Hobart was born full grown out of
the rolling, grassy prairie of the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation in August
1901. Overnight, there was a mass of people, gathered from all over the United
States. It was a city of dreams. Dreams for a piece of land to build a future
for a family.
There were 2,000 tents before any buildings were in sight.
Over 13,000 people waited for the drawing. After the lot sale, 2,530 people
became the base for Hobart today.
Like Cinderella, Hobart moved from a
Ragtown to a city with electricity, ice plant, flour mill, many large department
stores and 2 large cotton gins within a year. There were 12 lumber yards, 6 coal
yards, 7 wholesale houses, 19 hardware stores, 15 hotels and restaurants, 3
steam laundries, 3 newspapers, 20 lawyers, 23 doctors, 10 fraternal orders, 4
banks, library, telephone office, 8 livery and feed stores, 6 wagon yards and 5
Gamblers, Preachers, Outlaws and Businessmen fitted
into this melting pot on the prairie. With so many people milling around the
main street, it would become ankle deep in squishy mud after a rain, which
earned it the nickname of "Goo Goo Street". Hobart lived through the tent stage
and early hardships, typhoid fever, crop failures, small pox, floods and fires.
Floods and Fires, Feast and Famine, the way of life on the prairie.
May 1903 was the first big flood following an 11 inch rain in 24 hours. The
creeks rose, ravines became rivers and low spots became lakes. Many houses were
floated off their foundations. The first big fire followed the flood in July
1903. It swept up main street from 5th then west on 4th burning about 100
businesses in 2 hours.
World War I came along and Hobart sent her share
of young men off to fight in a foreign land. Some did not return, lives cut
short by the ravages of war. Those that returned picked up the threads of their
lives on the prairie and continued.
The crash in'29 and the dust bowl
days of the thirties tested these hearty families again. As crops failed year
after year, the drought and the ever constant Oklahoma winds carrying the soil
away, money problems caused the loss of farms. The people packed up and moved on
as their ancestors did, looking for a place where they could provide for their
families. Many ended up in California and other places in the west.
second World War loomed and again, Hobart sent her young men and women off to a
war on foreign soil, the children and grandchildren of the pioneers that started
Hobart. They fought in far off places with exotic sounding names. They fought in
the Pacific, Phillippines, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, ever island hopping toward
Japan. In Europe they fought in Frances, Belgium, Italy, North Africa, and
finally into Germany. Places like Paris, Rome, Brussels, Berlin. And again, some
did not make it back to the red soil of home.
The fifties and sixties
came along, and two more times the young people left to fight in Korea and Viet
Nam. Hobart waited again for her children to come home. The air force bases at
Altus and Clinton-Sherman boosted the population of Hobart, with the airmen's
families living there. Oil production started expanding and drilling rigs moved
in, to stand sentinel across the farms of the prairie.
expanded, then began to slow. Young people still went into the military, or off
to college. Then they began finding jobs away from Hobart and moved on.
Today, the population of Hobart is about 3,000. Many businesses have come and
gone. The first generation is gone, their grandchildren are now the elders of
the town. Farmers and businessmen still meet at the local coffee shop to get
the news of the day, discuss the weather, politics, crops, and the children
that have moved on. Life goes on..................just at a bit slower pace.
This photo shows
the Old Hobart High school that burned some years ago, as it was being built in
the 1920's, (according to the vehicles parked in front). It was submitted by Kenneth Aday. Thanks Kenneth.
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