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Delta CountyDelta County

French missionaries were first to arrive in Delta County sometime in the 1650's in Little Bay de Noc. Lumber and fishing were the primary industries in the region until 1864, when the railroad from Negaunee to Escanaba was completed, providing easy transportation which allowed the mining industry to flourish.

Delta County was first surveyed in April of 1843. At that time it included the present territory, all of what is now Menominee County, as well as parts of what were later to become Dickinson, Iron and Marquette Counties.

The name of the county was derived from its triangular shape, like that of the Greek letter Delta.

Delta County was formally organized in 1861. The first meeting of the Delta County Board of Supervisors was held May 28,1862, at the Delta Mills in the Township of Nahma. Members of the Board were George LeGare, Chairman of Escanaba Township, A. G. Bailey, of Nahma Townhship, and the Clerk, Thomas Ashton.

The county seat was located in Masonville from 1860 to 1864 when the county records and offices were moved to Escanaba.

Nahma Township was the first township created in Delta County in 1861. The other townships and their years of creation are:

  • Baldwin Township 1873
  • Bark River Township 1880
  • Bay de Noc Township 1881
  • Brampton Township 1903
  • Cornell Township 1905
  • Ensign Township 1921
  • Fairbanks Township 1872
  • Ford River Township 1875
  • Garden Township 1882
  • Maple Ridge Township 1873
  • Masonville Township 1869
  • Wells Township 1889

The first Judge who sat in Circuit Court was Daniel Goodwin, a Supreme Court Judge. This was prior to the establishment of the 25th Judicial Circuit and he was followed by John W. Stone, Richard C. Flannigan, Frank A. Bell, Glenn W. Jackson, Carroll C. Rushton and Bernard  G. Davidson. On January 1, 1975, a new circuit was created for only Delta County. Clair J. Hoehn was the first Judge elected for the 47th Judicial Circuit. Portraits of the first seven Judges can be viewed in the  County Building.



Escanaba was incorporated as a village in 1866, and in 1867 a lighthouse was established on Sand Point. Also in 1867, a charcoal iron furnace was built in Fayette by the Jackson Iron Company.

Gladstone was first settled in 1877, although it was originally named Saunders Point. At the time, it was the eastern terminus of the Soo Line Railroad.

The first Courthouse was built in Delta County in 1882. A committee composed of Thomas J. Streeter, John D. Ross, Charles E. Brotherton and Robert Peacock was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to secure a building site. Block five of the original plat of Escanaba was purchased from David Oliver at a cost of $4,000. Contract for the building construction was awarded to H. G. Ashmun for $20,700. The completion cost was $26,474 and the Courthouse was turned over to the County on February 27, 1884.

Escanaba was incorporated as a City in 1883, with Gladstone being incorporated as a Village in 1887 and as a City in 1889.

The First Delta County Jail and Sheriff's residence was a two story brick building located on the northeast corner of the present intersection of First Avenue South and South 5th Street, Escanaba. On June 6, 1886, the Board of Supervisors provided for funds and accepted bids for construction of a new jail and Sheriff's residence in the amount of $5,000. The new building was erected at the rear of the then new Courthouse.

The Shelton Hotel in Fayette, Michigan

During the third quarter of the nineteenth century, Fayette was a leading producer of pig iron in the Mid-West. Operating from 1867 until 1891, this company town supported the Shelton Hotel. Serving as a boarding house, resort, hotel, and saloon, the Shelton Hotel played a large role in the social environment of the town. In particular, the excavations in 2001 focused on the saloon in the east wing of the building.

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