ABOUT UNION HISTORICAL SOCIETY


Sign



Founded in 1972, the Society is a private nonprofit corporation with an all-volunteer board of directors.

Our History & Mission
The Mission of the Union Historical Society is to promote interest in and knowledge about history in general and the history of Union, Maine, in particular, through public programs published materials.
Administration
Our board of directors consists of the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, curator(s) and six directors, who are assisted by members of the following standing committees: finance, membership, program, publicity, hospitality, newsletter, Robbins House, Town House, Vose Library liaison, Matthews Museum liaison, Chamber of Commerce representative, and website manager.

2013 Officers

President Dan Day
Vice President Dave Shaub
Secretary Phyllis Parsons
Treasurer Bruce Cobb
Assistant Treasurer Elaine Tracy
Assistant Treasurer Milt Parsons
Curator Suzy Shaub
Co-Curator Nick Santorineos

Directors

Lyle Cramer Term expires December 2013
Frank Cassidy Term expires December 2013
Jack Green Term expires December 2014
Alison Metcalfe Term expires December 2014
Chris Gray Term expires December 2015
Betty Nims Term expires December 2015

Committees

Finance Bruce Cobb (Chair), Lyle Cramer, Dan Day, Milt Parsons, Dave Shaub, Elaine Tracy
Membership Bonnie Packard (Chair), Dave Shaub
Programs Alison Metcalf (Chair), Dave & Suzy Shaub
Hospitality Bonnie Packard, Debbie Hilt
Publicity Alison Metcalf
Newsletter Wednesday Group, Suzy Shaub (Chair), Dave Shaub
Robbins House Dave Shaub (Chair), Frank Cassidy, Catherine & Pritchard Meyer, Kay Santorineos
Old Town House Jack Green (Chair), Frank Cassidy, Elaine Tracy, Milt Parsons, Dave Shaub
Cobb's Ledge Dan Day (Chair), Lyle Cramer, Lee MacFarland
Nominating Dan Day (Chair), Bonnie Packard, Dave & Suzy Shaub
Book Sales Dan & Connie Day
Technology Suzy Shaub, Nick Santorineos
Matthews Museum Liaison Nick Santorineos
Chamber of Commerce Dan Day, Lyle Cramer
Vose Library Liaison Alison Metcalf
Website Manager(s) Nick Santorineos, Suzy Shaub

Open Hours

Open Sign The Robbins House is usually open from 9:30 A.M. to 12:00 noon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. You are welcome to visit us and enjoy the displays. Society volunteers will be glad to assist you in your research related to Union history and genealogy.

There may be additional open hours; look for the "Open" sign at the corner of the building, or if you do not pass by the Common, call us (207-785-5444). If you wish to make an appointment to meet the Curator, call the Union Historical Society's number to leave a message.

Directions

Union Aerial Map
Union may be approached from all directions. Below are driving directions to visit the Robbins House, the UHS headquarters at 343 Common Road, or the Old Town House at 128 Town House Road, where most of our programs are held.

From the East or Camden/Rockland area:

To reach the Robbins House - travel west on Route 17 approximately 11 miles to Route 131 South, (South Union Road;) turn left (south) onto Route 131 for a few hundred feet and then turn right (west) onto Common Road (old Route 17). Travel west on Common Road to the Common area. The Robbins House faces west at 343 Common Road, on the left, across from the entrance drive of Camden National Bank. There is a looped driveway for parking at the front of the Robbins House. (If you reach the Post Office, you have passed the Robbins House.)
To reach the Old Town House - continue about ½ mile past the Route 131 South intersection on Route 17 to Route 235 South (Town House Road). Turn left (south) onto Route 235; travel up the hill to the Old Town House on the left at 128 Town House Road, with parking available just before the building in a grassy lot.

From the West – Route 295 or Augusta area:

To reach the Robbins House - travel east on Route 17 (approximately 25 miles from Augusta) to Common Road just beyond Route 131 North; turn right onto Common Road across from Union Farm Equipment. Travel on Common Road past the Union Fairgrounds and up a hill into the Common area. Continue on Common Road past the Post Office on the right. The Robbins House, at 343 Common Road, will be in view at the east end of the Common area, across from the entrance drive of Camden National Bank. There is a looped driveway for parking at the front of the Robbins House.
To reach the Old Town House - continue about ½ mile past the Common Road intersection on Route 17 to Route 235 South, (Town House Road.) Turn right (south) onto Route 235; travel up the hill to the Old Town House on the left at 128 Town House Road, with parking available just before the building in a grassy lot.

