You are here

Lapeer County Historical Society Museum (Lapeer County Courthouse)

-A A +A
Lapeer County Courthouse
1845–1846. 518 W. Nepessing St.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

The Lapeer County Courthouse tells of the rivalry between the two families who settled Lapeer, those of Alvin N. Hart and Jonathan R. White. The twin settlements of Hart and White were designated as the seat of Lapeer County government in 1835. The first board of supervisors met in the winter of 1835–1836 but gave no indication as to which town would actually be the seat of government. So White completed a modest frame structure in 1840 and it was accepted by the board of supervisors on July 4 of that year. Apparently this small building was chosen over an equally modest one begun earlier by Hart. Undaunted, Hart began construction of a new, larger, and much more elaborate courthouse that was completed before 1846. The board purchased it from Hart in 1853 for $4,500.

This is the present two-story Greek Revival Lapeer County Historical Society Museum. It rests on a raised foundation and has a giant pedimented portico supported by four colossal fluted Doric columns. A three-tier square tower that contains the entrance and staircase and diminishes to a polygonal tier then a dome rises at the rear. The building is constructed of native pine on a brick foundation and sheathed with boards and battens. Horizontal boards laid with flush joints cover the exterior walls of the tower, and quoins in imitation of stone define its corners. Divided circular staircases in the tower lead to the second-floor courtroom. The heavily molded wood door and window enframements, wainscoting, and floors of the second-floor courtroom and other interior spaces are intact, but not as elaborate as the outside facades. The Lapeer County Courthouse remains a fine provincial example of Greek Revival.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert



Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Lapeer County Historical Society Museum (Lapeer County Courthouse)", [Lapeer, 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, 361-362.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.