The Old Town House
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 Union.
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 building was
enlarged, adding the stage and dressing rooms (now bathrooms) in the late
1880s. 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 adapted to accommodate silent movies
and the ticket vendor's window is still in place on the first floor.
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 Old Town House was
deeded by the town to the Union Historical Society.
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 completed the stabilizing, repairing and
repainting of the plaster on the interior curved ceiling and the walls.
Ongoing maintenance receives sensitive attention to authenticity.
In 2007 the Old Town House was added to the National Registry of Historic Places
The Old Town House is furnished with many cushioned "deacon's benches,"
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 wars in which Union citizens fought.
The Old Town House is available for rental to the public from mid-April
through October for functions such as meetings, dances and wedding
receptions. The building is heated. 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.