From the South or Towns along Route 1:

To reach the Robbins House - travel north on Route 1 through Waldoboro, past Moody’s Diner, to Route 235. Turn left onto Route 235 and travel approximately 9 miles to Union, where Route 235 becomes Depot Street, to a stop sign at the Post Office and the Common. Turn right onto Common Road. The Robbins House at 343 Common Road will be in view at the east end of the Common area. There is a looped driveway for parking at the front of the Robbins House.
To reach the Old Town House – after the stop sign, travel north through the intersection of Route 235 and Common Road, through the Common and up the hill, where the road becomes Town House Road to the Old Town House, at 128 Town House Road, with parking available past the building in a grassy lot.

From the North/Northeast, Belfast area:

To reach the Robbins House – travel west on Route 3 from Belfast to Belmont. Make a slight left turn onto Route 131 and travel south approximately 15 miles to Route 17. Turn left onto Route 17 then make an immediate right onto Common Road across from Union Farm Equipment. Travel on Common Road past the Union Fairgrounds and up a hill into the Common area. Continue on Common Road past the Post Office on the right. The Robbins House, at 343 Common Road, will be in view at the east end of the Common area, across from the entrance drive of Camden National Bank. There is a looped driveway for parking at the front of the Robbins House.
To reach the Old Town House – after the left turn onto Route 17, continue on Route 17 about ½ mile past the Common Road intersection to Route 235 South (Town House Road). Turn right (south) onto Route 235; travel up the hill to the Old Town House on the left at 128 Town House Road, with parking available just before the building in a grassy lot.

Our Properties


Properties

The Union Historical Society owns and maintains three properties:

Robbins House
1. The Robbins House

The House:

Robbins House The Robbins House, now the home of Union Historical Society, is located on Union Common at 343 Common Road. It is an 1847 modified Greek Revival building with a center chimney and an attached ell. The parlors on the north side of the first floor are furnished in early Victorian style. One upstairs bedroom is furnished in period style pieces that were made in Union. The meeting room, which also serves as a research area, is accessible by a wheelchair ramp. It was purchased and renovated by the Society in 1975.

History:

Robbins House The house was first built for Dr. Isaac Flitner, possibly to entice a doctor to come to town to live. It was then owned by a series of doctors until 1897, when it was purchased by Jason Robbins. The Robbins family lived there for 58 years, until the death of Jason's niece Clemmie Robbins in 1955. Clemmie Robbins was the town's telephone operator.

Barn It was probably during the time near the turn of the last century that a porch was added, and the doorway between the two north parlors was widened. The south part of the building had been the dining room, kitchen, woodshed and entrance to the barn. In 1973 the Union Historical Society bought the property with the intention of sharing the building with the Vose Library.*

The house was in sad shape. It was the Society's intent to have the outside of the house look as it had when it was first built. Therefore the sagging porch was removed and the garage, which interim owners had substituted for the barn, was replaced by the present meeting room. The foundation revealed that the original door had been recessed and an appropriate door with sidelights was donated by Society members.

Furnishings:

The furnishings were donated by residents of Union and members of the Society. There have also been bequests to the Society and a few items were purchased with funds raised.

Parlors:

Sofa With Brussels carpets over hardwood floors, the Victorian-style parlor furnishings include upholstered sofa and chairs, a round marble-topped table, a card table, a dining table and cane-seated chairs, a Brown pump organ that was made in Union, and a Morse Brothers organ, also made in Union. On the wall hang portraits of Jason Robbins and his wife Laura.

North bedroom:

North Bedroom In the larger bedroom upstairs, is a complete chamber set made of local woods in Union's Thurston Bros. Factory, later the casket factory, along with various items donated by Union residents. Furnishings owned by the Come Spring characters. The Society owns a small chair that once belonged to Joel and Mima Robbins Adams. The 1940 historical novel, Come Spring, records their journey to purchase it after their marriage. The Society also has artifacts used by Mima Robbins Adams in her daily life - her mortar and pestle, her Book of Sermons, and her Bible.

Exhibits:

Switchboard Also to be seen in the Robbins House are the town's old telephone exchange switchboard, a secretary-desk once used by the selectmen at the Town Office and many artifacts and paper memorabilia relating to the history of the town, its industry, businesses, citizens and civic life. The displays are changed periodically. We welcome additional donations of items from Union.

* In the spring of 2011, the Vose Library moved into a “home of its own” at 392 Common Road.



