Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PARDEE, Ario, philanthropist, born in Chatham, New York, 19 November, 1810. He received a common-school education, and then turned his attention to engineering. His first work was on the construction of the Delaware and Raritan canal in New Jersey, during 1830-'3, after which he went to Pennsylvania and had charge of an engineering corps, running the line for the Beaver Meadow railroad. In 1836 he began the Hazleton railroad, and settling there in 1840 opened coal-mines which, being located in the mammoth vein of the anthracite field, proved exceedingly valuable. In 1848 he built a gravity railroad to Penn Haven, a distance of fourteen miles, as an outlet for the product of these mines, but in 1854 the Lehigh Valley railroad was opened, which, with its improved facilities, caused the abandonment of the old road in 1860. Subsequently he became interested in iron manufacture, and he is now (1888) owner of blast-furnaces at various localities in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Tennessee. At the beginning of the civil war in 1861 he fitted out a military company for the National service at his own expense, with which his eldest son, Ario Pardee, Jr., served and attained the brevet rank of brigadier-general on 12 January, 1865. Mr. Pardee became interested in Lafayette college in 1864, and through the influence of William C. Cattell, then president of the college, he gave $20,000 for the endowment of a professorship. At that time this amount was the largest sum that had been given by one person to any educational institution in Pennsylvania. He soon increased his gift until in 1869 it amounted to $200,000, and upon this basis was first established a new curriculum of scientific and technical studies. A new building being needed, Mr. Pardee for this purpose made a further gift of $250,000, to which he afterward added $50,000 for it, s scientific equipment, thus increasing his donations to $500,000. The building, shown in the accompanying illustration, was erected and called Pardee Hall in his honor. It was regarded when finished as "the largest and most complete scientific college building in the United States," and was formally dedicated in October, 1873. It was burned in 1879, but has been rebuilt. Mr. Pardee is a director of several railroads, including the Lehigh Valley road, and, besides being an active officer in various charitable organizations, is president of the state board that has the oversight and control of the second geological survey of Pennsylvania. He was a presidential elector in 1876, and since 1882 has been president of the board of trustees of Lafayette college.
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