Assinins, photo submitted c. 1970
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US-41, Assinins - Baraga County
Property Type religious complex
Historic Use RELIGION
Style Other
Architect/Builder Frederick Baraga
Significant Person Frederick Baraga
Narrative Description Assinins is a religiously oriented complex that consists of a school building (now a warehouse) along with several orphanage buildings. The original total area of the complex covered 496.70 acres and included over fifteen log houses, among other buildings. The most elaborate of the structures is the Old St. Joseph Orphanage and School, a large three-story L-shaped rubblestone building topped by gable-roofs with gable dormers. North of the mission area is the Holy Name Parish cemetery where prominent missionaries Father Gerhard Terhorst, Monsignor Melchior Faust, Father John Henn, and Father Anthony Vermare are buried.
Statement of Significance Assinins is significant as one of the earliest Upper Peninsula Catholic missions associated with Bishop Frederic Baraga, and is composed of some of the oldest structures in the region. Founded by Father Baraga in 1843 and destroyed in 1873, the mission was an important link for establishing good relations with the local Ottawa and Chippewa tribes. It was on this site that Father Baraga wrote his best known works, a book on Chippewa grammar and a Chippewa dictionary. Following the Civil War, Baraga deeded the land and its buildings to Chief Edward Assinins and the Keewenaw band of the Chippewa Native Americans. Father Baraga built the Old St. Joseph Orphanage and School in 1860 and wings were added in 1866 and 1877. A larger orphanage building was constructed just south of the old school in 1929 and used until the late 1950's. In 1957 the buildings were rededicated as the Sacred Heart Friary and used as the novitiate of the Capuchin Fathers in the Midwest until the late 1960's. The old building is still being used for church services of the Most Holy Name of Jesus parish and also houses a priest and a brother of the Capuchin Order of St. Francis. Presently located on the property is the Keweenaw Bay Indian Tribal Center, community center and headquarters for the Tribal Council.
Period of Significance 1826-1865
Significant Date(s) 1843, 1860
Registry Type(s) 05/19/1972 National Register listed
06/19/1971 State Register listed
Site ID# P22517