The first pioneers of Antrim County settled along Grand Traverse Bay near Elk Rapids in the 1850s. Later settlers moved inland, and urged that the county seat be transferred from the bay shore closer to the geographical center of the county. After a close election in 1879, Keno, later named Bellaire, became the new county seat. Thus began a bitter controversy which was appealed to the state Supreme Court and lasted for twenty-five years. Although the courthouse square was purchased as early as 1879 the county building was not constructed until 1904-05 after another vote. Designed by Jens C. Peterson, and built by Waterman and Price, the courthouse cost $30,000.