Throwback Thursday – The Hobson Family of Bowling Green

One of Bowling Green’s Civil War-era landmarks is the historic Hobson house at Riverview. While Throwback Thursday has focused on the history of the house itself, the Hobson family who built the home is full of intrigue. This week we tell a few of their stories.

The historic home was built by Atwood Hobson. In the 1850s, Atwood’s uncle Johnathan gifted him a 400-acre tract of land along the river. Called Hobson Grove, the land was prime for a homestead. Atwood and his wife Juliette began building their estate in 1857.

Atwood was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War years. The home’s construction was not complete in 1861 when Confederate troops marched into Bowling Green. The home was spared and used as munitions storage during wartime. Construction was completed by 1872 and three generations of the Hobson family called it home.

The Hobsons were known for their many unique interests. Atwood himself was a banker and circuit court clerk, but he also had a fascination for thoroughbred horses, horticulture and natural gas. He even allowed the traveling circus to camp and perform at the grove in the 1900s. 

Atwood’s granddaughter George Anna was naturally adept at sports. She requested an at-home trapeze to hang from the home’s cupola. George Anna was a champion trap shooter, winning the North American Women’s Amateur Clay Target Championships in 1924. 

The Atwood family sold the estate in 1952. The home was used by tenant farmers until 1965 when a serious fire left it damaged. The Friends of Riverview organization was founded to save the historic home and its family history from demolition.