Fuller-Sabins Store

Lost Mansfield > Fuller-Sabins Store


It’s unknown when this house, later a store, was constructed.  “A house, barn and woodshed” are first mentioned in a deed in 1849 when Joseph Cleaveland purchased the property.  A typical New England cape, the house was likely built earlier in the century.  It stood on the southeast corner of the intersection of Middle Turnpike (now Route 44) and what is now Route 195.  It was diagonally across the intersection from the tavern.  

Fuller-Sabins Store
The Joseph Fuller store, c. 1900. The Fuller family lived in the house. The store was located in the ell.
Sabin's Red and White Store
Pete Sabins’ Red & White store taken in the early 1940s. By this time he had expanded the store from the ell into the main portion of the house and added gas pumps in front. The Red & White Corporation founded its chain of independently owned and operated food stores in 1925. All were located in small towns and some still exist today. The company did centralized buying and distribution for the small stores to allow them to compete against large chains.

In the late 1870s, Joseph Cleaveland Fuller purchased the house.  He was the son of Daniel E. Fuller and grandson of Daniel, the tavern keeper.  On his mother’s side, he was a descendant of Joseph Cleaveland, the original owner of the house. Joseph C. Fuller either added the north ell to the house for a store or converted a pre-existing ell for that purpose.  During his ownership, the post office also re-located to this store.

Joseph’s son, Irving W. Fuller, sold the property to Elisha “Pete” Sabins in 1925.  Pete Sabins operated his Red & White store for some twenty years, expanding it from the ell into the main body of the house.  Pete was quite a character and his store became a popular gathering place in the community.  As autos and trucks became more common, he added gas pumps in front of the store.  This was the first gas station at Four Corners. 

Pete Sabins
Pete Sabins waiting on a customer in his store, c. 1945. Note the sign in the upper right. “OPA” stands for the Office of Price Administration that controlled prices on consumer products and also rationed scarce items during World War II. The OPA was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the U.S. government on August 28, 1941 and was abolished May 29, 1947.

In 1946, Sabins sold the property to Elliott G. “Buster” Beebe, Lloyd V. Beebe and Royal E. Thompson, Jr.  “Buster” Beebe operated the store for a short time.  Then, in 1948, he had the building demolished and constructed the present commercial building on the site. This was the beginning of the commercial development of this busy intersection into what it has become today.

Fuller Sabin's Store Today
The current commercial building that was constructed in 1948 on the former site of the Fuller-Sabins store.

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