On a recent trip to Bullhead City, Arizona J and L (along with two of their four footed family members) happened onto an old cemetery perched high above the city. It sat just east of the Safeway shopping center and had a spectacular view of the mountains to the west, the Colorado River and the gambling meccas in Laughlin, Nevada.
|Overlooking a Safeway and beautiful sunset|
|A tranquil respite from a tough life in the Mohave Desert|
|Some of those buried in Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery|
|William Harrison Hardy|
The richest man at this time in Arizona was Edmund William Wells who was a businessman, politician and eventually would serve on the Arizona territorial Supreme Court.
|Boats plowed the Colorado River making Hardyville a busy port|
Hardy was also an inventor and is credited with creating the first riveted mail sack to be used by the United States Postal Service. A pretty good conception since he was also the first Postmaster General of the town of Hardyville.
As with all good things, Hardyville saw a sharp drop in business in the following twenty years with the coming of the railroads to Yuma, Arizona, the movement of the county seat to Cerbat (an up and coming mining district), and competition with other barge companies on the Colorado River. Soon the railroad got all the way to Needles, California knocking another huge money making opportunity for Hardy and fellow businessmen. Silver prices plummeted and many of the mining operations ceased to exist since it was no longer profitable to mine the ore.
Of course, like most old west towns, fire struck a few times turning much of the small town into cinders. Rebuilt but without the same enthusiasm as there once was left and the town getting smaller and smaller in population left the future a bit uncertain for Hardyville. There wasn't enough work to support a single man let alone a family so most people moved onto where the grass was supposedly greener.
At the turn of the twentieth century Hardyville was a ghost town sitting idle along the beautiful flowing waters of the Colorado River.
William Harrison Hardy left, moving to Yuma to oversee the construction of the territorial prison there and died of cancer in 1906 at his sister's house in Whittier at the age of either 82 or 83 (a bit of a discrepancy on his birth year). He is buried at the Broadway Cemetery in Whittier, California - seems somewhat unfair that he wasn't returned to the town he had founded but fairness isn't always a part of life or death.
|With Davis Dam came the modern day tourists|
Decades later, an engineering feat called the Bullhead Dam project, named after the 'Bulls Head Rock' formation along the Colorado River in the 1940's changed the area for good. Later renamed the Davis Dam creating the huge Mohave Lake to the north of what was once Hardyville.
With the huge construction project came numerous businesses to support the crews needed to build the dam which was finally completed in 1951. More businesses came into the area in the following years making the area more profitable and the name of Bullhead City came into being in 1953.
The rest is modern history.
Of course, with the development of the gambling mecca of Laughlin, Nevada along the blue waters of the Colorado River employment was no longer an issue. The population on both sides of the river continued to grow to their present sizes.
|Laughlin, Nevada - right across from what once was Hardyville|
William Harrison Hardy probably would never have dreamed that one day his little venture along a river in a pretty hostile climate would eventually become so well known. No, like those other folks buried int he Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery he didn't live long enough to see his dreams cone to fruition.
Just a fact - life's funny like that sometimes.
So, again - go out and travel and see what you can learn by accident. The explorer may be surprised what is in their own backyard.
For further information on the cemetery: