The most westerly town in Caledonia County, Hardwick is not particularly mountainous. It's bordered by Greensboro to the north, Woodbury to the south, Walden to the east and Wolcott to the west.
The Lamoille River enters town very near the northeast corner and, historically, together with its tributaries provided excellent mill opportunities. The southeastern part of town is on the western slope of the eastern range of the Green Mountains. In its early days, the historic Bayley-Hazen Road served as the access road to Hardwick. Today, Route 15 connects Hardwick with several other Northeast Kingdom towns and links to larger Vermont towns such as Morrisville and Burlington. Route 15 also connects to Vermont Route 2 and St. Johnsbury and Montpelier, the state capital. Hardwick, chartered to Danforth Keyes on Aug. 19, 1781, is likely to have gotten its name from Hardwick, Mass., where some of Keyes’ associates lived. Hardwick’s first permanent settler, Mark Norris, arrived on May 16, 1788 and the first town meeting took place in March of 1795 in Norris’ home.
In 1798 Samuel Stevens located in what is now East Hardwick where he built the first grist and saw mills, as well as a building which has come to be known as “the Brick House.” He named this village Stevensville, and he served as town treasurer for 21 years. By 1885, Stevensville was a thriving community, boasting two general stores, two churches, a carriage factory, a saw mill, a grist mill and several dwellings. In 1846, the first post office was established at the village, by then called North Hardwick.
The first settlement in South Hardwick, now Hardwick village, was made by Capt. John Bridgman in 1795. The town grew rapidly from 1790 to 1860. The St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad opened in 1877. Hardwick was dependent on agriculture and was known as a trade center until the opening of granite quarries nearby.
Granite quarrying began in 1868, and for a while the town was known as the building granite capital of the world. The quarries provided granite for some of the most prominent buildings in the United States. The granite industry reached its peak in 1911. Operations continued through the 1920s and until 1934 on a small scale. During World War II, the tracks of the Hardwick to Woodbury railroad were taken up to be used for scrap metal in the war effort.
Hardwick is rich in farmland and in recent years developed into a regional center of organic agriculture. The town offers a range of dining options, and Hardwick Village has many beautiful Victorian-style buildings.
The Hardwick Trails system contains six miles of hiking trails and five miles of single track biking trails, winding through mixed woodland habitats. Community volunteers and donors provide the muscle and means to care for this recreation jewel that is groomed for winter skiing and mowed for summer use.