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Benzie County

Benzie County is named for the French name “Riviere Aux-Bec Scies or “river of saw-ducks” which became known as the Betsie River and pronounced as “Benzie”.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Leelanau County

E – Grand Traverse County

S – Manistee County

 Lake Michigan

 

Created:  February 27, 1863                  Map of Michigan highlighting Benzie County

County Seat:

Frankfort   1869 – 1872

Benzonia   1872 – 1894

Frankfort   1894 – 1908

Honor        1908 – 1916

Beulah       1916 – present

 

County Courthouse – Beulah

 

Location:  448 Court Place / Highland Drive

Built:  1975 – 1976

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Blacklock & Schwartz of Midland

Contractor:  Gust Construction Company of Cedar Springs

 

Description:  The building faces south and is a two story red colored brick, glass and concrete structure. The building sits on landscaped grounds on the side of a hill in the center of Beulah with the north part of the building being two stories. The building forms a “T” shape with a center section extending north. There is an overhang supported by square brick pillars along the south front and east and west sides. The building has solar bronze trim and non-glare glass. The building is named as the Benzie County Government Center. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 19th Judicial District, County District Court and County Probate Court. 

 

See:  The contractor, Gust Construction Company of Cedar Springs, constructed courthouses in Mecosta County and Ogemaw County.

 

Old County Courthouse – Beulah

 

 

Location:  7265 Prospect Avenue  / Crystal Avenue

Built:  1912 – 1913

Style:  Colonial

Architect:  Fred E Moore

Contractor:  Fred E Moore

 

Description:  The building faces west and is a three story white colored wood structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Buelah to the northwest of the courthouse. The building was originally an amusement center called “The Grand”, and the County leased it in 1916. The courtroom was located on the second story. The County bought the building in 1942 for $3,000. Along the west front is a long two story porch with fluted columns. The center section projects and rises to a peak with clock at the top. The roof is hipped. The building is now a condominium.

 

See:  National Register of Historic Places – Benzie County Courthouse

 

See:  The 19th Judicial District includes Manistee County.

 

History:  The county was created in 1863 and was named as Unszigozbee County which was changed to Benzie County. Frankfort was selected as the county seat in 1869 when the county was organized. The first county meeting was held in a schoolhouse. The county met at the two story frame Victory Saterlee Hotel at the corner of Third Street and Main Street. The first courthouse was a two story frame structure built by the Doaby Brothers at the corner of Second Street and Main Street. In 1872, the county seat was moved a mile east of Benzonia and the second courthouse was an L-shaped frame structure. The court then moved to Case’s Hall in Benzonia which served as the third courthouse. In 1894, the county seat was moved back to Frankfort and he schoolhouse was converted into the fourth courthouse. In 1908, the county seat was moved to Honor. A church on Platte Street was remodeled into the fifth courthouse. The court met on the upper story of a store on Main Street. In 1916, the county seat was moved to Beulah. The Grand was converted for use as the sixth courthouse. The seventh and present courthouse was constructed in 1975 to 1976 at a cost of $873,238.

 

See:  Michigan’s County Courthouses by John Fedynsky

 

 

County Courthouse – Beulah   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos taken 2008