Although the Miami Valley Sunday News has been published for about 40 years, this quickly passing year of 2018 has seen the publication take some major steps in truly being a Miami Valley newspaper. First, the Sunday Valley section initiated highlighting some northern Montgomery County communities’ news stories. Then, on Nov. 21, we found out that the Troy Daily News and the Piqua Daily Call ceased to exist as separate publications and were merged to create the Miami Valley Today news publication. I do not know what the plans in the New Year will be, but it looks like our neighborhood is growing.
Several weeks ago, in September, I wrote a little history about one of our neighboring communities to the south, Wayne Township and Huber Heights. In this column, I would like to take a few minutes to talk about another community in our area.
Union is a small, but rapidly growing community on the northern edge of Montgomery County in Randolph Township. Some of the earliest settlers in that area migrated here from Randolph County, North Carolina and named the township for the home they left behind in search of a better life.
Randolph Township was formed 214 years ago in November 1804, and the first recorded non-Native settlers in the area was the Mast family.
According to Beers’ history of Montgomery County (1882), the village of Union, Ohio, was laid out by Daniel Rasor and David Hoover in 1816. An 1880 accounting found in the Beers history book exhibits that Union was a thriving little community with several stores, blacksmiths, a wagon maker, a couple shoemakers, a dentist, two doctors, a gunsmith, a tile factory, two butchers, and a small mill; along with a church and a schoolhouse. It was a pretty self-sufficient little town.
Located near the confluence of several major historic routes through the area, i.e., the National Road to the south, State Route 48, which was an early thoroughfare and the Stillwater River. Of course, for over 50 years, it has also had the benefit of Interstate 70 to the south.
For many years, Union was a pleasant community which slowly increased in population, but remained a smaller town, which many of the residents enjoyed. Even today, the city is just short of 7,000 residents (2017).
As more people saw Union as a nice quiet community in which to live and commute to Dayton, or elsewhere to work, the town began to see more growth. In light of this, the community leaders began to explore possibilities. Historically, Union was ‘hemmed in’ by the Stillwater on the east; the county line on the north; Englewood on the south and other communities on the west. But, it is now growing beyond those traditional barriers.
Initially, in the early 1990’s, Union was rebuffed by Union Township officials in Miami County in an effort to annex portions of the township to the city. Eventually, Union was able to expand into southern Miami County, much like Huber Heights in the eastern portion of the county.
Now, West Milton, Union and Englewood almost create an unbroken line along State Route 48. There is still a fair amount of farmland between West Milton and Union, but the both communities have annexed property into their respective communities up to the point of convergence.
With expansion into Miami County, Butler Township and other small areas, Union is moving forward with a comprehensive plan for future development and a new 440 acre business and industrial park adjacent to Dayton International Airport.
From a small village to a growing community, Union is one of our neighbors which is redefining itself in today’s world.
If you would like to explore more history and information concerning Union or Randolph Township, then please contact the Randolph Township Historical Society at: 937-832-8538 or RTHS 114 Valleyview Drive Englewood, OH 45322.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to email@example.com