I did a previous article about a Bob Seger-themed bar in the Michigan Thumb town of Unionville...and that got me interested in the town itself. It has a downtown area with many old and abandoned buildings which intrigued me enough to find out a little more about this place.

Located in (what is now) Tuscola County, it was in 1854 when the first home was built here by Horace Marvin. One he got his family settled in, he quickly opened his own general store. In 1856, Samuel Covey and William J. Davis brought a stock of general merchandise, selling mostly mosquito netting to the residents who clamored for it. Being one of the founding fathers, Horace Marvin was made postmaster in 1861 and named the village after his hometown of Union, Ohio.

Unionville was settled at a perfect place near the closest water source, Wessacaugen Creek, now known as the Wiscoggin Drain. Unionville's capital relied on the lumber business, but as with most Michigan lumber towns, timber became depleted and the economy shrank. However, Unionville survived and today has a healthy community, albeit a very lonely-looking downtown area.

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In 1872, a description of Unionville was written as follows: "The outlook of this thriving village is very encouraging. The country around is heavily timbered, and the soil rich and fertile. Remote from any competing town.....it cannot fail of becoming a place of considerable importance.”

However, just eight years later in 1880, this was written: “Unionville is a pretty and thriving place, but its progress has been retarded for some years by the lack of shipping facilities. Sebewaing has robbed it of its prestige as a wheat and produce market.....inhabitants are hopeful of a turn in the tide at no far distant day, when bands of iron will link the village to the outer world, and the puff of the iron horse will be heard in its streets."

The railroad did come through, but the lumber biz was fading out. The photo gallery below features images of how Unionville appeared over one hundred years ago; there are also a handful of photos showing some of the old empty buildings downtown. For a side story (if you haven't seen it yet), take a look here at the Bob Seger bar - “Cat Man Do” - in Unionville.

Unionville, Then-and-Now: 1900-2020s


The Michigan Thumb Town of Fostoria

Abandoned Houses in the Michigan Thumb

The Michigan Thumb Town of Brown City

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