The Old Townhouse
The Old Town House is located on 128 Town House Road, less than quarter of a mile from
Union Common. Its commanding position on a hill overlooks the Common and the village of
Built in 1840, the Old Town House is a classic example of the New England meeting house.
Its simple, elegantly functional proportions are enhanced by the unique curved ceiling
and multi-paned windows. The Town House 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.
The second level projection room was built to accommodate silent movies and the
ticket vendor's window is still in place (at the left of the entrance, towards the
kitchen). 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 threatened with sale, possibly for use as a chicken barn. In 1977 the 5-year old
Union Historical Society, already responsible for the Robbins House, offered to care for
the building and paid the princely sum of $1.00 to the town.
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.
The Old Town House has only recently been added to the
National Registry of Historic Places
The Old Town House is furnished with many antique "deacon's benches" with
spindle backrests, contemporary with the building.
There is a stage which is usually concealed by a painted hanging showing a
composite depiction of Union and its surroundings. Antique quilts hang on the
walls and a display cabinet dedicated to the veterans of Union contains
memorabilia from the Civil and other wars in which Union citizens fought.
The Old Town House is available for rental to the public from April through October for
functions such as meetings, dances and wedding receptions. The building is heated but
water is turned off in the winter months. Facilities include a kitchen with serving
hatch to a 40' x 40' hall. There is also a 16' x 20' stage. Two bathrooms are located in
a side hallway. Available for use are the deacon's benches and folding chairs for seating,
folding and other tables for dining, and a piano. Large modern ceiling fans provide
summer comfort. There is ample parking and a wheelchair-accessible side entrance.
The dining capacity of the hall is approximately 100, with a maximum allowed occupancy
of 225 people.
For complete information about fees and rental arrangements, please call and leave a
message on the Society's answering machine at (207) 785-5444.
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