Michigan's County Courthouses

Michigan's County Courthouses

Book - 2010
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University of Michigan

A guide to the lore and architecture of every county courthouse in the Great Lakes State


?Whether you are an attorney, a Michigan history buff, or a lover of architecture, you will find this book is a valuable resource.”
---Michigan Bar Journal

John Fedynsky documents in narrative and photos every county courthouse of Michigan's eighty-three counties, as well as the Michigan Hall of Justice. These buildings are symbols: physically they stand, but figuratively they speak. They embody the purposes for which they were created: law, order, justice, and the promise of a better tomorrow.

Fedynsky tells the story of each building. For Michigan, the typical evolution begins in the cabin, tavern, or hotel of a prominent local settler and progresses through incarnations of simple log or wooden clapboard, and then opulent stone or brick, before the structure arrives in modern and utilitarian form. But there are myriad exceptions to this rule, and they add to the diversity of Michigan's county courthouses.

In Fedynsky's descriptions, verifiable facts and local lore weave together in dramatic tales of outrageous crime, courtroom intrigue, backroom dealing, jury determination, and judicial prerogative. Released jail inmates assist with evacuating and extinguishing a courthouse fire, residents during a natural disaster seek and find physical refuge behind the sure walls of the courthouse, and vigilant legions of homebound defenders are stationed in wartime throughout the courthouse towers scanning the skies for signs of foreign aircraft.

Then there are the homey touches that emphasize the "house" half of Michigan's courthouses: local folks dropping off plants in the courthouse atrium to use it as a winter greenhouse, cows grazing on the public square, county fairs in or near the courthouse, and locally made artwork hanging in public hallways. The courthouses bear within their walls a richness of soul endowed by the good people who make each one special.

John Fedynsky is a former research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert H. Cleland, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fedynsky currently practices civil law as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan.

Cover design by Heidi Dailey

Cover photos: John Fedynsky



Blackwell Publishing
"This book will certainly become the definitive work on an overlooked part of Michigan history...It is a wonderful compilation of facts and anecdotes."---Justice Stephen Markman, from the foreword

John Fedynsky documents in narrative and photos every county courthouse of Michigan's eighty-three counties, as well as the Michigan Hall of Justice. These buildings are symbols: physically they stand, but figuratively they speak. They embody the purposes for which they were created: law, order, justice, and the promise of a better tomorrow.

Fedynsky tells the story of each building. For Michigan, the typical evolution begins in the cabin, tavern, or hotel of a prominent local settler and progresses through incarnations of simple log or wooden clapboard, and then opulent stone or brick, before the structure arrives in modern and utilitarian form. But there are myriad exceptions to this rule, and they add to the diverse set of Michigan's county courthouses.

In Fedynsky's descriptions, verifiable facts and local lore weave together in dramatic tales of outrageous crime, courtroom intrigue, backroom dealing, jury determination, and judicial prerogative. Released jail inmates assist with evacuating and extinguishing a courthouse fire, residents during a natural disaster seek and find physical refuge behind the sure walls of the courthouse, and vigilant legions of homebound defenders are stationed in wartime throughout the courthouse towers scanning the skies for signs of foreign aircraft.

Then there are the homey touches that emphasize the "house" half of Michigan's courthouses: local folks dropping off plants in the courthouse atrium to use it as a winter greenhouse, cows grazing on the public square, county fairs in or near the courthouse, and locally made artwork hanging in public hallways. The courthouses bear within their walls a richness of soul endowed by the good people who make each one special.

Publisher: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2010
ISBN: 9780472117284
0472117289
Branch Call Number: 977.4 FED
Characteristics: viii, 201 p. : ill., maps ; 29 cm

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