Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Robbinston

Location Map for Robbinston

Location Map for Robbinston

Year Population
1970 396
1980 492
1990 495
2000 525
2010 574
Robbinston Population Chart 1820-2010

Population Trend 1820-2010

Geographic Data
N. Latitude 45:04:24
W. Latitude 67:09:01
Maine House District 140
Maine Senate District 6
Congress District 2
Area sq. mi. (total) 33.7
Area sq. mi. (land) 28.1
Population/sq.mi. (land) 20.4
County: Washington

Total=land+water; Land=land only

Clipper Ships Built Here

  • Francis Palmer–1852
  • Juniper–1853
  • Regd Gauntlet–1853
  • Virginia–1854
  • Dictator–1855

Sign: Welcome to Robbinston, on U.S. Route 1 (2013)[ROB-in-stun] is a town in Washington County, incorporated on February 18, 1811 from township T4 PS.

Its eastern border is the scenic St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay.

The town has about five mile of frontage on Howard Lake in its northeast corner, several smaller ponds, and about two mile of frontage, along with a boat launch, on Boyden Lake in the south.  Most of Boyden is in the town of Perry.

Sewell Memorial Congregational Church (2013)

Sewell Memorial Church (2013) @

World Wars I and II Veterans Memorial on the Grounds of the Sewell Memorial Congregational Church in Robbinston (2013)

World Wars I & II Memorial at the Sewell Church (2013) @

The Ridge Road is part of the first road to the St. Croix River from the west, ending at Mill Cove in the village of South Robbinston, directly west of St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

The main village is a few miles north on U.S. Route 1.

The former shipbuilding center launched many vessels during the Civil War, then turned to sardine and tuna factories while that industry lasted.

Henrietta Brewer House, now Redclyffe Motel (2013)

Henrietta Brewer House, now Redclyffe Motel (2013) @

John Brewer House, Bed & Breakfast (2013)

John N. M. Brewer House, Bed & Breakfast (2013) @

According to information provided by the Redclyffe Shore Motor Inn,

The Redclyffe, once known as the Henrietta Brewer House, was built between 1861 and 1863.

Henrietta Brewer, wife of John Nehemiah Marks Brewer, had this Gothic revival house built, then called The Cottage House. The structure has decorative Victorian Gothic design and is nestled on a cliff near the St.Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay.

Across U.S. Route 1 from the Henrietta Brewer House is the John N. M. Brewer House, recently a bed and breakfast accommodation.

Robbinston Grade School (2013)

Grade School (2013) @

Volunteer Fire Department (2013)

Vol. Fire Department (2013) @

Robbinston Post Office (2013)

Post Office (2013) @

Beach, Picnic Area and Boat Launch on the Saint Croix in Robbinston (2013)

Beach, Picnic, Boat Launch . .

Beach, Picnic Area and Boat Launch on the Saint Croix in Robbinston (2013)

. . . on the Saint Croix River . . .

Beach, Picnic Area and Boat Launch on the Saint Croix in Robbinston (2013)

. . . in Robbinston (2013) @

Robbinston is the birthplace in 1868 of lawyer, and women’s rights advocate Gail Laughlin.

The Mansion House (2013)

The Mansion House (2013)

Old House on Route 1 (2013)

Old House on Rt. 1 (2013) @

Grace Chapel on Route 1 (2013)

Grace Chapel, Rt. 1 (2013) @

Form of Government: Town Meeting-Select Board.

Additional resources

Barnes, Jeffrey P. Highlights of the History of Robbinston, Maine: Colonial Era to the Early Twentieth Century. Robbinston, Me. J. Barnes. c1994. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections; Maine State Library]

Brown, Ernest C. Diaries, 1905-1941. (Cataloger Note: Diaries, 1905-1941, of Ernest C. Brown documenting his employment as a rural mail carrier in Robbinston, Maine. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

Brown, Ernest C. Memoirs of a Mailman R.F.D. Carrier Ernest E. Brown [sic] 1905-43 in the Town of Robbinston, Me. Robbinston, Me. B.A.B. Barnes. 1994.

