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 states.

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.