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John L. Robinson House

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c. 1813; c. 1833 house; 1985–1986 annex. 120 Main St.
  • (© George E. Thomas)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

John L. Robinson purchased this newly built house shortly after he arrived in Wellsboro from Hartwick, New York, in 1834. He engaged in merchandizing and lumber enterprises before founding the First National Bank of Wellsboro in 1864. The house's rear wing was originally a tavern, built for Alpheus Cheney c. 1813, and is the town's oldest frame building. The clapboarded house with five bays and central-hall plan reflect Georgian influence, while the box cornice, classical entablature, and flush-board gable pediments are classically inspired and reflect the continuing flow of ideas from New England and New York. The dominant element, however, is the Greek Ionic porch with a recessed-panel parapet and sidelight and transom entrance. The porch's sophisticated design suggests that it was added later. A semi-octagonal bay window was added in the 1890s, and the Greek Revival rear annex, a replica of Robinson's 1864 bank, dates to 1986. The house is famous as the site of a robbery in 1874, when seven armed men entered the house and forced one of the family to open the vault of the nearby bank. Only two of the perpetrators were captured. The Tioga County Historical Society has occupied the house since 1980.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "John L. Robinson House", [Wellsboro, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 563-563.

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