Mackinac County Courthouse

Original CourthouseThe cornerstone of the historical Mackinac County Courthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan was laid in 1881.

Mackinac County was first laid out as Michilimackinac by a proclamation of Gov. Lewis Cass on October 26, 1818, and the government was organized in 1849.

The name was taken from the Indian “Michinimackinog”, the place of Giant Fairies, or Great Turtle place.

In 1882, the county seat was transferred from Mackinac Island, where it had been since the beginning of U.S. government administration.

The present City Hall of the City of Mackinac Island, Michigan is the original building, constructed in 1839, as the Mackinac County Courthouse. It succeeded the County Territorial Courthouse built many years before, according to local historians. The 1839 building followed the administration of the state into the Union by two years.

The name Mackinac was taken from the Indian “Michinimackinog”, the place of Giant Fairies, or Great Turtle place.

The original Mackinac County building cost about $25,000. The building was renovated in 1936, largely through the efforts of Marion W. Brown, wife of the U.S. Senator Prentiss M. Brown, James Miller, Chairman, Mackinac County Board of Supervisors, Edward McNamara, County Prosecutor and Judge Victor D. Sprague. The cost was about $75,000.

When County affairs were administered in early years, the Federal Judge came from Washington to hold court once a year, traveling on boat and horseback, requiring as long as six weeks to make the trip.

Mackinac County Courthouse