Union City in Branch County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
"Municipal Pond" Becomes Union Lake
Union City Heritage Water Trail
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.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals Environment • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Michigan - Union City Heritage Water Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1923.
Location. 42° 3.816′ N, 85° 9.562′ W. Marker is in Union City, Michigan, in Branch County. 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. Touch for map. 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 one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Arbogast Bridge (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Carp Rodeo (approx. half a mile away); 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). 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 www.uchwt.com
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 17, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. This page has been viewed 301 times since then and 100 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.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. View of marker in context • Can you help?