Old Town House

2. The Old Town House

Old Town House Dating from 1840 and located on 128 Town House Road, a classic New England meeting house, is the town’s early public meetinghouse and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This building may be rented at reasonable rates for wedding receptions and other gatherings for personal or business functions. Call the Society for availability and rates.
Stage

The Old Town House simple, elegantly functional proportions are enhanced by the unique curved ceiling and multi-paned windows. It was integral to the life of the community, serving as the venue for town meetings from 1840 until 1952 and high school graduations from 1890 until 1931.


Projection Room The second level projection room was built to accommodate silent movies and the ticket vendor's window is still in place. Regular movie showings (25¢ admission), social functions, dances, plays and suppers made the Town House a busy place for its first century. After construction of the Thompson Memorial Building at the other end of Union village, the Town House fell into silence and disrepair, functioning as a warehouse for all sorts of cast-offs until it was threateresponsible for the Robbins House, offered to care for the building and paid the princely sum of $1.00 to the town.




Restoration Oth In 1978 a fortunate bequest from the estate of Esther Morton enabled a major restoration. In 1986 a subsequent update was undertaken to bring the building into conformity with safety standards for public buildings. In 1998 and 1999 the Society performed further major maintenance to the exterior and interior, including stabilizing, repairing and repainting the plaster of the interior curved ceiling and the walls. Ongoing maintenance receives sensitive attention to authenticity. The Old Town House was deeded by the town to the Union Historical Society.


3. Cobbs Ledge

Cobb's Ledge Spotter Pin This structure was once at the top of Cobb's Ledge, the highest point in the center of Union village. During WWII volunteers took shifts to watch for enemy airplanes.

The pin on the right was worn by the volunteers.



Programs

2003 August Program The Union Historical Society holds monthly program meetings, open to the public, at 7:30 PM on the first Wednesday of the month, March to December. The meetings are held at the Old Town House or the Robbins House, see monthly announcement for meeting location. Check the "Programs" page for more information.

Literature available

Brochures available to visitors are current program brochure, current newsletter, self-guided tour to Come Spring sites, and information on the Old Town House and how to rent it.

Available for purchase are books on Union history, tee-shirts, maps and notecards.

Membership

Please consider joining the over 250 members of the Union Historical Society. Members receive a program brochure for the year's schedule and three newsletters. If you wish to share your email address, you will also receive a reminder with details about each monthly program.

Membership dues for individuals are $5.00 per year or $100 for a life membership. A business membership is $25.00. You can use the Membership Form for your convenience.

The UHS provides a newsletter to each member listing the current year's programs.
The Union Historical Society is a 501 c3, non profit organization. Donations of items and monetary contributions may be declared on the donor's tax report. Please consider the UHS when cleaning out basements, attics and barns. We welcome donations of old pictures, documents and items related to Union's history. You may wonder if something would interest the Historical Society; please contact us. "When in doubt, don't throw out!" An accession policy is used to guide the Society in accepting donations of items of historical interest for the collection. Please contact the curator by email or telephone to make an appointment.

Contributions may be sent to the UHS, P.O. Box 154, Union, ME 04862. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

Volunteer Oportunities

The Union Historical Society is seeking volunteers. A variety of skills are required as well as an interest in preserving Union's history. Wednesday mornings are usually set aside for work at the Robbins House by the Curator's Group; we are a relaxed group of volunteers.

There are many items in our collection: documents, photos, scrapbooks, newspaper articles and more, for which we need your assistance. We also need volunteers to help with the maintenance of our buildings. You may donate as few or as many hours as your schedule allows.

   The tasks to be done include:

  • Weeding the gardens at both the Robbins House and the Old Town House
  • Washing windows at both buildings
  • Transcribing letters, deeds and other old written material
  • Searching our reference material for information requested
  • Scanning items into the computer
  • Researching items in our collection to help “tell the story”
  • Cataloging materials donated to the Society – data entry into the Past Perfect Program

  • Anyone interested in volunteering may call (207) 785-5444 and leave a message or eMail the Society at info@unionhistoricalsociety.org. And you are welcome to drop by the Robbins House on Wednesday mornings between 9:30 am. and 12 noon.
    HOW TO REACH US:
    Union Historical Society
    343 Common Road
    P. O. Box 154
    Union, ME 04862
    (207) 785-5444 (leave a message), or
    eMail info@unionhistoricalsociety.org

    For web page problems or suggestions
    contact: Nick Santorineos
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