Genesee County Courthouse, 1925
Genesee County Courthouse
There are many eye-catching pieces of Architecture to enjoy in Flint. Whether you drive down Saginaw Street daily or only once in a while, it is hard to miss the beautiful Genesee County Courthouse. Located along historical Saginaw Street, across from the Mid-Century Municipal complex, stands this beautiful moment in history.
The Courthouse currently standing is not the original courthouse, in fact, it is the fifth Courthouse to exist on that lot. The original courthouse was built in 1838 and was a simple log-cabin style building. As time went on, the log-cabin style courthouse was deemed unsafe to house important court documents. This motivated the addition to the lot, in 1851, of a small brick building. However, in 1866 the log-cabin style portion was destroyed in a fire. Quickly after, in 1867, the site was demolished and a new building consisting of a courthouse, jail, and Sherriff’s office was built. Approaching the 1900’s, it was decided that this building was too small for the county. So, in 1904 this site too was demolished and by 1905, the next courthouse was constructed. This building was designed with Renaissance-Revival Style and stood in Flint until it was destroyed by a fire in 1923. After a very difficult decision by the city, voters decided to demolish the remainder of the 1905 courthouse and construct a new one. In 1925, construction was completed on the courthouse we know and admire today.
Designed by Frederick D Madison, of Royal Oak, the Genesee County Courthouse is a beautiful example of Neo-Classical Revival architecture. This architectural movement can be defined by a commanding façade, full height porches, and a roof supported by classical columns. The Courthouse is a five-story, rectangular, reinforced concrete frame building. The front (Northeast) façade is visually divided by three bands. The first two stories are faced in gray, horizontal, Indiana limestone bands and capped with a classical cornice. The third and fourth story are faced with large windows and evenly spaced ionic columns. The columns visually support the fifth story of the building, which is a classical entablature reading ‘Genesee County Courthouse,’ and then topped with a monolithic flat-topped parapet.
This stunning piece of architecture is located right in the heart of Flint, Michigan and is rightfully established as a ‘Michigan State Historic Site.’ In addition, the Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in May of 1990. Next time you find yourself on Saginaw Street, take a closer look at this brilliant piece of history.