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Getting to Know Garret A. Hobart, Jr

Updated: Feb 26

By: Patrick Byrnes, Staff Member of the Passaic County Department of Cultural & Historic Affairs

On November 20th, 1975, Ailsa Farms in Wayne was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. Today, the property is part of William Paterson University’s campus, and is better known by the name of the family who lived there: Hobart Manor! One of the Hobart residents was Garret A. Hobart Jr, son of Vice President Garret A. Hobart (1844-1899), who you can get to know in the blog post below! This is cross posted from our friends at the Olmsted 200 campaign; learn more about Hobart and other members of the Passaic County Parks Commission here!

Born in Paterson, NJ on August 31, 1884, Garret A. Hobart Jr. was the son of Garret A. Hobart and Jennie (Tuttle) Hobart. His father was the 24th vice president of the United States, serving under President William McKinley.[1] The young Garret was named after his father and was lived at the Hobart family home Carroll Hall on the corner of Carroll and Ellison Streets in Paterson.

Hobart married Caroline Frye Briggs on June 6, 1906 and they had three children.

Figure 1- Garret A. Hobart Jr. Image from the Passaic County Historical Society.

Hobart had a private pilot’s license and did considerable flying. Late in his life Hobart took up the hobby of photography. He was also credited with owning one of the first automobiles in Paterson and was said to have given President McKinley his first ride in an automotive vehicle. The vehicle was said to have been powered by electric batteries.

Hobart was appointed by Justice Charles C. Black to the preliminary Passaic County Parks Commission. Hobart pushed for the commission to hire the most prestigious landscape architects and planners in the United States, the Olmsted Brothers firm. This Commission had the authorization to spend up to $10,000 in the creation of a survey. Following the lead of Essex and Union Counties, the commission petitioned the firm to prepare a master plan to certify the public need for a park system, evaluate potential sites to be acquired for parkland, and prepare a report that could b