Union is a small census-designated place in Mason County, Washington, United States. The community lies along the southern shore of Hood Canal, at an area known as "the Great Bend". The U.S. Census reported a population of 631 inhabitants in the 2010 census. The ZIP Code for Union is 98592. It's figuratively in the middle of nowhere.
State Highway 106 is the main route through Union, leading to Belfair farther north, and Potlatch and US Highway 101 to the south.
Local attractions include a working farm and roadside market, a golf course, marinas and public boat launch sites, and the deep saltwater fjord of Hood Canal. Visitors come to the area for activities including boating, fishing, hunting, shellfishing, sea kayaking and birding. Union was named one of America's twenty prettiest towns by Forbes Traveler.
Union was founded and named in 1858 by merchants Willson and Anderson. In 1889, logging pioneer John McReavy platted Union City on Hood Canal’s south shore, neighbor to the Native American communities that had gathered where Hood Canal makes its great bend. This area is the homeland of the native Skokomish Tribe . The Skokomish River flows off the nearby Olympic Mountains, flowing into Hood Canal just south of Union.
The area’s logging operations worked at an unprecedented scale to supply the expansionist ethos of Manifest Destiny. Dozens of mills sent timber to the booming California goldfields and for the construction of the Panama Canal.
Surviving that era, the wilderness of the Olympic Mountains was designated a National Park in 1938 by Franklin Roosevelt. The area is now an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site.
The mountains in the southeast corner of the park—Mt. Washington, Mt. Constance, the Brothers—rise across Hood Canal and can be seen from almost any point in Union.
The generation that followed McReavy’s drew inspiration from this landscape. Union society circulated around Olympus Manor, an artist colony that prospered until 1952 when the Manor burned. It was the first non-native artist colony in Washington.
Visitors continue to come for summers of sunshine and shellfish, for the return of the salmon.
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