Michigan’s Oldest County Once Covered the Entire Michigan Mitten
We know the oldest city in Michigan is Sault Ste. Marie, so it would be logical to assume the oldest county in Michigan would be in the same area, correct? WRONG.
Michigan’s oldest county is Wayne, the sixth county in the Northwest Territory, the 11th largest county, and the 13th most populated in the United States. If you Google “what’s the oldest county in Michigan”, sometimes the county of Alcona shows up. Well, that shows how much Google knows. If Alcona appears in your search, it’s only because it’s Michigan’s first county alphabetically, not historically…so don’t let that throw you off.
Wayne County was founded in 1796 but didn’t get organized until almost twenty years later, in 1815. What to name the county? How about after the Revolutionary War guy, General "Mad Anthony" Wayne? The war had been over since 1783 and the general had been touted as one of the country’s ‘founding fathers’, so that was that.
Hard to comprehend, but the original Wayne County was HUGE. It covered the entire lower peninsula, part of the upper, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin!
What's there to do in Wayne County? There’s the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Symphony, the Henry Ford, Michigan Opera Theater, and tons more stuff to suit most any taste.
The gallery below depicts a good handful of photos of towns, places, points of interest, and images of things long gone within Wayne County, going back to the turn of the 20th Century.
Images of Wayne County (Michigan's Oldest County)