County Seat: Union City

Union City is the home of Discovery Park, U.S.A., one of Tennessee's newest tourist attractions.

Were it located in Nashville or Memphis, this wonderful children's, natural history, science, military and local history museum would not seem that unusual. But its presence in (relatively rural) Obion County is the result of an $80 million contribution by Union City resident Robert Kirkland.

Scroll down for more photos of Discovery Park.

Reelfoot Lake
Obion County is also one of two Tennessee counties (the other is Lake County) that borders Reelfoot Lake.

Reelfoot is unique in many ways. It is Tennessee's only natural lake -- formed during the
New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811 and 1812. The lake and the area around it made national news in 1907 and 1908, during the Night Riders era mentioned here, on the Lake County page. Since Reelfoot is surrounded by flat land and has cypress trees growing in it, it doesn't look anything like the man-made lakes found elsewhere in Tennessee.

The old Obion County courthouse in Troy
PHOTO courtesy of Jane Powell
Union City is the county seat of Obion County, but it hasn't always been that way. Troy was originally the county seat of Obion County; in fact, David Crockett was present when Troy was first laid out in 1825.
This is where the Obion Courthouse used to be located when Troy was the county seat.
However, when the railroads were built a few years later, the Nashville & Northwestern railroad line intersected with the Mobile & Ohio line in a place about 10 miles north of Troy. Because the train tracks met there they organized a town there called Union City. In 1890 the county seat moved there.

Here's a picture of the current Obion County Courthouse in Union City.

PHOTO: TN State Library and Archives
It's not a bad courthouse, but we prefer the one that preceded it.

Check out this wonderful photograph in the Tennessee State Library and Archives collection of the Obion County Courthouse in about 1900.

And, as promised, here are more photos of Discovery Park.

Click on each photo to make it bigger!