Originally created 07/17/02

Harlem should save Hardy's home



It's about time that the city of Harlem, Ga., is finally doing something to honor Oliver Norvell Hardy Jr., other than the festival it holds once a year (The Chronicle, July 3, Metro).

It may come as a surprise to people like Oliver Hardy Committee member Linda Caldwell that Mr. Hardy was so famous here and abroad and, even now, remains as such. Along with Stan Laurel, they were the first great Hollywood motion-picture comedy team. Prior to being teamed with Mr. Laurel, Oliver Hardy traveled the United States performing vaudeville acts and singing, and he had been in silent comedies since 1913.

When I first came to this area, I wanted to visit the birthplace of Mr. Hardy. I had read somewhere that his home was on Louisville Road in Harlem but while driving, I did not come upon it. I inquired at a local convenience store as to the whereabouts of Mr. Hardy's home. ... No one there had a clue as to who I was asking about, yet the sign at the entrance to the town states "Home of Oliver Hardy."

Finally, I stopped at the police station and was told that the home used to be on Louisville Road but was moved in favor of a coin-operated laundry. The home was now located on Freeman Harris Road. Freeman Harris Road was a dirt road ...

The house was shrouded in trees with no access path. I really wanted to get a closer look and risked walking through trees and undergrowth. It was a complete disgrace, and it saddened me to see the home of such a fine entertainer neglected and forgotten.

I cannot believe that it has taken Harlem this long to realize what a great person and wonderful comedian Mr. Hardy was. The committee has just begun to tap into this resource...

Now the town needs to do something about Mr. Hardy's home that is rotting away. It should have been moved someplace feasible within the town limits instead of to a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It could have been made into this museum or even a bed and breakfast. Attracting tourists could make this venture quite lucrative...

R. Angeletti, Waynesboro, Ga.