County Seat, but not the Capital?

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Visitors to Michigan may be perplexed to find that in Ingham county, which the capital of Michigan resides in, Lansing, is in fact not the county seat.  Unlike the other 49 states of the Union, Michigan remains unique in that its county seat is separate from the capital.  As you may already guessed, the county seat is Mason.

Charles Noble, founder of the company that sent the first settler to clear out the 20 acres of land that would become Mason Michigan, had dreams of getting the capital placed there.  This was because shortly after the state’s founding, debate arose of settling where the capital should be.  Despite his attempts, Noble lost the debate in 1847 to what would become known as Lansing, but managed early in the debate to get the county seat designated as Mason.  The first county courthouse was constructed in 1843, and for a brief period of time, Mason became the center of activity in the county, even more so than its neighboring city the capital.  This rivalry with Lansing would lead the capital city to attempt to claim the title of county seat in 1877, but negotiations between the two cities lead to compromise.  Mason would retain the county seat, but many of its offices, smaller courts, and official duties would be moved and conducted at the capital.  Today, the current courthouse is still in use in Mason.

16 thoughts on “County Seat, but not the Capital?

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