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Old Cheboygan County Courthouse

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1869, J. F. Watson, builder. 229 Court St.

At first glance this courthouse hardly appears to be a public building. Like Richard Munday's Old Colony House (Old State House) of 1739–1741 in Newport, Rhode Island, here is an excellent example of the earlier colonial view of the public building as a domestic building, but built slightly larger in size. Watson, the builder of the Old Cheboygan County Courthouse, probably had no knowledge of the Greek Revival as promulgated in the writings of Asher Benjamin and Minard Lafever. This building is vernacular in its simplicity and in its distilled treatment of Greek details like the deep entablature. It accurately captures the pioneer condition during the county's settlement as a fur trading, lumbering, and sawmilling center. The balloon-framed, clapboarded, two-story building with gable roof and cupola had county offices on the first level and a courtroom on the second. For forty years, this sturdy wooden building served as a courthouse; and later it was used as a fire house, a meeting hall, a church, and, today, law offices.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Old Cheboygan County Courthouse", [Cheboygan, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 453-453.

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