Hardin Residential Historic District

The Lincoln Land Company, the development arm of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, purchased Crow Reservation allotments and platted the Hardin townsite on a sagebrush flat in 1907. Surveyor Carl Rankin—who later served two terms as the town’s mayor—sold the first lots in May. Buyers immediately ordered construction materials, and within a week, building began. The town took its name from Wyoming cattleman Samuel H. Hardin, who was a friend of the land company’s president. By fall the streets had been graded and the town took shape. Rankin named the streets, choosing numbers and words that began with the letter “C,” like Custer and Crow. He built his own residence on North Crow in this residential district—the second home in Hardin. Others followed suit, including livery owner W. E. Reno and bank founder E. A. Howell. Because there were no trees in sight, boosters billed the neighborhood as “cozy” with “plenty of space on every side to let in the air and sunlight.” The town incorporated in 1911. Dubbed “the City with a Reason” for its agricultural ties and hydroelectric potential, Hardin catered to local farms, including the Campbell Farming Corporation’s huge 95,000-acre wheat operation. Hardin’s residential district includes a church, library, and neighborhood grocery. The district’s importance, however, lies in the small-town rural architecture characteristic of the homestead boom. The well-preserved vernacular cottages and post-1910 Craftsman style bungalows visually reflect the shift from simple dwellings to defined architectural styles. This trend, common throughout the 1910s in the American West, is rarely so evident.

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Hardin's Residential Historic District includes the following parcels in the Hardin original Townsite: Block 3, Lots 17 and 18; all of Blocks 4-6. The individual properties are Block 15, Lot 3 and Block 15, Lot 4. Hardin, Montana ~ Private