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Heralding Our History: Hobensack family infused Ivyland with civic pride


You don’t have to dig far into Ivyland’s history before coming across the Hobensack name. It belongs to a family that has played a critical role in our borough’s history.

Its most prominent legacy is the Hobensack Mill, which acts as a sort of gateway to town if you’re entering Ivyland by “the back way,” via Ivyland Road. The original coal yard and feed house, built in 1874 by J. Montgomery Carr, was sold to William and B. Frank Hobensack in 1890. In 1898, the Hobensacks added a three-story Cider Mill building to the complex. The business grew, offering lumber, flour grinding, feed, fertilizer and agricultural implements. It thrived for many decades, becoming a prominent community landmark.

After nearly a century in business, the mill buildings were purchased by the Cosentino family for their patio furniture and wood stove business. The main mill building is now under new ownership and currently undergoing much needed restoration work. And the residents who understand the history of that building are glad to see it being taken care of.

But the family’s influence extends far beyond this landmark building.

B. Frank Hobensack was born in Southampton on Sept. 30, 1864. In his youth, he attended a common school, a popular form of public education at the time that stressed moral and spiritual development as well as “the Three Rs.” After working for a period as a printer, in 1886, he married Miss Catherine Cornell, followed his father into farming, and then joined his brother William to form the Hobensack Brothers firm.

B. Frank continued in the family business until 1899, when he was elected sheriff of Bucks County, holding that office for many years. He later became involved in a stone-crushing business in Quakertown, as well as real estate and trading. He later sold his shares in the family enterprise to William. Later, William Hobensack bought and managed the Ivyland Country Store, passing it down to his son Cornell Hobensack, who in turn passed it down to his son, also named William.

The Hobensacks didn’t just do business in Ivyland – they were also closely involved in the borough’s civic life. B. Frank Hobensack was mayor for 30 years, from 1924 to 1953. He was followed by his son, George S., who served in the office from 1954 to 1970. One of B. Frank and William’s brothers, Albert C. Hobensack, was Ivyland’s first town treasurer between 1905 and 1913. He was followed by B. Frank Hobensack Sr., who served during 1913, then between 1917 and 1927. George S. was also on Ivyland Borough Council from 1918 to 1953. In the early part of the 20th century, several Hobensacks also served on the school board, and for a time Miss Emma Hobensack taught grammar at Ivyland School at its original location on Chase Avenue.

After Ivyland’s old Borough Hall (aka Barton’s Hall) burnt to the ground in 1998, Ivyland government was without a true home. Like a benevolent force, the Hobensack legacy again helped lift the borough’s spirits by having one of their longtime family homes at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue eventually become the new location of Ivyland’s borough offices in 2003. A very fitting solution for the community.

One of Ivyland’s defining characteristics is its strong civic pride and respect for its social institutions. The Hobensacks deserve a great degree of credit for building that sense of community. That, even more than the mill, is the family’s legacy.

This Saturday June 24, Ivyland Borough officially celebrates this pride, honoring the 150th anniversary of its founding with a community-wide event featuring food, music, fun and a lot of history, too. All are welcome to join in the festivities. Details about this all-day event can be found at

“Heralding Our History” is a new weekly feature. Each month, the Herald will delve into the history of one of its towns. In June, Ivyland gets the nod in honor of its 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated on Saturday.

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