Northernmost of Sandy Spring’s many villages, Unity and Sunshine are also the most rural. Separated by only a half-mile, their residents probably saw themselves two centuries ago as part of older Unity. Both were oriented toward the markets of Baltimore, Annapolis, and nearby Triadelphia. Unity, once a small commercial hub and substantial village, today is soothingly residential, disturbed only by its increasing traffic flow.
The growth of Unity parallels that of Brookeville, with Griffith’s 1794 map showing a “Unity T.” While Brookeville was a planned village, however, Unity grew naturally, along the dirt road connecting Rockville and Annapolis. Drovers herding cattle and sheep to Annapolis lodged at Unity’s tavern. By 1806 Unity was officially established by the Legislature and by 1824 it had a post office, store, smithy, wheelwright, and half a dozen houses.
Sunshine’s sense of identity probably emerged after the Civil War, when stores and shops opened. In 1870 it captured the Unity post office in the first of several such switches. Soon came an undertaker. Never populous, Sunshine lacked a public school, its students walking to Unity’s two-roomer. But Sunshine is a survivor – it now boasts the Brookeville post office in its tiny “mall.”