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West Union City

West Union City Hall is located at 612 Highway 150 South, West Union, IA 52175; phone: 563-422-3908.

Beginnings [1]

West Union was permanently settled nine years after the first white settlers cabin was built near Fayette in 1840. Originally known as Knob Prairie, it was the first town in the county, laid out in 1849. The first actual settler within the West Union Township was Lorenzo Dutton, who along with the Jones brothers, arrived in 1848.

In April of 1849, William Wells arrived and purchased a cabin from a David Smith. Jacob LyBrand and J.W. Rogers arrived in July of 1849 and became partners with William Wells in the purchase of 60 acres of land which eventually became the plat of West Union. The plat was surveyed in September 1849, and resurveyed in 1850. The town was laid out as four blocks north and south, by three blocks east and west. The center of the original area was reserved by William Wells as a public square and donated to the county on the condition that West Union be the county seat. William Wells also selected the name of West Union, named after a town in his home state of Ohio. Several settlers built cabins near West Union in the spring of 1849. Henry F. Smith, the first Justice of the Peace settled in West Union in May of that year. The first religious services were held in his home in September 1849. The first house in the newly platted part of the community was built by J.W. Rogers, who became the first County Judge. The Post Office was established in 1850 and was the first one in the county. The City of West Union was officially incorporated in 1866, long after the community had been developed and was a thriving town.

West Union was the first Fayette County seat, though not without a struggle, and the first Court House was built in 1857 on the public square. Over time, West Union has had to fight twice to keep the county seat in the community. Both occasions came after fires that destroyed the Court House in 1872 and 1922.

West Union was also home to Daniel Hess, the first to patent a vacuum cleaner. He called his invention the carpet sweeper and received his patent in 1860.

  1. Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, Fayette County Iowa Comprehensive Smart Plan, 2012, www.westunion.com, accessed February, 2016.
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