A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oliver Hardy's Home

Harlem, Georgia

I so wanted to see Oliver Hardy's home but I soon learned it is no longer there.  The local police station takes up the space, which is sort of ironic considering how often Laurel and Hardy got into trouble with the police.  Anyway, here is where the home once stood, behind the police station as indicated by the stone marker (looks like a tree stump) to the left of the Little House on the Highway.

Oliver's father died of a heart attack three days before Thanksgiving when Ollie was but ten months old.  His mother Emily moved the family several times during the next ten years finally settling in Milledgeville, Georgia. The house in Harlem was torn down after they left.  I was 121 years too late.

Emily managed the Baldwin Hotel in Milledgeville and visiting vaudeville troops would stay at the hotel.  Being around these performers is what tweaked Oliver's interest in the business.  In 1918 he left for Hollywood, worked for various studios, met Stan Laurel and the rest is history as one of the greatest comedy teams there ever was making 106 movies together.

Plaque on the side of the police station.  

So little Harlem is making the best of that brief ten months just as even smaller Piqua, Kansas is with Buster Keaton being born there while his parent's travelling vaudeville team passed through town.  And how did the Buster Keaton museum turn out?  I think the ladies did a fine job.

As I look over this picture I instantly see that on just these two walls alone they have more photographs Buster than the much larger Laurel and Hardy museum had of the pair.
But then again, there was so much "stuff".
When I pulled up to the Water Works Department in Piqua, nothing had changed since I was there last, seven months ago.  The lady got up from her desk when she heard the bell on the door tinkle as I opened it.    I thought to myself  Is she one of the ladies who I met back then?  She came forward and immediately said "Oh you were here before."
I'm just one of those unforgettable people...or they just don't get that many visitors.


  1. plenty of memorabilia for you to soak up John. You must be someone worth remembering :) ...

  2. I assume that Oliver Hardy was 10 when his birth house was demolished so not famous on that moment. Can't blame Harlem for it. Still they made the best of it afterwards. Nice posting again.

  3. I am sure the lady regonized you, you must have made an overwhelming impression!

  4. There's a house at Pearl Harbor with a similar plaque, Jimmy Carter lived there.

  5. someday, maybe you'll have a plaque in your honor somewhere... :)

  6. Thanks for sharing this John... Stan Laurel was from Ulverston, Cumbria in the Lake District not too far from me and there is a museum about the pair of them. I walked part of the Cumbria Trail that starts in the town during 2001 without a camera to record the event... I must put that right sometime.

  7. Too bad the house was not there.

  8. It's never occurred to me to wonder where Hardy was born. Consequently I find myself completely surprised that it was in Georgia. Thanks for the education and for giving the museum ladies something to do.

  9. I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy. I didn't know where they were from or when they died, thank you for the information. What a fabalous trip you made with Sinbad.


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