Did you know…
The Greater Wakefield Resource Center is housed in a historic landmark!
The Story of the Union Hotel
In 1854, the Eastern Railroad was extended north to Union, New Hampshire. Not only was Union Station the northernmost terminus of the railroad, it was the only depot in all of Carroll County, making it a key location for modern transportation and trade.
A man named Robert Pike, who lived right by the tracks, decided to turn his home into a hotel to serve the new influx of travelers. The Union Hotel was opened in 1855 and quickly became one of the busiest hotels in the state of New Hampshire.
The Union Hotel boasted facilities to accommodate 20 guests, a large barn, and a large hall, known as Pike's Hall. The dining rooms were said to be the most elegant in northern New Hampshire. Louis Tibbetts, author of A History of Union, New Hampshire, recalls an amusing anecdote about the hotel:
“I am told that in the very early days of the train, when it whistled at the crossing over the Mills Hill Road, all hands at the Union House grabbed their mugs and filled them with beer, for when the train pulled into the station, there was a beeline from the train to hotel for a mug of beer.”
In addition to offering food and drink, Robert Pike also kept a livery stable at the hotel. This was particularly useful during the 17 years when Union Station was the end of the railway line. Salesmen would come to town by train, stay at the hotel, and then hire a horse and wagon to travel onward to northern territories.
Robert Pike owned and operated the hotel for 61 years until 1916. After his death, the hotel remained in use until 1939. It had a few different proprietors, including Clara Perkins who served coffee and donuts to help sustain the firemen during the fire of 1923 (an event where much of Main Street was burned), and a Chevrolet dealer named Charles Farmer who painted the building red and renamed it the Red Coach Inn! After Robert Pike, Ms. Perkins was the longest running proprietor of the hotel. She lived in and ran the hotel until her death in 1932.
After 1939, business slowed considerably and the hotel began to fall into disrepair until it was purchased by the Burroughs Drew Post of the VFW in 1966. VFW volunteers put in a great deal of work to save and restore the building.
In 1989, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (see photo gallery below), and it became the home of the Greater Wakefield Resource Center in 2020. Today, we are still dedicated to restoring this grand building! Our goal is to restore the second and third floors, including Pike Hall, the theater space on the third floor where the old plaster walls are signed by Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman!
- A History of Union, New Hampshire (1775-1992) by Louis E. Tibbetts
Written by Louis Tibbetts, who lived on Main Street and owned Tibbetts' Country Store for almost 30 years. Updated and published online by his son Tim Tibbetts.
- Fritz Wetherbee on the Union Hotel
A video of Fritz Wetherbee discussing the history of the Union Hotel on NH Chronicle.
- Support the Center
Learn how you can help us restore and preserve this historic building!