COUNTY SEAT
ST. IGNACE

Mackinac County MI

Author: Fuller, George N. (George Newman), 1873-1957. When Michilimackinac county was organized, the seat of justice was located at the borough of Michilimackinac, then included in Holmes township, but as the population grew on the mainland, it became increasingly evident that such an arrangement was not one of expediency for the great bulk of the county's population. Came a time when the people of the county moved actively for a change in the county seat, and on April 3, 1882, an election was held, 479 votes being cast in favor of removal to St. Ignace and 128 against. Thus, the county seat came to St. Tgnace where it has since remained. From the time of the organization of the county to the removal of the seat of justice to St. Ignace, two county buildings had been erected at the island, one being occupied temporarily until a more suitable structure could be secured for the housing of the county offices and the circuit court rooms. This latter building was an excellent structure for its purpose, considering the size of the county at the time it was built.

When the removal was voted, it became necessary to procure a new courthouse, and to this end, a special election was held in June, 1882. to vote on the question of a loan of $17,000 for new county buildings at St. Ignace. Al that time, the committee in charge received the following offers of location for the buildings:

(1) Michael Marlcy submitted for consideration three bluff sites on claims 15 and 16, cither to be 300 feet square, with streets 100 feet wide to be laid out on each side of the square except around the site on Portage street, where only three sides could have thoroughfares of such width due to the fact that Portage street was already located and of less width than the proposed avenues.

(2) In addition to a 300-foot square in the heart of the village, an offer to which Brooks B. Hazelton added a thousand dollars, the Murrays offered any site on their bluff the committee might select.

(3) Mrs. Amelia Crain offered two sites, the first containing from three to five acres on Grain's bluff, having an elevation of 200 feet and a fine view of the straits, and the second 100x200 feet on Lake avenue.

(4) From three to five acres on claim 3 were offered by P. W. Hombach.

(5) Matilda Wendell, through her agent, W. P. Preston, offered a site of two acres in extent on claim 11.

(6) The Mackinac Lumber company, through B.B. Hazelton, proposed to give a location 200 feet east of the Reagon shops and to donate $1,000 if either the Crain, Murray, or the lumber company site were chosen by the committee.

With such generous response from the people of the community, the matter of location of the new county buildings was easily settled, the committee accepting the offer of Michael Marley for the location at Prospect and Marley streets. No sooner had the location been made than negotiations were opened for the construction of the courthouse, sheriff's residence, and jail. Plans for an $18,000 courthouse were accepted by the board, and on August 16, 1882, the cornerstone of the courthouse was laid with ceremonies at which W. P. Preston, chairman of the county board, was presiding officer and Judge Charles R. Brown was the speaker of the day.

Thus was the county seat established at St. Jgnace, and the courthouse, sheriff's residence and jail, as they stand today, were completed with all dispatch after the laying of the cornerstone, being ready for occupancy within a comparatively short time afterward. Excerpt of A History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan ... by George Newman 1873 - 1957

St. Ignatius Cemetery