About Uniontown, a rural community at the center of an urban region
The founder of Uniontown was Thomas Montgomery who was referred to by his family as "a bit of a wanderer." For some unknown reason he left New York during the Civil War in 1863. He reached the Uniontown area in 1867, filed a homestead claim in 1874, obtained a post office for Uniontown in 1878 and filed the plat for Uniontown in 1879. Many of the first settlers that came to the new town of Uniontown were first or second generation German and Swiss immigrants with a strong, but not exclusive, Catholic background.
Thomas Montgomery was apparently a difficult man to get along with and several businesses moved buildings and businesses three miles down the road to the competing community of Colton due to disputes with Mr. Montgomery. Thomas Montgomery continued to buy and sell property in Uniontown until 1883. December 8 of that year he was killed as a result of a dispute.
One of the other constructive but difficult characters in Uniontown's history was Father Anton Joehren. He started the project to build the existing St. Boniface church in 1888, but work stopped in 1892 due to a dispute between the priest and some parish members. The project was completed in 1905 under the leadership of a new priest. Because of his difficult nature, the Benedictine Sisters moved from Uniontown to the new parish in Colton in 1894 and then moved to Cottonwood, Idaho in 1906 and established the St. Gertrude Monastery.
From its founding into the 1860s, Uniontown was a commercial, manufacturing, transportation, social and farming center. Businesses included a grocery store, brewery, phone company, brick yard, bank, hardware store, lumberyard, farm supply company, newspaper, railroad and hotel. There were both Catholic and public schools. Over the past 50 years there have been 2 major changes that have had drastic effects on the business life in Uniontown. As farming has been mechanized, the size of farms has increased and the number of people needed to work a farm decreased. The other major change was in transportation including road improvements and the development of barge transportation on the Snake River. These changes resulted in the discontinuation of train service to Uniontown in 1981 and centralization of commercial services in larger nearby communities 15 miles north and 15 miles south of Uniontown. The public and Catholic schools were consolidated in Colton. The Catholic church shares a priest with the Colton church and the protestant church has a small but active congregation.
Residents of Uniontown have a reputation for being interesting, strong minded and not afraid to try new things or work as volunteers on community projects. For example, the first telephone line was brought to Uniontown in 1886 by a group of residents and at the urging of residents, local internet service was set-up by Inland Phone company in 1997 before most rural areas had internet service.
Uniontown has the advantages of a small rural town combined with the benefits provided by being at the center of an urban region with major universities, retail centers and regional airports all within 20 miles of Uniontown. There are 499 residents within the immediate Uniontown area and 1270 people within the Uniontown/Colton community. Uniontown is surrounded by farms in a rural setting but is in the geographic center between the cities of Pullman and Moscow to the north and Lewiston and Clarkston to the south. The regional population of the quad cities area is over 136,000.
You can find detailed data about Uniontown at: http://www.city-data.com/city/Uniontown-Washington.html.
Click here to see a great video on the Palouse produced by Jane Loughney: video on the Palouse.