Michigan and the Great Lakes

Michigan's County Courthouses

John Fedynsky
With a foreword by Justice Stephen Markman, Michigan Supreme Court

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


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. 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.

“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

Cover design by Heidi Dailey

Cover photos: John Fedynsky

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.

Praise / Awards

  • "This isn't a boring reference work that merely lists facts and figures. It's a wonderful effort that captures much of the essence of Michigan history, from its wilderness beginnings through  contemporary times."
    Lansing State Journal

  • "In short, this is a book that is a simple delight to read... every entry has an interesting tale of how the early settlers in Michigan struggled, survived, and ended up making a state."
    Journal of Insurance & Indemnity Law

  • "The reader can open it up at random and find an interesting story about Michigan's past... This is an excellent book for any law firm to have in its waiting room, of course, but for this reviewer's money, it is a perfect 'motion day' book. Slim enough to fit in any briefcase, it can provide fascinating reading while the lawyer is waiting in a modern courtroom."
    Michigan Defense Quarterly 

  • "Accompanied by beautiful images of these distinct and unqiue locations, Michigan's County Courthouses takes the reader on a journey through each county's history... but what sets Fedynsky's work apart is how it engages the untold stories."
    The A2 Journal

Look Inside

Copyright © 2010, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Review | Heritage Newspapers | 9/14/2010

Read: Review | DOME Magazine | 7/13/2010

Read: Review | Grand Rapids Legal News | 7/28/2010

Read: Review | Detroit Legal News | 7/22/2010

Read: Review | AnnArbor.com | 8/23/2010

Read: Review | City Pulse | 6/30/2010

Read: Text from Fedynsky's keynote speech | Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society | 4/29/2010

Read: Review | The A2 Journal | 10/21/10

Read: Review | Midland Daily News | 10/25/10

Read: Review | Capital News Service | 12/13/10

Product Details

  • 8.5 x 11.
  • 216pp.
  • 248 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03493-2

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

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  • Michigan, Courthouse, Court, County, Seat, Justice, Law, Government, Crime, Architecture