Constructing the Hardy Dam, 1929-1931: Newaygo County, Michigan
Many of us have traveled to Hardy Dam to camp, to fish, to picnic, to hike, and to just relax by the water. So it’s about time we paid a little tribute to this structure (and place) that was built from the late 1920s to 1931.
The Hardy Dam is smack dab in the Muskegon River in Newaygo County. It’s the largest hydro-electric plant in the Mitten. Thanks to this dam, the river has backed up enough where it formed the Hardy Dam Pond. The great thing about this “pond” (I feel it’s more like a lake) is that with its 50 miles of shoreline, there are no homes, resorts, inns, or summer retreats to mar the scenery. Well, okay, not many…Oxbow Park has its own little neighborhood along the shore, that keeps the memory of the former town of Oxbow alive.
Aside from Oxbow Park, there is also the Hardy Dam Rustic Nature Trail, Consumers Beach & Park, the Dragon Trail, Sandy Beach, Sportsman Park, Breezy Knoll Park, Big Bend Park, and just seven miles south of Hardy Dam is the Croton Dam.
Construction on the dam began in 1929 by Fargo Engineering. By the end of 1931, the dam and power plant were ready to unleash on the public.
Okay, that’s all well and good, but why is it named the “Hardy” dam? After Oliver Hardy of ‘Laurel & Hardy’? Maybe after the exploits of the infamous ‘Hardy Boys’? Either one would be cool, but nope. The dam was named after George E. Hardy who co-oversaw the holding company (Commonwealth & Southern) that Consumers was involved with in the 1910s-1920s.
The photo gallery below shows quite a few pictures of the dam construction. What I find interesting is the captions found on these photos, referring to it as being in the town of ‘Oxbow’. Oxbow does not show up on old atlases and is one of Michigan’s elusive ghost towns. Take a look below!