Eaton County Courthouse Square

Registered Site S0190B

Eaton County

Eaton County was organized in 1837 and named for President Andrew Jackson's war secretary, John H. Eaton. Pioneers had come to Bellevue, the first county seat, in 1833. The count was settled chiefly by New Englanders who founded communities in Charlotte, Delta Mills, Grand Ledge, Olivet, and Vermontville. In 1840 Charlotte became the county seat. Five years later a modest Greek Revival courthouse was erected on the courthouse square, the site of county government from 1845 to 1976. (That building is now located in Bennett Park.) A second courthouse was built here in 1883-85, and a third was erected north of the city in 1976. Eaton is the only county in Michigan with three extant county courthouses. Eaton County native Frank Fitzgerald and former residents Austin Blair, Luren Dickinson and John Swainson served as Michigan governors.
photo of Eaton County

Eaton County Courthouse Square

The Eaton County Courthouse Square is a rare Michigan example of an intact nineteenth-century government complex. The showplace of the square, the stately Renaissance Revival courthouse built in 1883-85, was designed by D.W. Gibbs & Company of Toledo, Ohio. The interior features several marbleized slate fireplaces, stained glass and native butternut trim. A cast zinc statue of Justice crowns the building and towers above the city. On July 4, 1894, fire destroyed much of the courthouse. The structure was rebuilt almost exactly to the original plans. The 1873 Second Empire sheriff's residence, built with an attached jail, is one of only a few of its age remaining in the state. The courthouse square is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Erected 1994

Location: 100 West Lawrence (Court House Square)
Charlotte, Eaton County

Public Buildings

Latitude: 42.5640729, Longitude: -84.8361468

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