History of City
The City of Hobart is one of Lake County’s oldest communities, once home to the Pottawatomie Indians. Englishman George Earle, who had invested heavily in Lake County land, was attempting to establish the town of Liverpool at the junction of the Calumet and Deep Rivers. Liverpool did not prove viable and in 1845 Earle moved five miles up Deep River and constructed a dam to power sawmills and gristmills. The resulting millpond became known as Lake George. Earle moved the post office from Liverpool in 1847 and recorded the plat for the new town in 1849, naming it for his brother, Frederick Hobart Earle, of England.
George Earle’s gristmill was constructed near the dam in 1846 and continued to operate until it burned down in 1953. The mill was 5 stories high and the top of the current Lake George Dam Bridge replicates the top of the original mill.
Brickmaking was Hobart’s most important industry in the nineteenth century. Small brickyards appeared in the 1850’s. In 1863, Joseph Nash established the first large brickyard and in 1886, the W.B. Owen brickworks converted from bricks to terra cotta building tile. Used for fireproof building construction, terra cotta found a good market in Chicago and beyond. The Owen works was taken over by National Fireproofing Company in 1902 and operated until 1964. The Kulage Brick Works, which flourished from 1893 to the early 1920’s was another important brickmaker.
From a Town to a City
Hobart incorporated as a town in 1889 and reincorporated as a city in 1921. Hobart has continued to grow through the years and major annexations in Hobart Township to the north in 1988 and Ross Township in 1992, including the Southlake Mall area along U.S. 30 to the south, have strengthened the city’s potential for continued residential, commerical and light industrial development.
Hobart’s population according to the 2010 Census was 29,059. Located 38 miles from Chicago and 150 miles north of Indianapolis, the 26 square miles of Hobart continues to thrive with retail corridors, light industry, great schools, a downtown district on the banks of Lake George and residents and visitors enjoying a quality of life surely envisioned by George Earle.