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Union Green

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Before Union was incorporated in 1734, the proprietors of Union established 200 acres in the center of town for public use. Ten of these acres were reserved as a place for a meeting house, burying ground and parade ground. These ten acres are the predecessor of today's common, a small triangle, the greatest dimension measuring approximately 300 feet.

The meetinghouse was erected on a rise on Union Grove, now a privately-owned parcel, in 1741. One hundred years later, in 1841, the second meetinghouse was constructed. The town deeded the Society property on a rise north of the intersection of Route 190 and Town Hall Road where it is located today overlooking Union Green.

The 1840s were a busy time for the small town of Union. In 1846 it built a simple, one room schoolhouse, the Center District School, where it still stands at the corner of Kenney Hollow and Scranton Roads. In 1847, the separation of church and state was recognized by constructing a town hall, a one-story, clapboard structure, on the common to the west of the intersection of Buckley Highway and Town Hall Road, which is now part of the present day green. It was the site for town meetings until 1955 when a larger meeting room was added to Union School which is located across the intersection from the old Center School. These three buildings, the meetinghouse, the town hall and the school, are today the primary components of the green and privately-owned Union Grove.

Both the town hall and the school were constructed by Merrick Marcy (c. 1812-1869), a local merchant and contractor, who, following the Civil War, organized a shoe making business. Because Merrick was about the only business man in town - everyone else remained on their scattered farms as farmers - there is little residential development around the green. The buildings' simple vernacular construction reflect the rural nature of the community.

Over the years, the larger common was deeded to public and private entities to provide land for services needed by the town. Additional research needs to be done to determine the exact disposition of the original common. Today, the 5.3 acre triangle that comprises the publicly-owned green and the privately-owned Town Grove, and the streetscape around it, retain much of the character of a small, rural, 19th century town center.

The Union Green is a significant resource in that it has been, from the founding of the town to present day, the center of the community's political, religious, educational and social life. Symbolically, visually and functionally, it is the heart of the town of Union.

 

 
 

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