Hobart Manufacturing Company Administration Building Shown on Old Postcard
By Judy Deeter
TROY - The Troy Historical Society has a collection of old postcards at the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library in downtown Troy. Among the postcards, there are several that show the Hobart Manufacturing Company Administration Building as it was in the first half of the 20th century. The building still stands today and is now part of the Hobart ITW (Illinois Tool Works) Food Equipment Group Corporate office at 701 S. Ridge St. in Troy.
One postcard is a lovely color card that shows the building as it looked in the 1930s. Two things that were part of the building back then that are gone today are window shades over most of the building’s numerous front windows and ivy covering the walls. At that time, office buildings did not have central air conditioning as we have it today; sunshades were used to help keep interior building temperatures down. These sunshades were probably made by Troy Sunshade, which manufactured a variety of sunshades, awnings and patio furniture umbrellas. Troy Sunshade was located at the rear of the Hobart Manufacturing Company buildings along Lincoln Avenue. For many years, it was owned by the Hobart Manufacturing Company and its successors.
Another postcard shows a garden of flowers and trees next to the Hobart Manufacturing Administration building. The area is labeled on the postcard as “Hobart Gardens.” The exact location of the garden has not been confirmed, although it is thought to have been on the back side of the building (east side) where there is still an open space today. It seems to have been a pleasant place for employees to take a break from the pressures of business.
The Administration building shown in this postcard opened in 1925. The July, 1925 edition of the Hobartizer magazine—a publication for employees of the Hobart Manufacturing Company—shows the building as it looked at the time of its opening and employees working inside. The cover of the magazine features then-company president Augustus Stouder standing at the front door of the building and welcoming people to come inside. The magazine refers to the building as the “New Administration Building.”
At one time, a sign made with metal letters depicting the name "The Hobart Mfg. Co." hung above the entryway to the building. The name can be seen in photographs starting in the 1920s, but it is not seen in photographs of the entrance in later decades. It now hangs in an office at the ITW Food Equipment building.
A copy of the July, 1925 Hobartizer and the postcards are on file at the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library and are available for public viewing. The library is at 100 W. Main St. in Troy.
During 2022, the Hobart ITW Food Equipment Group is observing the 125th anniversary of the founding of the company. The Hobart Manufacturing Company, started by Charles Clarence Hobart, was incorporated on July 20, 1897. The Administration building shown in these old post cards is both part of Hobart’s Troy company history and the history of the City of Troy.
This 1942 drawing of the Hobart Manufacturing Company indicates that there was some sort of park area at the back of the Administration building.