I have wanted to explore the history of this house for a while because this house is so hard to miss when you are driving on North Broadway in New Philadelphia. I knew it had to have at least one good story worth telling and I was not incorrect.
A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.
The Hoobler family migrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to eastern Ohio in the early 1800s, first to Jefferson County, with the arrival of Johannes Adam Hoobler (1761-1848) before 1820. Johannes and his wife Elizabeth Lawyer (1789-1874) had a number of children, including a son named William Hoobler (1814-1893). William married Margaret Shocknesse (1812-1892) in 1836 and moved into Carroll County, Ohio to raise his family of nine children. They named one of their sons James Madison Hoobler (1843-1909) after the United States President who had died in 1836.
James married Susannah Salmon (1843-1929) in the early 1860s and the couple moved into neighboring Stark County, to the area known as Pierce Post Office (today called East Sparta) in Pike Township. There was a rail line at the time that connected the village of East Sparta to Dover/New Philadelphia, making travel between the points easy for anyone looking for work in the growing industries there. One of those individuals was one of James and Susannah’s five children, a son named Albert R. Hoobler (1877-1951). Albert found work at the American Sheet & Tin Plate factory in New Philadelphia and, through his time in town, met and married Luella “Fanny” Corl (1866-1949) in December 1901.
After initially living in Pierce, the couple decided to relocate to New Philadelphia in the spring of 1903, and rented a house on North Sixth Street just above West Fair Street. Albert continued to work at the American Sheet & Tin Plate factory for a few more years before being hired to work as a dental assistant in the office of local new Philadelphia dentist Albert W. Gilkinson (1875-1955). The two Alberts were about the same age and it is interesting to speculate if they had gotten to know one another before Albert Hoobler began working there. Regardless, it was with Dr. Wilknison that Albert learned the trade and practice of dentistry; the business that Albert would work in for the rest of his life.
It is possible that Albert came into some money after the death of his father in 1909, since it was within a few years that he and Luella decided to purchase a home. Given that the couple had no children, there was no immediate pressure to find larger or more suitable housing than what their modest rented home provided. One property on North Broadway, owned by a local newspaper executive and his family, had been built in the 1850s and was used by the family as a rental property. After the death of the the executive, his widow put the home up for sale and it was then that Albert and Luella Hoobler acquired the home in the spring of 1916.
The house was constructed of brick in the Greek Revival style, though simplified, common until the 1860s. It is possible that the home originally had a columned porch around the recessed front door, though the earliest depiction of the house on a 1892 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map shows it without such a porch. The front door originally was surrounded by transoms on the sides and above the door. Other features included symmetrically laid out windows, a wide trim band under the roofline, and common masonry window sills and headers. It is a classic look that makes the house stand out today, but may have been considered old-fashioned in the 1910s.
Albert continued to work in Dr. Gilkinson’s dental office until the late 1920s when Albert decided to go into business for himself in an office in the Alexander Building on the square in New Philadelphia. There he continued to work for nearly two more decades. The Hoobler home on North Broadway changed little over the nearly forty years that the couple lived in the home according to maps depicting it. It looks today on the outside much as it likely did during the Hoobler’s ownership of the home. From a later listing of items available for sale after the couple’s death, they furnished the home with a combination of antiques and modern conveniences.
Luella Hoobler fell ill in the summer of 1948, an illness that dragged on for a year before she was the first of the couple to die in July 1949. Albert lived in the home for two more years before he died after a months-long illness in April 1951. That Albert had been successful in his years of work as a dentist was undeniable when, after his death, his estate was valued at nearly $43,000 (the equivalent of $492,000 today). With only two sisters surviving him, the house and furnishings were sold and the story of the Hoobler’s connection to the home ended.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.