Lapeer Courthouse, oldest in Michigan

Downtown Lapeer MI

Downtown Lapeer MI, photo by paula liimatta

Wikipedia says that the the Lapeer County Courthouse is the oldest original courthouse structure still in use in the state of Michigan, and one of the ten oldest in the nation.

The City of Lapeer’s history page adds:

Folklore claims Lapeer was derived from the naming of the south branch of the Flint River, which flows northwestward over quite a long distance of rocky bed in Lapeer County. French and Indian traders frequently passed over this section of the county and through the river, ultimately naming our city for the stone that lay at the river bottom. The translation of stone in French is “LePierre”; the English translation of Canadian French accent of this word is “Lapeer”. The river was named Flint, synonymous with stone.

Lapeer County was once part of the Northwest Territory. By an ordinance of the Congress of the United States passed July 13th, 1787, the whole of the territory of the United States lying northwest of the Ohio River, though still occupied by the British, was organized as the Northwest Territory. In January of 1820 the County of Oakland was formed. Governor Lewis Cass set Lapeer County’s boundaries on September 18th, 1822, although it remained part of Oakland County until it was organized. Lapeer County officially became a county on February 2nd, 1835.

Read on for more and click for information about renting the courthouse.

View Paula’s photo background big and see more in her 2016 slideshow.

Know your Michigan Counties: Kalkaska County

The Mountains of Kalkaska

The Mountains of Kalkaska, photo by Dale DeVries

The State of Michigan has 83 counties, and since I got a number of comments asking for more about our communities, I’ll try and profile them all … sooner or later. Here’s some information via Wikipedia about Kalkaska County, Michigan:

The first settler in Kalkaska County was an Englishman named William Copeland, who purchased land in the northwest corner of the county in 1855. The county was set off in 1840 and called Wabasee until 1843. The name Kalkaska is thought to be a Chippewa word meaning flat or burned-over country. An alternative theory is that this is a neologism or neonym created by Henry Schoolcraft, originally spelled Calcasca. Some theorists suggest this is word play. Schoolcraft’s family name had been Calcraft, and the Ks may have been added to make the name appear more like a Native American word.

Logging was the first important industry. The discovery of substantial deposits of oil and natural gas resulted in the construction of a processing plant by Shell Oil Company in 1973 and a major economic boom in the community.

Kalkaska Sand, the state soil of Michigan, was named after the county because of the large amounts deposited in the area from the glaciers in the Ice Age. Kalkaska County has over 80 lakes and 275 miles of streams and rivers. Much of the county is marshland. County elevation ranges from 595 feet (181 m) to about 1,246 feet. This makes it one of the more uneven counties in the Lower Peninsula.

The Pere Marquette State Forest covers much of the county. Glaciers shaped the area, creating a unique regional ecosystem. A large portion of the area is the so-called Grayling outwash plain, which consists of broad outwash plain including sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, some white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.

The population was population 17,153 in the 2010 census and you can click to Wikipedia for more, visit the official Kalkaska County website, read about their big, annual event, the National Trout Festival (April) on Michigan in Pictures, and click to see Kalkaska County on a map!

Dale writes:

“With abundant snow cover yet and temperatures around 65 F, fog forms in almost white out conditions near large snow fields! This can lead to near zero visibility in a matter of seconds and makes for some amazing photographs!”

View his March 9th photo background bigilicious and see more in his massive Fern Ridge Pictures slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan County Monument

Michigan County Monument

Michigan County Monument, photo by Ragnar II

Monument to the Dean of Michigan’s Tourism Activity on Roadside America says:

If someone asked, “Who has had a rock pyramid built in their honor?” you might think of an Egyptian pharaoh or an Aztec king. You would probably not think of a bespectacled, middle-aged, mid-western man named Hugh J. Gray. Nevertheless, Hugh has one — on a smaller scale compared to the ones in Egypt and Mexico, but a rock pyramid nevertheless.

