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Houghton County, Michigan
Map of Michigan highlighting Houghton County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded March 19, 1845 [1]
Seat Houghton
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,502 sq mi (3,890 km²)

490 sq mi (1,269 km²), 32.62%
 - (2000)
 - Density

36/sq mi (14/km²)

Houghton County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 36,016. The county seat is Houghton6.

Houghton County is part of the Houghton micropolitan area, which also includes Keweenaw County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,889 km² (1,502 sq mi). 2,620 km² (1,012 sq mi) of it is land and 1,269 km² (490 sq mi) of it (32.62%) is water.

Major highways[]

Adjacent counties[]


As of the census² of 2000, there were 36,016 people, 13,793 households, and 8,137 families residing in the county. The population density was 14/km² (36/sq mi). There were 17,748 housing units at an average density of 7/km² (18/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 95.52% White, 0.94% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.79% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 34.8% were of Finnish, 12.4% German, 6.8% English, 6.6% French and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.0% spoke English and 3.1% Finnish as their first language.

There were 13,793 households out of which 26.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.50% were married couples living together, 8.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.00% were non-families. 32.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county the population was spread out with 21.80% under the age of 18, 19.10% from 18 to 24, 22.60% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 113.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,817, and the median income for a family was $38,635. Males had a median income of $30,200 versus $22,468 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,078. About 9.90% of families and 16.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.10% of those under age 18 and 13.40% of those age 65 or over.


Roy Drier Collection, MTU Archives


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

The location of the Houghton County Courthouse during the mining boom, which is the same today, “..stood high upon the bluff on Houghton Village facing North and pleasantly overlooking Portage Lake.” (Sawyer 110), and has been inducted into the U.S. Registry of Historic Districts and Buildings of the Upper Peninsula, and Construction began in spring 1886. The building had its first addition on the north wing which was the addition of a larger jail wing in 1910, and that was all the renovations they made until the jail wing’s condemnation in 1961. A new jail plan was designed and later built adjacent to the original where it still stands today. According to the Mining Gazette of July 25, 1886, “The materials used with the exception of the facing brick are the product of the Upper Peninsula”(Gazette 3). This shows the progress of that time period; that this area, Houghton County specifically such as the Quincy mine was producing much economically. In Buildings of Michigan, written by Kathryn Eckert, she discusses the architectural make up of the Building. “The courthouse is composed of the original structure, a rectangular block from which project central pavilions with parapeted dormers, a four-story tower, and north and west wing additions. The curbed mansard roof, the grouping of windows beneath red sandstone lintels connected by bands that encircle the structure, and the decorative entablature unite the composition. Porches supported with posts and Gothic-arch brackets…The interior is richly finished with wood; red, rich brown, and light yellowish brown floor tiles; ornamental plaster; and oak staircase; and stone fireplaces” (Eckert 464). Along with the picture shown this should well describe the architecture of the Houghton courthouse building. As of now the building section that was once the jail wing are now offices for various governmental subsidiaries such as the clerk of court. The jail of today briefly explained earlier was designed adjacent to the courthouse building, and looks nothing like it, with a flat and square uninteresting governmental building look.

Houghton County elected officials[]

(information as of September 2005)

Cities, villages, and townships[]



Unincorporated communities[]


External links[]

Coordinates: 46°59′N 88°39′W / 46.98, -88.65

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Houghton County, Michigan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.