Our mission at the Union Parish Tourist Commission is to encourage tourism and promote economic growth within our communities. Our parish is full of unique history, great food, stunning landscapes and southern hospitality. With its rolling hills and cypress swamps, Union Parish offers visitors a wide variety of cultural and natural attractions! From our beautiful waterways and pristine wildlife refuges to our quaint antique shops, interesting historic landmarks and restaurants that serve delicious downhome cooking; we believe that Union Parish is a wonderful place to live or visit!
Established on March 13, 1839, early settlers came to the new parish to farm the fertile soil of the Ouachita River Valley. Since then, our parish has changed and grown but one thing remains the same; our unique heritage and the friendly people of Union Parish!
Composed of the towns of Farmerville, Bernice, Junction City, Marion, Downsville, Lillie and Spearsville; each contributes their own special qualities to the makeup of our parish. In Bernice you will find The Bernice Depot Museum, a restored 1899 railroad depot that features exhibits and memorabilia from the days when train travel was the preferred mode of transportation! Farmerville is home to our two wildlife refuges and an amazing state park that features many fun activities for the entire family. Head to Downsville and check out the sporting club there! You will be able to shoot targets, sporting clays, and even bag some birds! Hunting, fishing, kayaking and enjoying everything nature has to offer are a few of the activities visitors and residents of our community enjoy. Union Parish is host to multiple festivals and events throughout the year including the Watermelon Festival, Corney Creek Great Outdoors Festival, Mayhaw Festival, a fireworks display, parades, boat races, fishing tournaments and more!
Bayou D’Loutre was named for the French – Canadian word for otter or otter skin.
Bayou D’Arbonne was named for Jean Baptiste Darban or d’Arbonne, the son of Jean-Baptiste d’Arbonne of Natchitoches.
Bayou D’Arbonne once provided the parish seat of Farmerville with crucial water access to Monroe and New Orleans. Steamboats brought goods to the merchants of Union Parish, took cotton downstream to sell, and brought travelers to and from Monroe.
Union Parish was the site of the first telephone lines constructed in the entire South! Colonel Daniel Stein brought three telephones back from a trip to New York and constructed lines from his store at Stein’s Bluff to Farmerville.
Four governors called Union Parish home at one time. Two who were governors of Louisiana and two who were governors of Arkansas; William Wright Heard (1900-1904, Louisiana), Ruffin Pleasant (1916-1920, Louisiana), George Washington Donaghey (1909-1913, Arkansas) and Tom Jefferson Terral (1925-1927, Arkansas).
The earliest known permanent European settler of what is now Union Parish, John Honeycutt, Sr., arrived in the Ouachita Valley region with his family between 1790 and 1795. He obtained the first known Spanish land grant for property that later fell into Union Parish. Honeycutt’s land lay along Bayou D’Arbonne, and on 14 October 1797 he sold his land to Zadoc Harman, a man of African descent who had formerly lived in North Carolina.