City History | Union Iowa

Union is a small rural village built on the bluffs of the Iowa River. Union has the distinction of being the first community in what is now Hardin County.

When Greenberry Haggin and his family entered this untouched land in 1849, they were the only white persons residing in Hardin County. What is now Union Township was a high grass prairie when the first settlers came in 1850. The early settlers were mostly Quakers from North Carolina. Ethnic groups were primarily English and Irish with a few Germans. Almost all were farmers or had farm related interests.

Union's Annual Tar Heel Days is named in honor of those early settlers from North Carolina, the "Tar Heel" state. The main attraction for settlers was the prime farm land. The Iowa River provided water for saw mills and flour mills. There was timberland along the Iowa River for hunting small game, house building and firewood. Coal was mined north of Union. Today, the principal industry is still agriculture. The factors that have made farming more efficient in terms of labor, such as research in plant breeding, veterinary, medicine and crop production, have also influenced population trends in the area.

The town of Union, with strong support from its citizens, is striving to grow with the times while maintaining its valuable small town characteristics.

The first Pitt-Des Moines elevated water tank, built in Union, Iowa in 1893. It was built as part of a turnkey water works system for the municipality.

Interesting Links

Photograph of Early Union Iowa