Our town died a senseless death this year, after suffering from buyout for several years. Cardin actually began in 1913, when a man named McConnell started mining on an allotment (160 acres) of Felicia (Cardin) Kenoyer. At that time, miners set up a camp of tents and hastily erected “shacks” and called it “McConnell Mines”. Later, as it grew, it was renamed “Tar River” after the nearby Tar Creek. It was officially named in 1918 as Cardin when it was incorporated. The name came from William Oscar Cardin, who gave/sold a 40 acre allotment to the town. The town occupied land belonging to Felicia, Sarah (Cardin) (Staton) Corbett, Hum-Bah-Wat-Tah Quapaw, and John Beaver. Of course, the post office was still named Tar River until 1920, so it’s hard to pin down an exact date of birth. Some say Cardin died in 1938, when hard times caused it to de-incorporate, but, in spite of being undermined shortly thereafter, the town survived.
The Cardin area produced many tons of lead and zinc in its day. At one time being the world’s largest producer of lead and zinc. Cardin also had many ups and downs, from three theatres and two banks, two or three lumber yards, several groceries, and many mining related business to no stores at all. Mining companies came and went, businesses came and went, but Cardin survived.
Cardin was dealt a near fatal blow in the fifties. The reduction of import tariffs on lead and zinc in 1953 resulted in the closure in 1957 of Eagle-Picher mining in the area. Unemployment and lack of income closed many businesses. The resultant migration to Grants, NM to continue in the mining industry included many long time residents. But once more, Cardin survived. Most people today do not realize that overseas competition for jobs reaches back more than fifty years.
Cardin also produced many outstanding people. Contrary to current media craze about lead making you retarded, Cardin kids who walked the railroad tracks gathering lead to shoot in their “beanie-flippers” grew up to be doctors, lawyers, judges, musicians, teachers, and other fine professionals.
Cardin was preceded in death by two step children, Whitebird and Stringtown. Survivors are many and varied.
No services are planned.