About the R. J. Hardy Elementary School
The cornerstone for the original Hardy School was laid in its present location at 52 Lake Street in the spring of 1925. It was built on the site of the former home of Rodney Joel Hardy, a much admired Arlington businessman and community leader, in whose honor the school is named.
By January 1926 the sixteen-room school was completed and ready for use. Hardy was the first school erected on the south side of Massachusetts Avenue, allowing students living in that neighborhood to attend school without having to cross the avenue. In the days before traffic lights and crossing guards, this was considered a significant benefit to children’s safety.
The simple brick and sandstone exterior that faces Lake Street today was a purposeful design: the building committee wanted to invest as much as possible into the interior of the school, giving the education of Hardy’s children the highest priority.
It would seem their vision was realized. According to a November 1925 Boston Globe article, the Hardy School was “modern in every way.” The building was completed and classrooms furnished for a total of $210,000.
Hardy Elementary was the first school building in Arlington to be completely fireproofed. The school boasted a 300-seat auditorium with a balcony of 50 additional seats and a stage with a purple velvet curtain. The children and their teachers had use of the auditorium during the day. In the evenings special doors closed the auditorium off from the rest of the school turning it into a community theater. Of particular pride was the purchase of an "Orthophonic Victrola,” the very latest in sound technology and the first generation of the record players yet to come.
The original façade still faces Lake Street, augmented by additions outside and renovations inside. The most recent renovations were completed in the fall of 2001, over 75 years after the original school opened its doors to the children of East Arlington. The inscription placed on the original façade so long ago still guides the work of all who enter: "To a Child the Deepest Reverence is Due ", and "Here we train hand, mind, and heart, for the common good".