Union | Olde English District

User menu


Union (c. 1749; 8.0 sq. miles; population: 8,793).

Union is the county seat. Both Union and Union County received their names from the old Union Church that stood a short distance from the Monarch Mill. When it was first founded, Union was known as Unionville; later it was shortened to Union. The county’s first white settlers came from Virginia in 1749. Union County’s population grew the fastest between 1762 and the start of the Revolutionary War. Settlers built log cabins and cultivated tobacco, flax, corn and wheat. Union was one of the first towns settled in the area and was untouched during the Civil War because the Broad River flooded and turned Sherman’s troops away from the town.


Union County Museum

Union is also the home of Boogaloo Folk Life Productions, an annual community effort wherein recollections of historical events are collected by local residents and presented in a play. The county's Carnegie Library was named Best Small Library in America by Library Journal for 2009. Historic Downtown Union is filled with specialty shops, friendly people, beautiful architecture and much more. We invite you to experience the charm of our historic downtown and we look forward to seeing you. You will be pleasantly surprised as you take a stroll down our beloved Main Street seeing all "she" has to offer. Embark on your tour historical buildings such as a Robert Mills designed old jail house, the Union County Museum, located in Main Stratt, and good shopping in between. Voted “Best Local Museum in the State of South Carolina,” the museum is filled with historical materials ranging from local pottery, Civil War flags, photographs, paintings and rare books.

Civil War

Gist Mansion at Rose Hill State Historic Site

Reenactment at Cross Keys

Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site, named for its landscaped rose garden, interprets the life and legacy of the man history has come to know as the “Secession Governor,” Gov. William H. Gist. Ttake a tour of the plantation to learn about the prosperous antebellum lifestyle on a plantation from 1828-1960. Visitors can also walk the elegant grounds, admire the beautiful rose gardens and explore other original plantation buildings. Cross Keys House. Built from 1812 to 1814 by Barrum (Barham) Bobo, the Cross Keys House is one of the oldest and most significant homes in Union County and the entire Upstate of South Carolina. The house was majestically located on a knoll at the intersection of two historic roads; the Old Buncombe Road (or Charleston Road) and Old Ninety-Six (also known as the Old Piedmont Stage Road). Two old milestones indicating the distances to Union and Columbia remain in front of the house. The house was aprosperous plantation that also provided a welcome stop for travelers. Tradition supported by diaries hold that Jefferson Davis, some members of his cabinet and a military escort made their last stop in Union and had the noon meal at the Cross Keys House on their flight from Richmond, Virginia. There is a historic marker at the site and the house is listed as an historic site on the Jefferson Davis Trial.