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UC library hosting special celebration to commemorate Florida and UC anniversaries

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Union County Public Library will host a special celebration commemorating Florida’s 500th as well as Union County’s 92nd anniversaries. The program will begin at 6 p.m. with a stroll down memory lane, followed by an exciting performance of “The Real Florida” by Matthew Sabatella.

(For more information about Sabatella and his performance, visit his website

In addition, the Union County Historical Society has loaned items from its museum to be on display at the library. This free, historic program is appropriate for the entire family.

Join the library staff and community as they celebrate our rich heritage.

Gov. Hardee signing bill creating Union County in 1921

Gov. Hardee signing bill creating Union County in 1921

The birth of Union County

The area that is now Union County was originally part of St. Johns County when Florida first became a territory of the United States in 1821. In 1822 Union became part of Duval County. From 1828 to 1832 the area that is now Union County was part of Alachua County. Upon its creation in 1832, Columbia County encompassed the area of Union where it remained until 1858.

In 1858 New River County was created and the town of Lake Butler was designated as the county seat. In 1861 the name of the county was changed to Bradford in honor of Major Bradford, the first Confederate officer from Florida to lose his life in the Civil War. After the war, several elections were held to determine if Lake Butler or Starke should be the county seat. In the late 1890s Starke won the site election and was named the county seat.

In 1921, rather than have another site election, Bradford County was divided in order to form Union County. On May 20, 1921, an act providing for the creation of Union County was presented to the State Legislature. The part of Bradford County at the Baker County line where the bed of New River intersects, following a southwesterly direction to the bed of the Santa Fe River was given to Union County. On October 1, 1921 Union County officially became the 61st county of the State of Florida comprising 246 square miles.

The name “Union” was chosen as the name of the county to express its unity after years of strife and division.

Viva Florida 500

Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative to highlight the 500 years of historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León to the land he named “La Florida,” meaning land of flowers,  in 1513.

History of  La Florida: Timeline at-a-glance

12,000 years ago (10,000 B.C.E.) – Native Americans occupy Florida

16th Century – Africans arrive with Spaniards

1513 – Juan Ponce de León lands on East Coast

1521 – Juan Ponce de León returns and is mortally wounded on Florida’s SW Coast

1528 – Pánfilo de Narváez expedition

1539 – 1543 – Hernando de Soto expedition

1539 – 1540 – Francisco Maldonado

1559 – Tristán de Luna

1562 – Jean Ribault – Jacksonville and Beaufort, SC

1564 – Rene de Laudonnière – Ft. Caroline

1565 – Pedro Menéndez – St. Augustine

1573 – Spanish Missions

1587 – Roanoke (Lost Colony). VA

1607 – Jamestown, VA

1620 – Plymouth (Pilgrims), MASS

1630 – Massachusetts Bay (Puritans)

1687 – The first runaway slaves from northern plantations are granted asylum in St.  Augustine.

1698 – Spaniards re-establish Pensacola

1738 – Fort Mosè

1763 – Florida to Britain

1783 – Florida to Spain

1818 – First Seminole War

1821 – Florida as United States Territory

1845 – Florida becomes a State

Source: Museum of Florida History and

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