The Robbins House
The Robbins House, now the home of Union Historical Society, is located on Union
Common at 343 Common Road. It is a 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. An upstairs bedroom is furnished
in period style. The meeting room, which also serves as a research area, is
accessible by a wheelchair ramped entrance.
Robbins House history
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.
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
In 1973 the Union Historical Society bought the property with the intention of
sharing the building with the Vose Library. In the spring of 2011, the
Library moved into a “home of its own” at 392 Common Road.
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
The furnishings were donated by members of Union Historical Society, given to the
Society as bequests, or purchased with funds raised by the Society and other
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 straight cane-seated chairs, a Brown Brothers pump organ (made in
Union), and a Morse Brothers parlor organ (also made in Union.) On the wall hang
portraits of Jason Robbins (1838-1919), his wife Laura Messer, Nathaniel Robbins
(1773-1850) and his second wife, Elizabeth Lummus.
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.
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.
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