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Friends Haskin Coomer and his black bear Hobart

By Linda Waggener

Every now and again we revisit popular news items and this one cropped up again to capture fun memories today -- the 1960s photo that Eddie Kessler shared of Haskin Coomer and his black bear Hobart.

Two letters from eye-witnesses told more of the story.

Patricia Squires Franklin recalls Hobart

"Haskin Coomer's bear spent a great deal of time in my front yard when I was a child at 707 Walker ST, directly across the street from Haskin's Service Station & City Supply Co.

During the summer months Haskin would bring the bear over to our front yard and chain him up to a walnut tree in the corner of the yard where people traveling Hwy 61 from Louisville etc going to Lake Cumberland would see it and stop.

Heaven only knows how many orange sodas he would sell a day when people would stop. My Dad, Roscoe Squires, would get such a kick from watching people when they would stop and from listening to some of the tales Haskin used to tell. -- Patricia Franklin

Don Allen, grandson of Vasco and Pearl Coomer shared this memory:

That bear (Hobart) came down a tree and grabbed me from behind once and started rolling me around (playing with me) after I had been watching it in a tree. BR>My grandfather, Vasco Coomer, grabbed a stick and had to hit it while the owner yelled at it to let me go.

I got a couple of small cuts and got shots at the local doctor in Columbia but wasn't really hurt.

Everyone laughed about it afterwards and said my feet were moving like Fred Flinstone in the cartoon while I was trying to get away.

I have fond memories of that bear doing that and drinking orange soda pop.
-Don Allen

Click here to visit archives of Bear Board news.

This story was posted on 2017-09-17 16:27:46
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Revisting Haskin & Hobart

2017-09-17 - Columbia, KY - Photo From the collection of Eddie Kessler.
Near as we can tell, it's been seven years or so since shared Adair County's most famous bear, Hobart, shown in the photo drinking an orange soda pop held by his friend Haskin Coomer. The two are standing in front of the family business, Haskin Coomer and Son. According to letters shared, Haskin was a consummate marketer, knowing that if he chained the bear by the road in front of his store, many people would stop and buy soda pop while they inquired about the live bear out front. - LW

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