Crooker and Hobbs, Yorkville Merchants
Compiler's note: the following article describes an event in the business history of Yorkville. It is of interest as the building built and occupied by Crooker & Hobbs, on the southwest corner of Bridge Street and Hydraulic Avenue, is the oldest surviving building in Yorkville. It also served as the first home of the Kendall County Record.
Several additions have been added to the rear of the building (west end,) and the original building has undergone some changes since the days of Crooker & Hobbs. Nevertheless, most of these modifications have been more cosmetic than substantive. Basically, the front portion of the building facing on Bridge Street is the initial building. It is now (January 2000) entering its 142nd year of existence.
Crooker & Hobbs
Published in the Kendall County Record, January 23, 1873
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
For some weeks there have been rumors that the firm of Crooker & Hobbs was about to dissolve partnership, and that Mr. Crooker was to retire, leaving the business in the hands of Frank M. Hobbs. The rumor culminated in a fact on the 14th instant, as will be seen in a notice of dissolution in this week's paper.
It has taken everyone by surprise. All knew that this house was one of the most prosperous in the county. That Mr. Crooker had a fine business, and elegant and comfortable home, with everything bright and cheerful. The question was why should he sell out? On account of failing health, is the answer.
He has not yet decided what to do, but for the present will give some attention to the collection of accounts. He came to this county in 1856, and with Mr. Hobbs, began business in Bristol, on the site now occupied by the residence of Mr. I. L. Carter. Their first year's sales amounted to about $10,000, and they thought that was a good business. In 1858 they moved to Yorkville. The location had been selected in March among hazel brush and snow on this flat, where there was no other building except the mills. Construction of the building they occupied was begun in March and completed in May (1858.) Since then they have sold about half a million dollars of merchandise ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 a year.
In all that time they have never had occasion to prosecute a suit at law against a single party. This leniency towards patrons should now be remembered in this close time. Especially as they wish to settle all accounts immediately.
Mr. Crooker may find some business here that will suit him. It is the desire of every one that he remains with us, as Yorkville can ill afford to lose so active a businessman.
Captain Frank M. Hobbs now carries the business alone. He is one of the most popular men in the county. He will be ably assisted by Morton, Weed and Eldred, and will maintain the standing of the old firm. There will be no radical change in the manner of business.