Hume, John. Account Books, 1850-1889. (Cataloger Note: Account books of John Hume of Robbinston, Maine, used to record financial transactions of his business, probably a general store, as well as his services to the town of Robbinston.) [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

***Maine. Historic Preservation Commission. Augusta, Me.  Text and photo from National Register of Historic Places: http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/xxxxxxxx.PDF, http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/photos/xxxxxxxx.PDF

Brewer, Henrietta, House: 83003688.PDF
Brewer, John N.M., House : 83003690.PDF
Grace Episcopal Church: 01000816.PDF
Mansion House: 73000154.PDF
Sewell Memorial Church: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=mhpc_recent_listings&id=476623&v=article (accessed March 6, 2017)

Redclyffe Shore Motor Inn. http://www.redclyffeshoremotorinn.com/ (accessed March 9, 2012)

National Register of Historic Places – Listings

Brewer, Henrietta, House

Henrietta Brewer House, now Redclyffe Motel (2013)

Henrietta Brewer House, now Redclyffe Motel (2013)

[US Route 1] This picturesque residence is the most authentically “Gothic” house in eastern Maine, the two listed in the National Register in Calais falling more into the imaginative “Carpenter Gothic” variety. With its pointed arch windows, clustered gables, label moldings and pinnacles it speaks strongly of the traditional Gothic Revival theme. Beautifully situated on the bank of the St. Croix River, the house is now a tourist home.

The house was built by Henrietta Brewer, wife of John N. M. Brewer, whose Greek Revival Temple style house is nearby, and daughter-in-law of General John Brewer, whose home, “The Mansion House” is also in the neighborhood.*

Brewer, John N.M., House

Brewer House Bed & Breakfast in Robbinston

Brewer House Bed & Breakfast in Robbinston

[US Route 1]  The John N. M. Brewer House in Robbinston is, in addition to being a particularly refined piece of architecture, the only example of amphiprostyle Greek Revival temple house in eastern or northern Maine. In addition, it reflects the prosperity which shipping and shipbuilding brought to the area in the early years of the 19th century.

John Nehemiah Marks Brewer was the son of General John Brewer, a shipbuilder and commander of the Washington County Militia during the War of 1812, who built the “Mansion House” nearby. The younger Brewer, at first serving as a Captain on his father’s vessels, became a highly successful shipbuilder himself and operated yards both in Robbinston and St. Andrews across the river in Canada. Not long after his death in 1857 the property came into use as a local school and served in this capacity for many years. In the early 20th century it returned to private ownership.* [See photo above.]

Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Chapel in Robbinston (2013)

Grace Chapel in Robbinston (2013)

[US Route 1, 0.5 miles northwest of the junction with Third Road] This 1882 Church is a virtually unaltered  vernacular Gothic Revival wood frame building.  Deconsecrated on June 7, 2000, it was deeded to the Robbinston Historical Society. Grace Episcopal Church is part of a distinctive group of religious buildings erected in Maine during the late 19th and early 20th centuries built in large part by summer residents. Often these chapels were substantial architect designed buildings.

Although it is more modest than many of its contemporaries, Grace Episcopal Church is an important local example of religious architectural expression in late 19th  century. Its Gothic Revival features reflect the popularity of this style in Robbinston and Calais.* [See photo above.]

Mansion House, The

[north of Robbinston on US Route 1] The Mansion House is a lasting monument to the enterprise, prosperity and importance in the development of the shipbuilding industry on the shore of Passamaquoddy Bay. It was the leading occupation and the principal factor in the settlement and development of the region in the late 18th and early l9th century. This led to rapid advances in lumbering and other industries, and provided a great part of the schooner fleet, which launched the U.S. as a great mercantile nation. It also cemented cooperation between entrepreneurs on the Canadian and American shores of the St. Croix River.

General John Brewer, builder and original occupant of the Mansion House, became one of the most active shipbuilders. He was Brigadier General of the Washington County militia and postmaster among other public positions. His activities were temporarily suspended during the War of 1812 when he was the American officer who accepted the surrender of the British forces in Machias. They were resumed after the war by General Brewer and his son, John N. M. Brewer.* [See photo above left.]

Sewell Memorial Church

The Sewall Memorial Church is a notable example of religious architecture. Built in 1911 to replace an earlier church, the building is asymmetrically composed, wood-frame, with off-set tower. It is an example of a form of religious building that became increasingly common after the Civil War, due in part to widely distributed, published plans.

Formerly known as the Robbinston Congregational Church, this building is the only example of late Victorian-era religious architecture in this small community. *

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