Michigan Counties
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Michigan Counties

The boundaries of the eighty-three counties in Michigan have not changed substantially since 1897. Wayne County was the sixth county in the Northwest Territory, formed 15 August 1796 and organized in 1815. Wayne County was created 21 November 1815 as an original county of Michigan.

Houghton County, Michigan

Houghton County Education, Geography, and HistoryHoughton County, Michigan Courthouse

Houghton County is a county located in the Upper peninsula in the state of Michigan. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 36,628. The county seat is Houghton. The County was set off in 1843, organized in 1846 and reorganized in 1848. It is named for geologist Douglass Houghton.

Houghton County is part of the Houghton, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which also includes Keweenaw County. Part of the county is sometimes locally called Copper Island.

Etymology - Origin of Houghton County Name

Houghton County is named for Douglass Houghton, Michigan geologist and Mayor of Detroit from 1842 to 1843.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Houghton County History

Houghton County is named for Douglass Houghton, Michigan geologist and Mayor of Detroit from 1842 to 1843.

Set Off: 1843 with boundaries described in 1845

Organized: 1846, reorganized in 1848

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,502 square miles (3,890 km2), of which 1,009 square miles (2,610 km2) is land and 492 square miles (1,270 km2) (33%) is water.

The Portage Lift Bridge crosses Portage Lake, connecting Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, by crossing over Portage Lake, which is part of the river and canal system that crosses the entire peninsula. The Portage Lift Bridge is the world's heaviest and widest double-decked vertical lift bridge. Its center span "lifts" to provide 100 feet (30 m) of clearance for ships. Since rail traffic was discontinued in the Keweenaw, the lower deck is used to accommodate snowmobile traffic in the winter. This is the only land based link between the north and south section of the Keweenaw peninsula, and is crucial.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Keweenaw County (north)
  • Baraga County (east)
  • Iron County (south)
  • Ontonagon County (west)


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