Under the Saginaw Treaty of 1819, the Chippewa tribes ceded 6 million acres to the United States, including the land comprising present-day Oscoda County, which was set off from Alcona County in 1881 when its population reached the level where it could support a separate government. The name “Oscoda” comes from two Chippewa words, ossin meaning pebble and mushcoda meaning large prairie. The village of “Mioe” replaced Union Corners as the county seat in 1882 when John Randall, a town founder, offered a village lot as a site for the courthouse. By 1883 Mio’s fifty residents supported a general store, a milliner, two attorneys, and the Northern Mail newspaper. In addition to the lumbering operations centered in Mio, the county was prime for raising sheep and dairy cattle.When county government moved from a town called Union Corners to Mio in 1882, temporary offices were set up in a rented building owned by John Randall, one of Mio’s founders. For permanent quarters the county supervisors purchased land from Randall in 1885. The county hired Bay City architects Pratt and Koeppe to design a courthouse. In contrast to the elaborate stone and brick courthouses being built at the time, the firm designed this modest wood frame structure, completed in 1889, for Oscoda County. Two wings were added in 1908 to house vaults for the county clerk and treasurer. In 1889-90 a courthouse almost identical to this one was built for Arenac County. That courthouse became a Masonic hall in 1892.
Plaque via Michigan History Center