The Union County Courthouse is located at 500 North Main Street, Monroe, NC 28112; phone: 704-283-3810.
Union County was founded in 1842, when the land area was divided between Mecklenburg and Anson Counties to form a new county, the name of the county, "Union," was chosen as a compromise between the Whigs and the Democrats because the County was a union of parts of the two other counties. In 1843 the first County Board of Commissioners founded the county seat in Monroe. The City of Monroe was named for James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States.
The settlers developed a self-sufficient agricultural economy that eventually evolved into a specialized crop economy that was dependent upon cotton, after the invention of the cotton gin. Cotton was the primary cash crop in the County until settlers became concerned that they should diversify in the 1920's as a hedge against a sagging cotton market and to preserve the topsoil in the region. Cotton remained the major cash crop until the 1950's and has recently made a resurgence.
As time passed, the County acquired more and more businesses: movie theaters, a school system, Wingate College (now Wingate University), restaurants, motels, the Union Regional Medical Center (CMC Union) etc. By the 1960s the County began to grow as Mecklenburg County residents discovered the County's pleasant lifestyle and sought refuge from more urban areas.