The Hobart Family lived on Brook Lane in the Brookside neighborhood for decades. They were very involved with civic affairs, and sought (often unsuccessfully) to keep bad influences away from nearby Excelsior Blvd.
Walter Page Hobart was born in 1883 and lived in Minneapolis. In 1900 he founded Ministers Casualty Union, an insurance company that focused on accidents. He retired ten years later, and died in 1963.
Walter’s son, Mell Walter Hobart, joined Ministers Life in 1912. He built the company up, and focused on life insurance. In 1922, Mell bought the property at 4327 Brook Lane, on the Minnehaha Creek. There he built a substantial brick house from 1923 to 1924. The bricks on this enormous house are said to have been made by Swedish brickmakers. Mell and his family lived there until 1949. After his wife died, he married his widowed neighbor Mary and built a smaller house on a lot tucked away behind Brookside Ave. The road that led to the property was at first private, until the City took it over and named it Hobart Lane.
Mell’s son Andrew Walter Hobart was born in 1913 and joined Ministers Life in 1935. He was President from 1959 to 1974. He married in 1937, and lived at 4104 Utica from 1940 to 1949. He bought the 4327 Brook Lane house in 1949 and lived there until 1983. The Hobarts had a son, Peter and a daughter, Sara. Peter died at age 23 on May 27, 1963, and Peter Hobart School was named after him.
Mell’s son David Hobart was born in 1916 and lived at 4310 Brook Lane with his wife Geneva. David had become a paraplegic after a swimming accident, and Andrew drove him to work every day. David and Geneva’s children are David, Stephen and Rebecca. David, Sr. died in 1985.
Ministers Life merged with Minnesota Mutual Life in 1994.