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Images of

Downtown Hobart


Photos by Tim Arends

While several buildings in downtown Hobart Indiana have been altered over the years, downtown Hobart still retains much of its historic charm. The downtown area enjoys a high occupancy rate, yet has a generally adequete supply of parking.

While the downtown suffered for a while after the establishment of large shopping malls nearby, downtown business people learned that the key to survival is to specialize. In downtown Hobart one will find such unusual businesses as a diver's supply store and a magic shop, along with old standbys such as furniture stores, jewelry stores and restaurants.

Apparently, many downtown businesses have recently received tax credits for refurbishing their storefronts as part of a general downtown Hobart rehabilitation, including the rehabilitation of the lakefront park. The city poured more than $2.5 million into transforming the eastern shoreline of Lake George from a rocky eyesore to a waterfront park with a walking path, picnic area and fishing pier.

Unfortunately, storefront owners were not being given education in historically sensitive rehabilitation, with the result that still more buildings were "modernized," with unfortunate results.

But possible good news came from the Hobart Industrial Economic Development Corp., a private development group, which has set aside $26,000 to help businesses pay for architectural design.

Restoring the original facades of downtown buildings would make the business district more attractive, says architect Bob Collins, president of Fred Collins Architect Inc., who is working with HIEDC. "The true architecture of many buildings including detailed brick work has been hidden for one reason or other."

The facade project is the latest supported by HIEDC to make the area more appealing to visitors and shoppers drawn by the city's revamped downtown waterfront.

The city is spending more than $92,000 to rebuild the business district's sidewalks and curbs, and install decorative streetlights that match the lights along the lakefront.

"When downtown businesses are ready to make improvements to their buildings, we would like to offer them the services of an architect to work on their facades," said Sheila DeBonis, HIEDC executive director.

Collins said the facade program will make downtown Hobart more pedestrian-friendly. He said that will be accomplished by scaling back shop signs and uncovering the authentic architecture of the buildings.

Main St. Buildings, Hobart, Indiana

The historic section of downtown Hobart stretches about two blocks. The former bank building (First State Bank) shown here was built in 1888 and is of the Neoclassical style. Interestingly, it was originally a red brick building. The stone facade was added in 1922. It now houses a coin shop, while a similar building right across the street is now a jewelry store. Both are good examples of alternative uses of historic buildings.


Post Office, Hobart Indiana

The Colonial Revival Main St. Post Office boasts a WPA (Works Progress Administration) mural created in 1938 by William Dolwick.


Bay windows, Hobart Indiana

The Guyer Block building (1897), one of three charming bay-windowed buildings, once housed the Hobart Post office. It is now a confectionery shop (Third street). It is Italianate Commercial, marked by the heavily-bracketed roof.


Bay windows, Hobart, Indiana

 The L.M. Friedrich building (1910) also once housed the Hobart Post Office, as well as one of Hobart's first dime stores, Thompson's 5 & 10. It is now home to an insurance agency. Italianate Commercial.


Masonic Building, Hobart Indiana

Masonic Temple (1925), site of Hobart's first schoolhouse (1845), boasts distinctive Colonial Revival-style architecture. The Colonial Revival-style was an adaptation and combination of Georgian and Colonial styles in the USA toward the end of the 19th and into the 20th centuries.


Church, Hobart Indiana

The First Unitarian Church, Hobart's oldest church building (1874), is prominently located on Main St.


To visit downtown Hobart, from the Rt. 51 (Ripley) exit of I-94, go south approximately 3.5 miles to Main.

Go to Historic Homes of Hobart

(Five Images)

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