Presque Isle County Courthouse

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Presque Isle County Courthouse
Onaway Courthouse.jpg
Presque Isle County Courthouse is located in Michigan
Presque Isle County Courthouse
Presque Isle County Courthouse is located in the US
Presque Isle County Courthouse
Location State and Maple Sts., Onaway, Michigan
Coordinates 45°21′28″N 84°13′47″W / 45.35778°N 84.22972°W / 45.35778; -84.22972Coordinates: 45°21′28″N 84°13′47″W / 45.35778°N 84.22972°W / 45.35778; -84.22972
Area 4 acres (1.6 ha)
Built 1908 (1908)
Architectural style Late Victorian, Eclectic
NRHP reference # 80001889[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 3, 1980
Designated MSHS May 17, 1978[2]

The Presque Isle County Courthouse, also known as the Onaway Courthouse, is a government building located on the corner of State and Maple Streets in Onaway, Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1978[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[1]


Merritt Chandler was born in 1843 near Adrian, Michigan.[3] He made a forture in lumbering and then in building roads; in 1886 he platted the village of Onaway. By 1903, Onaway had a population of 3000, making it the largest settlement in Presque Isle County. In 1908, Chandler constructed this building and donated it to the county in an effort to wrest the county seat away from Rogers City.[3] He was unable to have the county seat moved, so in 1911 a drive started to carve out a new county for Onaway, to be called "Forest County."[4] The drive failed, but as a compromise, county court sessions were alternated between Rogers City and Onaway until the 1940s.[4]

The building served various functions over the years, but began to fall into disrepair.[5] In the late 1990s, restoration efforts began, and over $1 million was spent to improve the heating and electrical system, replace the roof and windows, refinish the interior, and install a clock in the clocktower.[5] As of 2009, the building houses the Onaway Branch of the Presque Isle District Library, the Onaway Historical Museum, the Chamber of Commerce, and offices of the City of Onaway.[3]


The Presque Isle County Courthouse is a two-story asymmetric structure built of poured concrete block building on a fieldstone foundation.[2] Its Eclectic design incorporates Italian Villa, Romanesque, and Renaissance Revival styles. It has a low-pitched hip roof with overhanging eaves supported by bracketry, and a square off-center tower.


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "Presque Isle County Courthouse". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Richard Lamb (1999). "The History of Onaway-The first 50 Years" (PDF). Presque Isle Advance. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b John Fedynsky (2010), Michigan's County Courthouses, University of Michigan Press, p. 158, ISBN 9780472117284 
  5. ^ a b rlamb (June 20, 2008). "Cornerstone ceremony a celebration of historic Onaway Courthouse". Presque Isle County Advance.