Counties with the oldest homes in Michigan

Written by:
September 12, 2021
PhotosByMahin // Pixabay

Counties with the oldest homes in Michigan

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Michigan with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Michigan have the oldest homes.

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Modlind // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Baraga County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #924 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.7%
--- #1,015 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,301
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Manistee County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #921 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.2%
--- #978 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,848
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Michigan Department of Natural Resources // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Sanilac County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #917 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0%
--- #926 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 23,086
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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Tuscola County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #915 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.5%
--- #895 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 24,447
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Branch County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #823 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.4%
--- #670 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,849
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Hillsdale County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #812 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.0%
--- #534 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,960
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Bryan Robb // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Ingham County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #781 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.5%
--- #1,169 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 123,570
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Charles Bash // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Huron County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #773 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.2%
--- #984 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,281
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#22. St. Joseph County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #767 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4%
--- #785 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 27,920
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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Lenawee County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #765 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.7%
--- #712 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 43,806
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Flintmichigan // Wikicommons

#20. Genesee County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #734 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.6%
--- #1,519 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 192,290
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Dylan L. Tanner // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Alpena County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #728 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.4%
--- #1,240 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,056
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Menominee County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #718 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.6%
--- #833 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 14,342
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NOAA Great Lakes Envorinmental Ressearch Laboritory // Flickr

#17. Muskegon County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #684 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.3%
--- #1,182 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 74,092
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Tony Webster // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Marquette County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #676 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.6%
--- #887 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 34,850
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daBinsi // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Shiawassee County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #669 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4%
--- #787 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 30,224
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Recomposemedia // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Delta County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #660 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.5%
--- #616 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,367
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rossograph // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Dickinson County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #657 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.7%
--- #597 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 14,070
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Russell Sekeet (amtrak_russ) // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Berrien County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #630 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.2%
--- #1,129 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 77,514
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Phillip L. Hofmeister // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Jackson County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #616 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4%
--- #786 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 69,580
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kennethaw88 // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Saginaw County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #578 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.2%
--- #1,055 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 87,665
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Unknown author // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Gratiot County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #573 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0%
--- #813 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,330
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battlecreekcvb // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Calhoun County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #436 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.7%
--- #599 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 60,889
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Phoenix-Five // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Keweenaw County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #405 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.0%
--- #137 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,483
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Andrew Jameson // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Bay County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #392 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.1%
--- #747 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 48,289
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Rklawton // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Iron County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #333 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.0%
--- #439 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 9,325
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RomanKahler // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Ontonagon County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #332 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.7%
--- #412 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,688
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Jcvertin // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Houghton County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #205 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.3%
--- #84 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 18,798
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PhotosByMahin // Pixabay

#2. Wayne County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #166 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.7%
--- #883 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 815,102
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Gogebic County

- Median year homes built: 1954
--- #122 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.9%
--- #113 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,781

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