Midland County Courthouse

Registered Site L1235

Midland County Courthouse

In 1831 the first white settlers in the area built a fur trading post near this site, called "Little Forks" by the Indians. When Midland County was organized in 1850, 65 people lived here. In 1856, Henry C. Ashmun, the county's first prosecuting attorney. was authorized to locate a courthouse, and he chose this site. The original courthouse served until 1926. In 1919, Mayor Joseph A. Cavanagh proposed that a new courthouse be built at this site. Voters approved a $225,000 bond issue in 1920 and in gratitude for the effort of area servicemen, invited the Midland American Legion to make its home here at the courthouse. Herbert H. Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, provided additional funds and materials. Dr. Dow laid the cornerstone on March 25, 1925. This courthouse was occupied on January 1, 1926.
photo of Midland County Courthouse

Side 2

Architect Bloodgood Tuttle of Detroit and Cleveland designed this courthouse in rustic Tudor Revival style. A portion of the exterior is magnesite stucco, a building material developed in 1925 by The Dow Chemical Company from Midland's vast underground brines. Donald Gibb of Dow worked with noted Detroit artist Paul Honore to develop the new "plastic mosaic" material. Ground glass was used instead of sand and silex in the magnesite stucco to give the murals their unusual color and sparkle. Using a palette knife, Honore created the layered three-dimensional exterior murals of life-sized Indians, lumbermen and traders, illustrating the history of Midland County, and the mural in the Circuit Courtroom depicting an Indian Council. All of the exterior building materials are said to have originated in Midland County.

Erected 1989

Location: 301 West Main
Midland, Midland County

Public Buildings

Latitude: 43.6143529, Longitude: -84.2475146

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