- Houghton County, Michigan
Infobox U.S. County
county = Houghton County
state = Michigan
map size = 200
founded = March 19, 1845 [http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/date/march03/03_19_1845.html]
seat = Houghton | area_total_sq_mi =1502
area percentage = 32.62%
census yr = 2000
pop = 36016
web = www.houghtoncounty.net
Houghton County is a county in the
U.S. stateof Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 36,016. The county seatis HoughtonGR|6.
Houghton County is part of the
Houghton micropolitan area, which also includes Keweenaw County. Part of the county is sometimes locally called Copper Island.
The County was set off in 1843, organized in 1846 and reorganized in 1848. It is named for geologist
Douglass Houghton. [ [http://clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Houghton.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Houghton County.] ]
*According to the
U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,502 square miles (3,889 km²), of which, 1,012 square miles (2,620 km²) of it is land and 490 square miles (1,269 km²) of it (32.62%) is water.
*The Portage Lift Bridge crosses
Portage Lake, connecting Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, by crossing over Portage Lake, which is part of the river and canal system that crosses the entire peninsula. The Portage Lift Bridge is the world's heaviest and widest double-decked vertical lift bridge. Its center span "lifts" to provide convert|100|ft|m of clearance for ships. Since rail traffic was discontinued in the Keweenaw, the lower deck is used to accommodate snowmobiletraffic in the winter. This is the only land based link between the north and south section of the Keweenaw peninsula, and is crucial. [ [http://www.keweenaw.info/virtualkeweenaw.aspx Virtual Keweenaw Peninsula.] ]
Michigan State Trunklines
Federal Forest Highways
* Federal Forest Highway 16 (FFH-16)
Keweenaw National Historical Park(part)
Ottawa National Forest(part)
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 36,016 people, 13,793 households, and 8,137 families residing in the county. The population densitywas 36 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 17,748 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km²). 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 incomefor 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.
The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates themajor local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains
vital records, administers public healthregulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare andother social services. The county board of commissioners controls thebudget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most localgovernment functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, streetmaintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.
The Houghton County Courthouse “..stood high upon the bluff on Houghton Village facing North and pleasantly overlooking Portage Lake.” (Sawyer 110), and has been inducted in the U.S. Registry of Historic Districts and Buildings of the
Upper Peninsula. Construction began in spring 1886. The building had its first addition to the north wing, the addition of a larger jail wing, in 1910, and that was the only renovation until the jail wing was condemned in 1961. A new jail was built in its present location, adjacent to the original. 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”(p.3). Kathryn Eckert, in her "Buildings of Michigan", wrote::“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.” (p. 464)The building section that was once the jail wing now house offices for various government offices such as the clerk of court.
Houghton County elected officials
* Prosecuting Attorney: Douglas Edwards
Sheriff: Brian J. McLean
County Clerk/ Register of Deeds: Mary Schoos
* County Treasurer: Kathleen Beattie
Drain Commissioner: Raymond W. Niemi
* Mine Inspector: Murray Gillis
(information as of September 2005)
Cities, villages, and townships
*Elm River Township
*Torch Lake Township
Bibliography and Further Reading
* [http://clarke.cmich.edu/localhistory/Houghton.htm Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Houghton County.]
* [http://www.houghtoncounty.net/ HoughtonCounty.net]
* [http://hunts-upguide.com/houghton.html/ Hunts' Guide to the Upper Peninsula: Houghton]
* [http://www.houghtonsheriff.com/ Houghton County Sheriff's Office]
* [http://habitant.org/images/twp.giftownship locator map]
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