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Ontonagon County

Ontonagon County is named for a river called Nantounagon on an early French map which in the Ojibwee Native American language means “hunting river”.


Surrounding County and Canada Courthouses: 

N – Lake Superior and Ontario, Canada

E – Houghton County and Iron County

S – Gogebic County

W – Gogebic County 


Created:  March 91, 1843                       Map of Michigan highlighting Ontonagon County

County Seat:

Ontonagon  1843 – present


County Courthouse – Ontonagon  


Location:  725 Greenland Road / South 7th Street

Built:  1979 – 1980

Style:  Modern

Architect:  C Everett Thorsen Architect Inc. of Duluth, Minnesota

Contractor:  Herman Gundlach, Inc. and August Winter & Sons


Description:  The building faces southwest and is a two story buff colored brick and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds to the southeast of the center of Ontonagon. The building has a recessed area on the first story divided by brick pillars. The building has narrow vertical windows. The building extends outwards as it heads northeast. The roof line is flat. In the interior, the County Circuit Court courtroom are located on the north and south sides of the second story. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 32nd Judicial District, County District Court and County Probate Court. 


See:  The 32nd Judicial District includes Gogebic County.


History:  The county was created in 1843 and Ontonagon wes selected as the county seat in 1858. The court first met on the second story of the firehall. The first courthouse was built in 1884 to 1885 and is still standing. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1979 to 1980.


Old County Courthouse – Ontonagon  



Location:  NW – Trapp Street / Houghton Street

Built:  1884 – 1886

Style:  Romanesque

Architect:  Charlton, Gilbert & Demar

Contractor:  E E Grip


Description:  The building faces southwest and is a two story red colored brick structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Ontonagon. The southwest front has a projecting center section with a large arch and recessed entrance on the first story. The center section rises to a peak at the roof line. Three sides have similar facades a central entrance in a gabled pavilion flanked by tall double-hung windows. The stone window lintels form part of a beltcourse that circles the building. The roof is hipped. The foundation is sandstone. In 1896, the building burned and was rebuilt. An addition was constructed in 1937. The building is now a private residence.


See:  The contractor E E Grip built the courthouse in Dickinson County, and Wahlman and Grip built the courthouses in Gogebic County and Houghton County.


See:  Michigan’s County Courthouses by John Fedynsky



County Courthouse – Ontonagon







County Circuit Court courtroom









Old County Courthouse – Ontonagon









Photos taken 2007 and 2010