If documenting local history was like the fast food industry of the late 20th century, you might say that the village of Hobart has just been “supersized.”
As a yearlong celebration of the village’s 125th anniversary of incorporation winds down, a new 372-page book, “A Look Back at Hobart, NY” has been completed and is for sale. Compiled by Hobart native James G. Meagley, the new book follows in the footsteps of a 36-page book produced in 1988 for the village’s 100th anniversary.
The Hobart Historical Society wished to develop a more comprehensive history of the village as it approached this year’s milestone anniversary, with information and photos that had never been prepared. Meagley, although now a resident of the Buffalo area, volunteered in February 2012 to lead the project in creating an updated book. Meagley grew up and resided in Hobart from 1957-1974, returns to visit often and became a lifetime member of the Historical Society in 2007.
Meagley dedicated the new book to Erma W. MacArthur, Village Historian, who passed away in 2012. Meagley said she was disappointed that no one had yet followed up on the 1988 book that she spearheaded, motivating him to get involved in the new project.
“A Look Back at Hobart, NY” expands on the centennial publication, updating a sequence of properties and ownerships of land in the village, including more historical anecdotal information and supplying nearly 650 vintage and current photographs of buildings that now stand or no longer exist. Ten chapters of the book cover major streets and locations, giving a virtual walking tour of each street. The other 19 chapters cover the early years of Hobart and a look back at business and life in the village.
Meagley said the work of the Hobart Historical Society made this new book possible. The Society was founded in 1982 and since that time has acquired a large collection of materials and photos. He hopes the new book will generate more interest in the Society’s collections and membership.
“My mother was one of the six founding members of the Society,” Meagley said, “and I didn’t appreciate the quantity and depth of the collection until I started working on the book.”
While Meagley scanned the many photos and developed the text, Gerald and Ellen Stoner of Stamford assisted with the layout and editing of the pages. Hardly off the digital press, the book has already received an excellent review, being one of three winners in this year’s Delaware County Historical Association’s Awards of Merit program.
The book is now for sale locally at any of the stores of the Hobart Book Village or the DCHA in Delhi, in both soft and hard cover versions. It can also be purchased online at www.publishersgraphicsbookstore.com/Meagley-James_bymfg_415-3-1.html. Net proceeds from online sales will benefit the Hobart Historical Society, Meagley said.
Meagley will also be the featured speaker with an open discussion about the book on Sunday, Feb. 16, 3 p.m. at the W.H. Adams Antiquarian Book Shop in Hobart, as part of the store’s annual Winter Respite Lecture Series.