About This Blog

This blog is based on an article compiled by the Hobart Historical Society in 1979 and entitled, "Downtown Hobart." As I gather from its introductory remarks, "Downtown Hobart" relied largely on oral history and observation; it may be subject to error, but it is an invaluable collection of memories and also serves as a snapshot of downtown Hobart in 1979.

I have made very few changes to the original text. For the sake of clarity, I added street addresses, gleaned mostly from old phone directories; where those failed me, I simply wandered around downtown and tried to match existing buildings to descriptions in the article — with varying success, as you will see. I have not updated the language, so please remember, as you read the text, that words like "now," "today," and "currently" mean 1979, not 2011. (But the small photos to the right of the text in the main blog are from 2011.)

Here is the preamble to the original article:
The years have brought many changes to Downtown Hobart, but in the almost century and a half since the first little store was opened, the commercial area has not been extended to any great degree. Businesses have changed hands, a few buildings have been razed and new ones built. There has been a good deal of remodeling, but little change of pace.

We have begun a history of Downtown Hobart with a bit of oral history, interviewing "old-timers" who remember "way back when" or have "heard tell." There are undoubtedly errors as memories do falter; however, this should be a springboard for further research, documentary or in-depth, before the history of Downtown Hobart is lost in antiquity. If you have additional information [or images], drop a note to the Hobart Historical Society [or add a comment to this blog, or email me at Ainsworthiana@gmail.com].

In 1847 when George Earle built his grist mill and opened for business in a town he platted and called "Hobart" for a brother in England, it, with a saw mill, trading post and one-room school, was the nucleus around which the commercial community grew. Blue clay and abundant timber as well as the fertile farm lands were factors in the early life of the town.

A number of enterprises — a foundry, pottery, factories, brick yards, etc. — were started within a mile or two of downtown Hobart, but as large industrial complexes were developed in neighboring areas, Hobart's small industries faded. The winding river and pleasant surroundings were attractive locations for homes, and Hobart became the comfortable home community it now is. Downtown Hobart continues to serve the city of homes.
If I have any historical images relating to a particular location in downtown Hobart, you will find links to them at the end of the blog entry describing that location.

The information presented in this blog is clearly a bare-bones outline — a "springboard for further research," as the original writers called it. I am by no means an authority on Hobart's history; I simply wanted to make this information, and these wonderful images, accessible to people for whom a visit to the Hobart Historical Society museum is not practical. (Please note that this blog is privately operated and the Hobart Historical Society is not responsible for its contents.)

Special thanks to Bonnie for alerting me to the existence of this article in the first place, compiling an index of names mentioned in it, tracking down links to relevant historical images and providing some additional images from her own collection.

Thanks also to R.F., vintage-car connoisseur, for helping me to estimate dates for several images based on the cars in them.