Hugh was, according to the plaque on his pyramid, the “Dean of Michigan’s Tourist Activity.” The pyramid, erected in 1938, stands on Cairn Highway, named apparently in reference to Hugh’s pile of rocks. Cairn Highway is an obscure back road today, which says something about the transient nature of fame.

Hugh’s pyramid is built of rocks from each of Michigan’s 83 counties.

Ragnar suggests that you plug the coordinates 44.948227, -85.352708 into Google Maps to find your way there. View his photo background big and see more in his slideshow.

More roadside attractions on Michigan in Pictures!

April 4th: The Battle for Wexford County

manton-michigan

Main Street in Manton, circa 1915, photo courtesy Seeking Michigan

Battle for Wexford County by Brenda Irish of Seeking Michigan begins:

The fight for the Wexford County seat is a story of bribery, corruption, intimidation, inebriated county officials and the organization of illegal townships to boost votes.

Cadillac’s decade-long struggle for the county seat came to a head on April 4, 1882, when ballots were cast throughout the county to determine whether the coveted prize should be moved from Manton to Cadillac. Twelve months earlier, residents of Cadillac and Manton had united to remove the county seat from Sherman to Manton. Now Cadillac was determined to secure the prize for itself.

Feeling duped by Cadillac, Manton residents were furious. A couple of townships destroyed their ballots, refusing to make a return. But when the “official” count of the April 4 vote was totaled, the results were overwhelming: 1,363 “yes” voters favored moving the county seat to Cadillac, while 309 voted “no.”

In the early dawn following the election, a train left Cadillac with the sheriff and twenty “specially deputized” men and headed to Manton to collect the county property. Legend has it that the train backed quietly into a sleeping Manton, coming to a halt in front of the courthouse. Within a half hour, most of the county records and much of the furniture was aboard the train. As the Cadillac faction attempted to remove the first of three safes from the courthouse, however, Manton residents awoke…

Read on at Seeking Michigan for the contested conclusion and more photos from Wexford County.

More history on Michigan in Pictures.

Eaton County and the Charlotte Courthouse

Court House and museum Charlotte Michigan

Court House and museum Charlotte Michigan, photo by baklein62.

The brief history on the Eaton County web site says:

Eaton County, named for President Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of War (John Eaton), sometimes referred to as a cabinet county, was organized in 1837. Due to lack of population and buildings in the designated county seat (Charlotte), government and judicial functions were performed in the village of Bellevue.

…In 1882 the Eaton County Board of Supervisors resolved “to erect a building for court and public office purposes” at no more than $50,000 cost; this was later amended to $40,000. When completed, the cost of this courthouse was nearly $80,000.

The contract for design was awarded to D.W. Gibbs & Company of Toledo, Ohio with the firm of Miles, Cramer and Horn also from Toledo doing construction. The corner stone was laid on July 4, 1883 and this building was ready for use in October 1885.

Read more about Courthouse Square and the museum including information about and photos of the exhibits.

This photo is part of Barney’s sales territory set and I think the set demonstrates that a good attitude goes a long way toward enjoying your job.

Newaygo Mill … and Newaygo County

Newaygo Mill

Newaygo Mill, photo by evanfarinosi.

Evan started the Newaygo County group on Flickr and he’d love it if you’d share your photos on the area there.

The City of Newaygo’s history page says:

The City of Newaygo is the oldest community in Newaygo County. The Penoyer and Brooks families were among the first settlers to Newaygo. They founded Newaygo’s first saw mill known as the “Big Red Mill” … The proximity of the Muskegon River was the driving force of Newaygo’s early economy, with mills, lumbering, and recreation developing near by.

I also found a cool gallery of historical photos of logging in Newaygo County in the Newaygo County Historical Archives.

Since I don’t know when we’ll pass this way again, I should say that Wikipedia’s entry on Newaygo says that the population was 1,670 at the 2000 census. I also added Newaygo, MI to the Absolute Michigan map of Michigan.