Slawson & Hobbs were real estate agents who specialized in properties on the West Side in New York City. They were in business from 1889 until 1947. From 1911 to 1947 their office was located at 162 W. 72nd St. The founders were George Lemuel Slawson (1869-1944) and Frederick G. Hobbs (1864-1932). Early on these two were joined by Frederick Hobbs's brother, Charles Drake Hobbs (1875-1951).
Of the three principle owners, Frederick Hobbs died first. The following obituary appeared in the New York Times, 5 July 1932, p. 15, "Frederick G. Hobbs, a member of the board of governors of the Real Estate Board of New York and president of the firm of Slawson & Hobbs, realtors, of 162 West Seventy-second Street, died shortly before midnight last night at his home, 210 West Ninetieth Street, after an illness of three or four weeks. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Harriette S. Hobbs; a son, Kenneth Slawson Hobbs, head of the real estate firm of Kenneth Slawson Hobbs, Inc.; and two brothers, Charles D. Hobbs, also of the firm of Slawson & Hobbs, and William Hobbs of Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Hobbs was a trustee of the Excelsior Savings Bank and in January, 1928, was elected a director of the Central Mercantile Bank and Trust Company. He was also a director of the Colonial Bank which was merged in February, 1929, with the ill-starred Bank of the United States when the latter institution, through its securities subsidiary, the Bankus Corporation, paid $20,000,000 for the capital stock of the Colonial Bank. Later Mr. Hobbs became a director of the Bank of United States and was a prominent witness in the Attorney General's hearings in the investigation of the bank's affairs and the subsequent hearings before the grand jury..."
George L. Slawson died next, and his obituary in the New York Times, 28 Oct. 1944, p. 15, included, "Greenwich, Conn., Oct. 27 - George Lemuel Slawson, who retired several years ago as first vice president of Slawson & Hobbs, Inc., of 162 West Seventy-second Street, New York, a real estate firm specializing in properties on the west side of Manhattan, died here today in his home, the Pickwick Arms Hotel, following a heart attack. His age was 76. Mr. Slawson, who was born in New York, was a son of the late Daniel S. Slawson and Sarah E. Slawson. With Charles D. Hobbs, the firm's president, he established the business on the west side many years ago. It had since grown into one of the leading real estate organizations of the city. Elected president of the Broadway Association in 1923, Mr. Slawson was twice re-elected and served until 1926. At his death he was president and director of the 168 West Thirty-fourth Street Company and president and director of Noswals, Inc. He had lived in Greenwich since 1908..."
Then came Charles D. Hobbs, whose notice in the New York Times, 15 April 1951, p. 92, read, "Charles Drake Hobbs, president of the real estate firm of Slawson & Hobbs for twelve years before his retirement in 1947, died yesterday at his residence, 333 West End Avenue. His age was 77. With Mr. Hobbs' retirement the firm was merged with Earl & Clahoun [sic], Inc., and is now known as Earl & Calhoun-Slawson & Hobbs, Inc. Born in Matteawan, N. Y., Mr. Hobbs began his career in real estate in 1894, when he joined the firm that had been established in 1889 by his brother, Frederick Gee [sic] Hobbs, and George L. Slawson. Admitted to partnership as secretary in 1896, Mr. Hobbs was placed in charge of the management department. In this capacity he directed the furnishing and the opening of the Ansonia Hotel at Broadway and Seventy-third Street. He later extended coverage of the real estate market through the extensive use of advertising, in which he illustrated parcels of real estate available for lease and sale - a practice later adopted by many other companies. In 1928 Mr. Hobbs resigned as head of this department and devoted his time to the brokerage end of the business. This brought about his election as president of the firm..."
George L. Slawson was the son of Daniel Slawson and a member of a family of Slawsons who were milk dealers in New York from the late 1860s into the 1890s. George is recorded in the 1880 U. S. Census, age 12, living with the family at 222 E. 46th St. There are four other siblings, including his brother, Loton Slawson, who later in life also became a prominent real estate dealer. At this same address were also Andrew Slawson, probably a brother to Daniel Slawson, with his own family, and Loton Horton, maybe a cousin or in-law (he had a son named Daniel Slawson Horton). All of the adults in these families were milk dealers.
In 1901 Slawson & Hobbs offered a long list of properties for lease on the West Side. (Prior to 1911 Slawson & Hobbs's offices were located at 284 Columbus Ave. near 73rd St.) A similar list from 1914 featured apartment rentals rather than the town houses in the 1901 list. This 1914 list includes a line for the Versailles, 250 West 91st St., corner Broadway, which is where the sign above is located (250-252 W. 91st St. at the southwest corner of Broadway (click for image of doorway)). The 1914 advertisement gives the telephone number 7240 Col. 1914 preceded direct dialing in New York, which was instituted in 1920. The telephone number on the sign, Endicott 7240 followed direct dialing and was first used by Slawson & Hobbs in 1923. In 1930 this changed to ENdicot 2-7240, indicating that the date of this sign falls in the range 1923 to 1930.
This ad from 1937 shows Slawson's address at 162 West 72nd Street and the telephone number ENdicott 2-7240.
As of March 2010 there are two other Slawson & Hobbs signs still extant on the West Side. One is located on W. 113th St. Another is located on W. 83rd St.
This view by the Wurts Brothers in the New York Public Library's Digital Collections shows a Slawson & Hobbs poster on Park Row. Their address at the time (1930s?) was 162 W. 72nd St.
Copyright © 2010 Walter Grutchfield