It’s been a long time in the coming, but the final phase to the Hartford City High School Memorial located in Airedale Park should be completed this week.
Graduates of the high school, which was in operation from 1904 to 1969, will now be able to view their names engraved on one of eight granite plaques that are installed along the walls of the HCHS Memorial.
According to Nick Rhodes, an organizer of the Hartford City Airedales Committee, fundraising began in July 2017 to raise the $27,000 cost for the eight plaques. The committee was formed as a not-for-profit organization to keep the school’s memory alive by raising funds to erect the Memorial.
The Hartford City High School was torn down and replaced by Blackford High School, which is located along State Road 3, north of Hartford City. BHS began operating in the fall of 1969.
Workers from SA Boyce of Muncie worked most of last week and this week to install the granite plaques. The Memorial is located just east of the City Building at 700 N. Walnut St.
This summer, an estimated 300 alumni of Hartford City High School gathered for the sixth time in as many years at Airedale Park to reminisce.
Hartford City Mayor Ben Hodgin has officially proclaimed the last Saturday in the month of July as Hartford City High School Alumni Day. Hodgin stated that “continuing effort to revitalize and preserve Hartford City’s heritage” was in the best interest of the city’s residents.
“We hope this park will come alive with stories of school and classmates…. forever be shared with future generations…” Hodgins stated in the proclamation.
Rhodes asked those in attendance to offer their feedback as to the future of the reunion, such as should the site be changed? Would a big dinner in the evening be preferable?
“We are going to do it at least one more time,” Rhodes told his fellow classmates, noting that next year it would be his 50th reunion for his graduating class. A 1969 graduate, Rhodes was among the last class to have graduated from the high school.
The alumni reunion is held in conjunction with the SummerFest Arts Festival, also held each year on the last Saturday of July. Sponsored by Tori’s Butterfly Garden Foundation, The SummerFest Arts Festival features a day full of events on the courthouse square in downtown Hartford City.