Van Buren County

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Van Buren

Van Buren County is named for Martin Van Buren, who was a United States Secretary of State and later President of the United States.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Allegan County

E – Kalamazoo County

S – Cass County and Berrien County

W – Berrien County and Lake Michigan

 

Created:  October 29, 1829                    Map of Michigan highlighting Van Buren County

County Seat:

Paw Paw  1837 – present

 

County Courthouse – Paw Paw  

 

Location:  212 Paw Paw Street / South Kalamazoo Street

Built:  1901 – 1903

Style:  Classical Revival

Architect:  Claire Allen of Jackson

Contractor:  George Rickman & Sons Company of Kalamazoo

 

Description:  The building faces north and is a three story sandstone and concrete structure. The building is located is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Paw Paw. The building has a raised basement. There is a large portico with three arches on the first story and four columns rising to the top of the second story with decorative pediment at the roof line. On the centre of the roof is a large square clock tower with open sides. Atop the tower is a smaller square clock tower with high green colored copper roof. The Sheldon and Oradell Rupert memorial clock was installed in the tower in 1986. The interior has four murals and a main stairway. There is a rotunda beneath the clock tower. The courtroom is located on the second story and has a dark wood finishing and a high curved ceiling with chandelier. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 36th Judicial District, County District Court and County Probate Court.  In 1974 to 1976 an annex was constructed on the south side. The architect was Trend Associates Inc. and the contractor was Paul J Barton & Associates Inc.

 

See:  The architect, Claire Allen of Jackson, also designed courthouses in Gratiot County, Hillsdale County and Shiawassee County.

 

See:  National Register of Historic Places – Van Buren County Courthouse

 

Note:  The County District Court is also located in the County Building West in South Have at 1007 East Wells Street and Bailey Avenue.

 

Old County Courthouse – Paw Paw  

 

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Location:  111 East Michigan Avenue / South Gramps Street

Built:  1842 – 1845

Style:  Greek Revival

Architect:  Stafford Godfrey  and Rueben E Churchill

Contractor: Stafford Godfrey,  Rueben E Churchill and Henry W Rhodes.

 

Description:  The building faces south and is a two story wood fame structure. The building is located in the center of Pawa Paw. The south front has six white colored columns rising from pillars on the first story to a wide pediment at the roof line. Above the central wood framed entrance is a large arched windows. The roof is hipped. The building now serves as the City Hall.

 

History:  The county was created in 1829 and Paw Paw was selected as the county seat in 1837 when the county was organized. The first court met in a rented school in Lafayette ( Paw Paw). The first courthouse was built in 1842 to 1845 at a cost of $2,410 for woodwork and is still standing. A records building was built in 1875 which building now houses a museum. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1901 to 1903 at a cost of $120,000.  The County Courts Building was constructed in 2020 to 2021.

 

See:  Michigan’s County Courthouses by John Fedynsky

 

 

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County Courthouse – Paw Paw

 

 

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Old County Building 1875 on left side

 

 

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Old County Courthouse – Paw Paw

 

 

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Photos taken 2008