow Dog can still be seen in the area, and the inhabited homes in Hardman have been restored to their original clapboard for the most part, amid fallen-down structures and various old vehicle remnants.

While the competition between Raw Dog and Yellow Dog may have been forgotten, the history of Hardman is still alive and well thanks to the efforts of the Hardman Historical Society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the closest airport to Hardman?

The closest airport options to Hardman, Oregon, are the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton, approximately 70 miles away, or the Portland International Airport, approximately 200 miles away. Transportation methods include rental cars and taxis.

Are there any ghost stories associated with the town?

No evidence of paranormal encounters or local legends associated with Hardman ghost town have been reported. The town’s history is rich, but its inhabitants are friendly yet reserved, and the focus is on preserving its historical significance.

Has any famous person ever visited or lived in Hardman?

While Hardman may be a charming ghost town, it’s unlikely that any famous visitors or notable residents have ever graced its quiet streets. The town’s history is rooted in its hardworking and humble community, rather than celebrity glamour.

Are there any plans to revive the town or bring in new businesses?

Revitalization efforts and economic opportunities have not been discussed in regards to Hardman. The town’s steady population of 35 and lack of services make it unlikely for new businesses to establish themselves.

What is the average age of the full-time residents in Hardman?

The full-time residents of Hardman have an average age that is unknown. However, the population demographics consist of 35 full-time residents and 25 out-of-state property owners. The town hosts community events such as potluck dinners and hunter’s breakfasts.

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