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History of the Oscoda County Courthouse


Photo was taken by Sherry Carsten, on July 6, 2002

Oscoda County was incorporated in 1881, but deliberation on the construction of a courthouse dragged on for several years.  Finally in July 1888 county residents voted to borrow $2,000 to finance the building.  Completed for occupancy the following January, the new courthouse cost $3,754.

The original county seat was in UNION CORNERS, with the first County Supervisors meeting being held on April 15, 1881.  Prior to this time, Alcona County encompassed what is now Oscoda County.   The county seat was eventually moved to MIOE in March of 1882.  A contract was made with John Randall for rooms in which to conduct county business at $100 per year.

After much debate about where to build a courthouse, Mr. Randall offered to deed over land to the county in order to keep the courthouse in Mioe.  In 1883 Mioe became "Mio."

In 1885, monies raised through taxes bought block 70 in Mio for $100.  This would become the site of the courthouse.

After having voters turn down bond issues to raise the construction costs, the supervisors eventually borrowed $1,000 to begin building the courthouse.  After several failures, the county residents finally passed a bond issue to complete the cost of building.

The building's construction lasted from July 1888 to May of 1889 and was built by George Hunter.  Mr. Hunter also constructed a woodshed and an outhouse.  The sheriff was hired at $50 a year to be a janitor.  The final cost of the project was $3,794.80.

Additions to the courthouse haven taken place over the years.  Water was brought to the courthouse in 1891 by the Mio Water Company.  They had previously installed a fire hydrant in front of the courthouse.  Two wings which house the clerk's and treasurer's offices were added on.  Electricity and lights were added in 1917.  In more recent years, a gazebo was added to the grounds of the courthouse.

The two-story frame building has a tower rising in front, and one-story wings, probably additions, projecting from both sides.  The original white clapboard siding has been replaced with aluminum.  The severe lines of the courthouse are broken by circular and semicircular windows in the tower.  The interior is equally simple in design, except for the courtroom walls and ceilings which are covered by ornamental sheeting.

Oscoda County is a sparsely populated, but steadily growing region, much of it located in the Huron National Forest.  The courthouse, in continuous use since its opening, still accommodates most of the important county offices.  One of the oldest buildings in the county, it is the also the oldest wooden courthouse remaining in the northern Lower Peninsula.







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