Will Hobart
And when you're gone,
Who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?
- Hamilton: An American Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda

We take photos of those to be remembered,
yet most of us will be forgotten within three generations.

Simple penciled notes on the back of a printed photo have unveiled another name for a face and another life remembered.

As a member of the first generation who embraced photography as an affordable hobby, Will Hobart is seen in several glass plate negative views.

704 East 3rd Street

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From glass plate negative

William Lorin Hobart Jr. (1878-1950)

University of Washington, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He was born in Jackson, Michigan. By 1900 he had moved with his family to Chattanooga.

Newspaper articles noted his singing talent.

At age 25, in 1903, Will set off to New York to tour in the first of several comic opera company performances including “A Girl from Dixie”.

Amazingly, Will appears in a surviving photo from a 1904 performance at the Grand Opera House in Seattle.

Apprearance in other performances between 1906 - 1916 include: Sybil, The Girl from Utah, The Count of Luxembourg, and My Lady's Maid.

"Mr. Will Hobart leaves Friday for New York City to join the "Girl from Dixie" company."
Chattanooga Daily Times Jul 29, 1903
"Will Hobart is another Chattanoogan boy who has made his way up near the top of the comic opera musical comedy ladder. He is now with 'The Red Feather,' and before joining this company was a member of the cast of 'The Strollers'"
The Chattanooga News Apr 3, 1909

As with many who seek the limelight, I suspect Hobart’s theatric fame was relatively brief. The emergence of motion pictures and 'talkies' in the 1920s likely also forced a career change; though he stayed in New York, working as a dance instructor and later as an interior decorator.

 

Will Hobart died February 21, 1950 at age 76 in New York and is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga.

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ALSO PICTURED

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Fred H. Phillips Jr.

1874-1948

Fred H. Phillips Jr. had an impressive and varied career. He's seen in many glass plate negatives from multiple sources. Capt. Phillips served in Company H of the U.S. Volunteers / 3rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. In 1898 he was stationed at Camp Dewey Nashville, and at Camp George H. Thomas at Chickamauga Park earlier the same year.

In 1905, Phillips was Vice-Principal of Chattanooga High School.

By 1917 he was a Brigadier General and Secretary of the National Rifle Association.

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Frank Phillips

1876-1900

Evidence points to this photo being Frank T. Phillips, the brother of Fred Phillips. Frank died December 19th, 1900 at age 24 of a 'life-long chronic condition'.

His obituary states the funeral was held at his residence with pallbearers including Will Hobart and Charles G. Walline (the likely photographer).

Other evidence proves this photo was taken at 704 E. 3rd Street, the Phillips residence. It's even possible this was taken on the day of the funeral.

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Will Hobart

1878-1950

Born in Jackson, Michigan. His father, who worked in the wholesale business, moved the family to Chattanooga by 1894. As early as 1895, he was listed in newspaper articles as a 'well known singer (tenor)'.

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Cooper Holtzclaw

1861-1929

Dr. Cooper Holtzclaw (1861-1929) was one of the most popular physicians in Chattanooga, practicing medicine here for 45 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of Erlanger Hospital. Cator Street was renamed Holtzclaw Ave. by public vote of citizens living in that area in 1920.

Will Hobart in Glass Plate Negative views

Tap or click on any photo below to explore in high resolution.

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702-704 East 3rd St.
Left to right[top]: Charles Walline, unknown
[bottom]:  Will Hobart, Fred Phillips Jr., unknown

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702 East 3rd - backyard
Left:  Fred Phillips Jr.
Right:  Will Hobart

 Photos stored away will likely never be seen.

Far too often, history is lost in settlement of estates or thrown away by well-meaning family members. Many public institutions and organizations are not set up to share, but rather to archive and garner donations.

 Why Chattanooga­History.com is different.

No-charge photo & negative scanning is available for qualifying materials such as true photo (non-digital) prints, negatives, glass plate negatives, and 35mm slides.

I started this website in 2014 with the goal of sharing high-resolution historic photos from this region; invested in professional digital scanners, and other tools to ensure donated or loaned photos are quickly digitized. Originals and/or digital copies are provided back to you.

You or the original photographer (if known) are fully credited.

 How to contact me

If you have qualifying historical photos to digitize and share - use the CONTACT form for a quick response.

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