WHO WAS RICHARD HARDY?
- The man who inspired what would become Richard Hardy Memorial School was born June 29, 1868, in Pentwater, Michigan. Orville Richard Hardy studied education at the University of Michigan and graduated in 1891.
- A superintendent of schools in Escanaba and then Ishpeming, Mich., he left education to work as a salesman with Prang Educational Co. for four years. He was a director with New York Life Insurance Co. when he was recruited to help organize the Dixie Portland Cement Co. in Deptford, Tenn. Plant construction began in 1906. In 1914, he became president of Dixie Portland Cement, the heart of a company town that became Richard City.
- He received the cooperation of Dixie Portland to build a school to honor employees who had served in World War I. The school was Dixie Portland Memorial, which opened in 1926 and was hailed as a model for other administrators and school planners. The school was renamed Richard Hardy Memorial, and a plaque in the lobby honors those veterans.
- Richard Hardy also lived in Chattanooga. In October 1923, he was chosen to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Alexander W. Chambliss, who was appointed to the state Supreme Court. Hardy served as mayor until April 1926. Hardy Elementary School in Chattanooga is named in his honor.
- Richard Hardy moved to New York City in 1926 after being named chairman of the board of Pennsylvania-Dixie Cement Corp., which was
- created after the merger of the Marion County and four other Dixie sites with other large cement companies in the eastern United States.
- Richard Hardy died August 14, 1927, in New York City after a short illness. He was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.
Historical Dates of Note
- April 28, 1926: Dedication services are held for Dixie Portland Memorial School, built at a cost of $243,000.
- August 14, 1927: Founder Richard Hardy dies. The school name is later changed to Richard Hardy Memorial School.
- September 30, 1982: Richard Hardy Memorial School is named to the National Register of Historic Places.
- June 3, 1985: Dixie Cement Co. gives Richard Hardy Memorial School to the Richard City Board of Education for the sum of $1.
- 1995: The school adds grades nine through 12.
- 2001: As the school celebrates its 75th anniversary, the facility’s electrical wiring and plumbing are upgraded. A central heat and air system is added.
- 2006: The school builds a new gym with classrooms above and a new cafeteria.
- 2016: The school celebrates its 90th anniversary. Commemorative skillets made by Lodge are available for purchase.
Historic photos and information are from school archives.