Hardyville's Coffinslide

Bullhead City, located across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada, was once known as Hardyville. It was named for William Harrison Hardy, who has been credited with the world-altering invention of the riveted mail sack, and it served as the first seat of Mohave County before the town dried up around the turn of the century.

Today, only two things remain that remind us of Hardyville's existence. The first is an unofficial historical marker in the parking lot of the Bullhead City Safeway. The second, a somewhat more interesting relic, is the Hardyville Pioneer Cemetery directly across the street.

The cemetery, located atop a steep incline above Highway 95, consists of about 15 stone-covered graves. More bodies may lie below, but the locations of many who were buried there have been lost to time. Consequently, so have most of their names.

Among the mere five people to be positively identified, thankfully, is William J. Tuttle, whose absurd death is still remembered. As a local stagecoach driver, Tuttle carried passengers to the Colorado River, where it was his responsibility to summon a ferry by firing his gun into the air. In 1867, one of his passengers thoughtfully decided to save Tuttle a bullet, firing the signal for him and accidentally shooting Tuttle in the back of the head.

Yet, more humiliating is what happened to Tuttle and his fellow departed long after their interment. As legend tells it, the region suffered a torrential downpour sometime in the recent past, so heavy and so merciless that it completely soaked the city's normally dry ground.

The deluge consequently washed out the embankment holding up Hardyville's former residents, and by all accounts, sent coffins and their inhabitants tumbling gruesomely onto the roadway below. The city supposedly installed the concrete retaining wall to avoid any further traffic jams.

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