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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Robinson Farmstead house (T. Heggland photo, 2009)

Robinson Farmstead farm buildings (T. Heggland photo, 2009)

Robinson Farmstead farm buildings (T. Heggland photo, 2009)

John C. & Mary Robinson Farmstead, “The Maples”
18002 West County Highway C, Town of Union, Rock County
Architect: George F. Barber & Co.
Dates of contributing resources: ca. 1865-1950

Located just three miles west of the city of Evansville, the Robinson Farmstead was home to three generations of the Robinson family and it is one of the finest of the many prosperous farms in this part of the county. John C. Robinson (1859-1938) and his brother Theodore (1852-1896), who became one of America’s first important Impressionist painters, grew up in Evansville. John’s interest turned to farming early on and by the age of nineteen he already managed the original portion of this farmstead. Robinson quickly availed himself of the new techniques and scientific discoveries that were then pouring out of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agriculture in nearby Madison. This led, in 1898, to his purchase of the first of the pure bred cattle whose breeding would become his life’s work. By 1900, he was able to build a fine late Queen Anne style house that is still the centerpiece of the farmstead today. The noted Knoxville, Tennessee mail order architectural firm of George F. Barber & Co supplied the plans. Robinson’s continued success allowed him to build the first of the farmstead’s two gambrel-roofed barns in 1915, to a plan supplied by the College of Agriculture, and the second went up in 1932 to a design supplied by the Hunt-Helm-Ferris Co. of Harvard, Illinois, which is better known for its Star Line brand.

Besides being the Robinsons’ home, this farm is also historically important for its associations with the family’s very successful and highly influential stock breeding activities, the most important of which centered on Hereford beef cattle. John C. Robinson was a pioneer in the field of selective breeding in the beef cattle industry and two of his Hereford bulls, Bonnie Brea 8th and Domino Lad, established bloodlines that are still productive today. After Robinson retired in 1935, his son Hugh took over the farm. And, after Hugh’s death in 1946, Hugh’s sons, Harold and Philip, operated the farm until their own retirement in the early 1970s.

The Robinson Farmstead is a private residence and is not open to the public. Please respect the rights and privacy of the owners.

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