The Hardin Residential Historic District [‡] was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
The Hardin Residential District contains primarily single-family residences, the primary styles being simple vernacular and the Craftsman. Some of the vernacular houses have been modified, but retain sufficient integrity of materials, design, and craftsmanship to allow one to see the simple gabled or hipped forms of the first houses that were built in Hardin to provide basic shelter without an attempt to embrace the tenets of any particular style. Typical modifications include asbestos or hardboard siding or applied stucco finish to the exterior walls, enclosed porches, side and rear room and porch additions. A vernacular building has been judged to have retained sufficient integrity to qualify for listing as a contributing structure within the district when it dates from the historic period of significance and has retained the majority of its original historic fabric, detailing, original fenestration, form, and massing, although exterior walls may have been sheathed in non-historic materials.
The predominant early residential style in Hardin was the Craftsman style and it appeared shortly after 1910. Hardin's Craftsman houses exhibit typical elements of the style: one or 1-1/2 story wood frame construction, broad eaves decorated with exposed rafters, and brackets, and wall boards, projecting windows, wood shingle and clapboard siding, dormers, and ample porches—all arranged in a picturesque manner and set in the midst of a spacious yard. Almost all of the Craftsman style residences within the historic district have retained an extraordinary degree of historic architectural integrity.
The Hardin Residential Historic District exhibits two types of residences that clearly reflect Hardin's growth and development and that are distinctive types of residences found in rural agricultural towns of this period in Montana: the vernacular designs built by the first settlers in the community and, more prominently, the Craftsman style which gained clear ascendency in Hardin between 1910 and 1920. The Historic District also contains residences of individuals significant to Hardin's early history including Carl Rankin, who surveyed the townsite and was the first agent for the townsite company, and several of Hardin's early business owners.
The growth of residential neighborhoods in Hardin followed a lop-sided pattern. Although new residential subdivisions were filed with the county very soon after the town's founding and these newly platted areas surrounded the Original Townsite, residential development occurred primarily to the north and east of the commercial district. Further inventory work in Hardin may shed light on the reasons why the residential neighborhoods developed in this manner.
‡ Delores Luther, Hardin Residential Historic District, Big Horn County, MT, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.; focus.nps.gov, accessed February, 2017.
4th Street West • 5th Street West • Cody Avenue North • Crow Avenue North • Route 87