“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Union City in Branch County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

“Municipal Pond” Becomes Union Lake

"Municipal Pond" Becomes Union Lake Marker image. Click for full size.
By Val Rossman, June 17, 2016
1. "Municipal Pond" Becomes Union Lake Marker
Inscription.  In 1923, when the Riley Dam was built in the St. Joe to create hydro for the village, the 500+ acre backwater was known only as the “Municipal Pond.” There had not been enough time to clear the swampy land before damming, so trees were cut flush with the ice. While the dam project had nearly been blocked by local land owners, interest developed quickly in the shoreline property for cottages and resorts. Lots sold for $25-$50 apiece in the 1930s, and there were several rental cabin resorts. The fishing was legendary but did not fall under DNR conservation, as there was no “lake” designation. It wasn’t until 1927 that local conservationists along with State Rep. Dr. McClain of Quincy secured the “Union Lake” designation so that state conservation efforts could help preserve fishing for later generations. The 90 member Union Lake Community Association formed in 1982 works diligently for water quality, weed control and fish stocking.
Erected 2016 by Union City Heritage Water Trail. (Marker Number 27.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Union City Heritage Water Trail marker series.
Location. 42° 3.816′ N, 85° 9.562′ W. Marker is in Union City, Michigan, in Branch County. Touch for map. This marker is on private property please do not attempt to access it by trespassing on foot. It is meant to be viewed by paddling the St. Joseph River as part of the Union City Heritage Water Trail. It is on the south bank of the Union Lake just past the Arbogast Bridge. It can be seen from the bridge but not read. Marker is in this post office area: Union City MI 49094, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Arbogast Bridge (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Indigenous Residents (approx. half a mile away); Gerald Davison's Hilltop House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Elkhorn Lodge: Home of "Skinny" Bullock (approx. 0.6 miles away); Head of St. Joe Navigation (approx. ¾ mile away); Alumni Field (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Park Street "Spencer" Bridge (approx. one mile away); The French & Trading Posts (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union City.
More about this marker. There are 28 of these markers comprising the Union City Heritage Water Trail on the Coldwater River and the St. Joseph River launched in 2016 for the village's Sesquicentennial. These markers can be viewed by paddling the 5 mile stretch of river from the JP Palmer Launch in the Village of Union City to the Riley Dam on the SW Corner of Union Lake. Most of these markers CANNOT by accessed by foot as they are on private property along the river. Please do not trespass. More details can be found at
Also see . . .  Union City Heritage Water Trail Marker 27. This link will take you to the official Union City Heritage Water Trail page for this marker which contains additional photos and information. (Submitted on June 17, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan.) 
Categories. EnvironmentMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 19, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 17, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. This page has been viewed 149 times since then and 10 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on June 17, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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