The History of Union High School
Union (population 576) is located in the southwest portion of McHenry County in the far
northeast area of Illinois. Union is approximately 25 miles east of Rockford. U.S. Route 20 passes by Union about one
mile to the south and Illinois Route 176 travels by town about one mile to the north. The county roads named T65 and
Union Road will take you directly to this busy community. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad also passes through
The history of the town of Union began in 1849 when discussions of building the Chicago and North Western
Railroad began. This railroad was completed in 1852. The first house in Union was built in 1851, the first post office
in 1852. The town was officially recognized in 1897.
The first school building was erected in 1870. It included a two-year high school course of study
plus grades 1 - 8. The two-year high school was discontinued in 1900. High school courses of some sort continued
to be offered until 1918. The second floor of the building was transformed into a gymnasium in 1938.
The original Union High School building, pictured at the top of this page, continues to be used as part
of the McHenry County Historical Society museum. Union is home to the Illinois Railway Museum and
the McHenry County Historical Society.
Union High School Quick Facts
Year opened as 2-year HS: 1870
Year 2-year HS ceased: 1900
Year all HS classes ceased: 1918
Marengo High School
unknown if athletics offered