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Iron County Courthouse

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1890–1891, James E. Clancy; 2003–2004 restoration, STS Consultants. 2 6th St.
  • Iron County Courthouse (Balthazar Korab)

In 1885 the state legislature set off Iron County from Marquette County and designated Iron River as the temporary seat of county government. Four years later, county voters elected to move the county seat from its temporary location in Iron River to Crystal Falls, the oldest and largest town in the county. The board of supervisors substantiated this decision by building this towered and turreted reddish-brown brick and stone Richardsonian Romanesque courthouse. It is spectacularly positioned on the crest of a high hill at the head of Superior Avenue, the city's principal business street, where it commands a view of the Paint River valley and the countryside beyond. Built in 1888 to the designs of Clancy, a Green Bay, Wisconsin, architect noted regionally for his plans for public buildings, the courthouse solidified the permanent location of the seat of Iron County government in Crystal Falls. Paired polished diorite columns quarried from outcroppings on the Paint River flank the main arched entrance. The proud tower topped by a hexagonal clock tower/belfry and a statuary group of Law, Mercy, and Justice manufactured in galvanized metal by W. H. Mullins of Salem, Ohio, proclaim the building's function as the courthouse. The polished black oak interior finish confirms the building's formal nature as the seat of county government. Louis A. Webber of Menasha, Wisconsin, built the courthouse. On its completion the Crystal Falls Diamond Drill boasted that the Iron County Courthouse was the finest building of its type north of Milwaukee or Detroit.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Iron County Courthouse", [Crystal Falls, 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, 519-520.

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