A dam creates a waterfall at Mashapaug Pond at the Bigelow Hollow State Park in Union. (STEPHEN DUNN, HARTFORD COURANT / June 21, 2001)
NAME: Once called "Union lands" or "Union Right," the name may be a result of the town being formed by all the leftover bits of land once the boundaries of surrounding towns became set.
SMALL TOWN: Union is the state's smallest town. The first Connecticut census in 1756 showed the population of Union at 500; there are approximately 750 residents today. One-third of the town's area is set aside as state park and forestland, including Bigelow Hollow State Park, the Mountain Laurel Sanctuary and Nipmuck State Forest.
DID YOU KNOW? Union was the last town to be settled east of the Connecticut River. During the Revolutionary War, black lead from Union's mines were used at the Salisbury cannon foundry.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS: Ebenezer Stoddard, U.S. Representative from Connecticut and Lt. Governor of Connecticut, was born here in 1785. Alonzo E. Horton, considered the founder of modern San Diego, was born here in 1813.
Sources: Charles Hammond's The History of Union, Connecticut; Blue Book; Town website; Biographical directory, U.S. Congress
Our Towns: More Union History:
Union, the last town to be settled east of the Connecticut River, was incorporated in 1734. Union has the smallest population of any Connecticut town at 694. Its size is 29.9 square miles.
The state Laurel Sanctuary off Route 190 is home to an astonishing collection of mountain laurel, the Connecticut state flower. The size and beauty of the plants at the sanctuary must be seen to be believed. Picnic tables and grassy spots are provided for those who want a particularly aromatic getaway. Bigelow Hollow State Park on Route 171 is nestled between the Nipmuck State Forest and the clear waters of Mashapaug Pond. Picnic areas and nature trails are everywhere and entrance to the park is free during the week. Weekend rates are $5 per Connecticut vehicle and $8 for out-of-state cars.
The town is governed by a board of selectmen, board of finance and town meeting. Agriculture and forestry are the primary industries.
The town is a member of the Northeast Connecticut Visitors District, which promotes the activities and festivals of its member towns. The town green, bordered by Kinney Hollow and Town Hall roads and Buckley Highway, is highlighted by a monument to Union's Civil-War veterans and is where the church, public library and old town hall are located.