Union County History
The County was created in 1853 from Clarke County. It is a gently
rolling land which originally was covered with prairie and an
occasional grove of trees. It originally was to be named Mason but at
the last minute the name was changed to Union because of the arising
differences between the north and the south.
In 1846 Mormons established a way station named Mt. Pisgah on the
eastern side of the county. This was the temporary home of thousands
of Mormons as they traveled west. The last Mormon left in 1852.
In 1849, the first permanent settlers came into the county and
this site was the location of the first post office in Union County.
The first settlers located along the Grand and Platte Rivers in Union
County. The first village, Petersville, was established near the
Grand River in 1853. Farmland drew settlers from the eastern
The railroad came to Afton in 1868. Creston was established by
the railroad as a division point in 1869 and continues to be a
railroad town to this date. Most towns in the County began as the
railroad pushed west, north, and south. Union County became a melting
pot of many ethnic groups. The railroad brought in settlers from the
eastern states and many European countries such as Sweden, Germany,
England, Ireland, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia and others. Many of these
early settlers came as either employees of the railroad or at the
urging of the railroad's land agent.
Presently the income of many of the county's residents is
dependent on agriculture and a fine number of service and
manufacturing industries in the county. The present population of the
county is 12,000 people.
Today Creston and Union County are part of the Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Railroad system, the nation's largest rail network.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe embraces 28,000 miles of track and
is the largest grain and coal hauling railroad in the country. A
retired caboose formerly used on the C.B. & Q. railroad sets on
display in downtown Creston.