Union City, Tennessee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Union City, Tennessee
Obion County Courthouse, downtown

Obion County Courthouse, downtown
Nickname(s): UC
Location of Union City, Tennessee
Location of Union City, Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°25′28″N 89°3′3″WCoordinates: 36°25′28″N 89°3′3″W
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Obion
Established 1854[1]
Incorporated 1867[2]
Named for Local railroad junction[1]
 • Total 10.7 sq mi (27.6 km2)
 • Land 10.7 sq mi (27.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 335 ft (102 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,895
 • Density 1,020.1/sq mi (393.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 38261 & 38281
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-75940[3]
GNIS feature ID 1273213[4]
Website www.unioncitytn.gov

Union City is a small town located in the northwest corner of Tennessee.United States.[5] The 2010 census reported the population of the town to be 10,895. Union City is the principal city of the surrounding micropolitan area, which includes, Obion County, Tennessee and Fulton County, Kentucky.

The city name, Union City, was derived from its location at the junction of two railroads with one running roughly east-west and the other roughly north-south. Union City is recognized for the following: It was the site of a minor battle in the American Civil War in March 1864, and it was the site of a Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company/Goodyear Tire plant, which generated a large amount of the city’s economy. It is also the hometown of both Congressman, John S. Tanner and Jerry L. Gurien, the inventor of stone washed jeans and Gurien Finishing Corp., which developed a process in the 1980s that stone-washed jeans and denims. The Discovery Park of America serves as a major attraction in the state of Tennessee and is located within the Union City city limits. It was founded by Robert Kirkland and opened its doors in 2014. Union City is approximately 30-45 minutes from Reelfoot Lake. This well-known lake was formed from the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812 and is a popular recreational boating and fishing location in the state. Union City is also approximately 15-20 minutes from the University of Tennessee at Martin.


Union City is located at 36°25′28″N 89°3′3″W (36.424395, −89.050850).[6] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.7 square miles (28 km2), all of it land. The current mayor is Terry Hailey.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,879
1890 3,441 83.1%
1900 3,407 −1.0%
1910 4,389 28.8%
1920 4,412 0.5%
1930 5,865 32.9%
1940 7,256 23.7%
1950 7,665 5.6%
1960 8,837 15.3%
1970 11,925 34.9%
1980 10,436 −12.5%
1990 10,513 0.7%
2000 10,876 3.5%
2010 10,895 0.2%
Est. 2012 10,782 −1.0%

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 10,876 people, 4,568 households, and 2,905 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,020.1 people per square mile (393.9/km²). There were 5,013 housing units at an average density of 470.2 per square mile (181.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.44% White, 21.29% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 1.59% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.41% of the population.

There were 4,568 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every hundred females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,399, and the median income for a family was $40,737. Males had a median income of $35,801 versus $19,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,787. About 12.5% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.4% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


Over the years many companies have located manufacturing or processing plants there. Currently, the city has several vital companies that operate plants in Union City.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company operated a plant in the city from 1969 to 2011. This plant was considered the largest employer in Union City as well as in Obion County. In the plant, workers produced passenger car and light-truck tires. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Union City was the only plant licensed to produce tires for the Chevrolet Corvette.[citation needed] While most North American Goodyear Plants had slowed production during the recent years due to outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas,[citation needed] production was steady at the Union City plant. On February 10, 2011, Goodyear announced that the Union City plant would shut down by the end of the year. On June 11, 2011, first shift workers were informed that production had ceased.[9] This plant closing affects over 1800 workers and may have a devastating effect on the economy of Union City and surrounding areas.

Late in 2011, Titan Tire Corporation, a subsidiary of Titan International, Inc., purchased the former Goodyear plant and announced plans to use the facility as a warehouse for farm and off-road tires, with further uses to be determined. In February, 2012, Titan announced a multi-year supply contract with Caterpillar for tires.

After the departure of Goodyear, Tyson Foods is the largest industrial employer in Union City. Tyson Foods—Obion County Complex operates in multiple locations around Obion County. These facilities comprise the Union City Processing Plant, Hatchery, and Wastewater Plant. Tyson Foods also operates a rather large feedmill just inside the city limits of South Fulton, Tennessee.

The Kohler Company, best known for plumbing products, operates a plant in Union City’s Industrial Park. It is now the second largest industry in the city. At the Union City plant, workers produce shower doors.

