Started in 1858 with the establishment of the Wilson and Anderson trading post. In the same year the former Rush House, a two-story building with a bar and six bedrooms, was built. Guests were required to furnish their own bedding, and a cow’s horn was used to summon them to eat.
Anderson shortly sold his interest to F. C. Purdy, and a few years later John McReavy, a lumberman, assumed ownership and management of the store. By 1876 the logging camps on the Canal had increased to about 50; and most of these camps obtained provisions from the trading post. In 1889, the site was platted and named Union City. Then came the big boom of 1890–2 with the rumor that the Union Pacific was to make the town its salt water terminus. Tents were pitched everywhere, a half dozen stores and at least as many saloons sprang up. A sawmill, hastily built, was soon trying to meet the demand for lumber. Additions to the original townsite were platted for miles in all directions, and lots changed hands for $1,000 an acre. With the landing of construction gangs, horses, and equipment by the Union Pacific and the actual beginning of work, the dream seemed on the verge of realization. But on the very day the graders arrived, the Baring Brothers Bank of London failed, precipitating the panic of 1893, and when the news reached Union City a few days later, work was suspended. The boom was over.
In 1904 the postal department dropped the word “city.” Today, the town is a popular summer resort, and lots along the water front are again bringing a good price.