17 Facts About Ario Pardee


Ariovistus Pardee was an American engineer, coal baron, philanthropist, and director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


Ario Pardee was a major benefactor of Lafayette College to which he donated over $500,000, and had a building on campus named after him.


Ario Pardee was a descendant of George Pardee, who immigrated from England to the New Haven Colony by 1644.


Ario Pardee was taught by his father while working on the farm and received some formal education in engineering from a schoolhouse in town run by the Presbyterian minister, Moses Hunter.


In 1829, Ario Pardee left New York to work as a rodman on the construction of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.


Ario Pardee often referred to this job as the key turning point in his life.


In 1840, Ario Pardee began buying land in Hazleton, believing it to contain more coal than its current operators realized.

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Ario Pardee formed his own coal mining company with business partner John Gillingham Fell, who would later go on to become the president of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


The land Ario Pardee purchased turned out to sit on an incredibly valuable vein of anthracite, and the company began setting up mines to extract the valuable coal.


In 1848, Ario Pardee built a gravity railroad to ship his coal, which was later connected to the greater Lehigh Valley railroad.


The effect of this new industry transformed Hazleton from a cluster of houses to a populated town, and Ario Pardee personally helped found many banks, churches, schools, and libraries, thus being credited as the founder of Hazleton.


Ario Pardee was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1867.


In 1864, Cattell visited Hazleton at the invitation of Ario Pardee to deliver a sermon, and afterwards Cattell explained to Ario Pardee the financial situation the college was in.


That same day Ario Pardee gave a gift of $20,000, for the school's use, which was at the time the largest sum ever given to an educational institution in Pennsylvania.


Shortly after its creation, the college realized the need for a new building on campus to house its growing scientific program and Ario Pardee made another gift of $250,000 to construct this new building.


Ario Pardee was a member of the Board of Trustees to Lafayette College for 27 years, and served as its president from 1881 to 1892.


Now a widower with four young children, Ario Pardee hired a governess, Anna Maria Robison, to help him raise his children.