Just outside the city limits of Union City, Darling International operates a rendering plant that it acquired in the 2010 purchase of Griffin Industries, which in turn had acquired Duncan Tankage Corporation in 1988.[10] The plant is now considered to be a state-of-the-art facility by many. However, the odors produced by the plant are repulsive to many nearby residents.[citation needed]

Union City is also home to a fireplace production plant located on Reelfoot Avenue. The plant produces fireplaces and fireplace products. It has been sold a number of times and undergone multiple name changes. The current name is Lennox Hearth Products. The name prior was Superior Fireplace. It was recently announced that Lennox is planning to expand this plant. Union City Council members have approved an agreement which will help Lennox expand its facilities.

City manager Don Thornton informed the council that 6 acres (24,000 m2) behind Lennox and property for right-of-way from there to Highway 45 can be acquired from Pate Properties East if the city will expand Home and Nelson streets and provide water, sewer, curbs and gutters at the city’s expense. Thornton said the business expansion will bring 188 jobs over the next five years to Union City at an investment of $15 million to the community.[citation needed]

Jiffy Steamer Company, LLC is the world’s largest manufacturer of garment steamers[citation needed] and is headquartered in Union City. Operating since 1940, Jiffy Steamer serves the commercial, residential and travel industries with its innovative steamers used to remove wrinkles from any type of fabric.

Union City is also home to the Discovery Park of America. It is located on 830 Everett Boulevard, near future Interstate 69. It features exhibits and activities on local history, nature, military history, art and science.


Union City was the home of the Union City Greyhounds, a minor league baseball team in the collegiate woodbat KIT League, which has teams in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Greyhounds played a 50-game season in June and July of each year. Union City is also home to the Union City FC, a Mexican-oriented soccer team, which plays in Jackson, TN to represent the city of Union City. Union City High School has a rich sports tradition. As a member of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA), the “Golden Tornadoes” compete in Baseball, Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Football, Boys’ and Girls’ Golf, Volleyball, Softball, Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis, Boys’ Soccer, and Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field.


Union City is served by the newspaper The Messenger (Union City Daily Messenger),[11][12] by the TV station WOBT, and by the following radio stations:

Historic Landmarks

Union City is the home of the Masquerade Theatre, headquartered in the former Capital Theater on South First Street. It is known for producing theatrical productions for 16 years including musicals, comedies, dramas, children’s plays, workshops, and concerts. Masquerade Theatre has already presented many successful and sold out productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Annie (musical). This theatre is a historic landmark and has been standing since the early 1900s.

The Jerry Gurien mansion is also a landmark of Union City. The 21 acre estate was built by the stone washed jeans inventor in 1988 and is located at 1707 E. Reelfoot Ave.

(From a historic marker entering the cemetery.) This 1869 memorial to unknown Confederate dead is one of the oldest Civil War monuments in Tennessee and is a rare example of Reconstruction-era memorialization. The monument’s location within a cemetery reflects the mourning element common to the first Civil War monuments in the South. After the end of the war, local women raised funds to disinter the bodies of Confederate soldiers from throughout the county and rebury them here. Some of the men had died at nearby Camp Brown, a training camp, while others had belonged to the 7th Tennessee Cavalry. On October 21, 1869, the Union City brass band led a procession here for the dedication ceremony.

Union City is also the home of the first monument ever dedicated to an “Unknown Soldier” as well as the first monument to a Confederate soldier in the South. It was erected in 1869. Only two graves in the cemetery surrounding the monument are occupied by the remains of known persons. The rest of the graves are the remains of unknown soldiers gathered from around the county and reburied in the Confederate cemetery.

Notable people


  1. Judi McIntyre, Historical and Architectural Resources of Union City, Obion County, Tennessee, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, October 1998, Sec. E, pg. 1. Retrieved: 26 February 2013.
  2. Tennessee Blue Book, 2005-2006, pp. 618-625.
  3. “American FactFinder”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. “US Board on Geographic Names”. United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. “Find a County”. National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. “US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990”. United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. “Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses”. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  8. “Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012”. Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  9. State Gazette, Goodyear Union City Plant Closes Its Doors, Retrieved July 12, 2011
  10. NWTN Today, Darling Purchases Griffin Industries. Retrieved 17-July-2011.
  11. Union City Daily Messenger, Mondotimes.com, Retrieved, October 6, 2010
  12. NWTNToday.com

Further reading

  • History of Obion County, assembled and edited by E.H. Marshall, 1941

External links


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