Hunts' Guide to The Upper Peninsula

Iron County Courthouse

Iron Country Courthouse, Crystal Falls
Iron County Courthouse, Crystal Falls

This splendidly sited Romanesque Revival courthouse from 1890 is perhaps Michigan's most memorable courthouse. Visitors can explore the interior of this well-preserved building and admire details like the oak wainscoting, carved oak balustrade, and decorative door hinges. The columns flanking the big entrance arch were quarried locally from outcrops along the Paint River. Look up before entering for a dramatic view of the towers and the galvanized metal female figures of Law, Mercy, and Justice over the entrance.
A careful restoration of the courthouse was finished at the end of 2004. The lighted tower clock is still being worked on. Restorations of this caliber are not common in the Upper Peninsula. Visit to see many subcontractors involved in building an annex, cleaning the brick, mortar replacement, asbestos removal, rebuilding the tower, stenciling Victorian decorations, and making a new sword for Justice.

A special point of pride is the large second-floor courtroom with its octagonal ceiling of decorative pressed metal and its huge chandelier with muses and dragons looking down from their perch of cast iron leaves. A window in the courthouse's second-floor stair tower frames the grand view down the main street and off into the forest in a striking manner.

Now there's a history room on the first floor with five display cases with changing exhibits, one case for each of the county's museums (in Caspian, Crystal Falls, Alpha, and Amasa) and one for artifacts from the courthouse itself. There are some gorgeous minerals, plus regional rocks and iron samples. A souvenir courthouse mug can be purchased at the County Clerk's office.

2 S. Sixth at the head of Superior, a block west of U.S. 2. (906) 875-3301. Open Mon-Fri 8-4 Central Time, closed 12-12:30. Wheelchair access: use rear entrance off parking lot.

Return to Crystal Falls

Iron County Courthouse. This 1890 courthouse, among Michigan's most memorable, has just been meticulously restored. The courtroom and history room/research area are of special interest. ... more

Downtown Crystal Falls. A classic 1930s WPA post office mural; a 1920s theater with impressive organ; an exceptional sausage shop with takeout sandwiches and soups; a shoemaker/shoe store that's a time trip, a big antique shop; and a pasty/pierogi factory that sells seconds for less. ... more

Harbour House Museum. This unusual cement block house with two-tiered wraparound porch is a local house museum with an outstanding collection of Ojibwa baskets, beaded clothing, and more. ... more

Paint River Boardwalk. Easy access to a beautiful in-town stretch of river ... more

Crystal View Golf Course. A scenic, inexpensive 9-hole course on the steep slope of the Paint River valley, with mature hardwoods framing a grand view of the town ... more

Horserace Rapids. A delightful attraction - not just the rapids but the path twisting around massive boulders among birches and then towering dark pines down to a magical glen. ... more

Runkle Lake Park and Recreation Complex. A mile east of Crystal Falls, this 1920s park has swimming and a beach on Runkle Lake, a log shelter in the pines, a fishing pier, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. ... more

Glidden Lake & Lake Mary Plains Pathway. A swimming beach and 10-mile hiking trail through pine plantations and oak uplands adjoin this 23-site rustic campground ... more

Peavy Pond & Michigamme Reservoir /Wisconsin Electric Power. Fishing, paddling, boating, and primitive camping in wilderness areas are possible at these impoundments with long shorelines and many arms. ... more

Bewabic State Park. The four Fortune Lakes are fishing and birding destinations at this beautiful, uncrowded state park with picturesque CCC projects and a good, sandy beach. ... more

Chicaugon Falls. A mile hike leads to the top of this striking, little-visited waterfall that creates a dramatic deep glen among massive, dark boulders ... more

Margeson Falls. Tough to reach, but the reward is a waterrfall in a striking canyon ... more

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Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Hunts' Guide to the U.P.

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