The Kewawenon Mission Site, photo c, 1979
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Kewawenon Mission
227Front Street, between Whirl-I-Gig Road and Peter Marksman Rd., 3.5 mi NE of L'Anse, Sec. 19, T51N, R32W, Zeba - Baraga County
Other Names Zeba Indian United Methodist Church
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Gothic
Narrative Description The Zeba Indian United Methodist Church is a rectangular, gable fronted frame church of basilican plan in a vernacular interpretation of the unadorned, Gothic style. A square tower, set to one side of double colored glass windows in the facade, provides an entrance foyer and supports the belfry. Symmetrically arranged memorial windows light the building from both sides. A rear facade rosette window and front gable peak window complete the fenestration. A triangle of colored glass creates a pediment effect over double front doors. Decoration also includes lancet-shaped openings in the belfry and a wrought iron pinnacle on the polygonal steeple. The original exterior siding is of varied-shaped shingles arranged in linear patterns. Constructed in 1888, the Zeba Church is a good example of Victorian Gothic church architecture, as found in the rugged lumbering and mining areas of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Statement of Significance The Kewawenon Mission Site, marked today by the Zeba United Methodist Church, was the birthplace of Indian Methodism in the Western Upper Peninsula. The original 1832 log mission house was one of the earliest in the area, predating Bishop Baraga's Catholic Mission at Assinins by a decade. John Sunday, a Chippewa pastor and Reverend John Clark first arrived at Kewawenon in 1832 to preach Methodism. Since that time the mission has continued to operate and represent one of the oldest and most successful integrations of Native American and European religious traditions.
Marker Name Zeba Indian United Methodist Church
Marker Text ZEBA INDIAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Early Methodist missionaries came to Kewawenon from Sault Sainte Marie by canoe, often a two-week trip. Among them was John Sunday, a Chippewa, who arrived in 1832 to educate and Christianize his fellow Indians. John Clark came two years later and erected a school and mission house. By 1845 this mission consisted of a farm and a church with fifty-eight Indian and four white members. A second church, erected in 1850, was dedicated by John H. Pitezel, who served here from 1844 to 1847. SIDE TWO Indians from far and near came here to attend the annual camp meetings which began in 1880. The present frame church, known now as the Zeba Indian Mission church, was erected in 1888. Completely covered with hand-made wooden shingles, this structure has changed little since its construction. The Methodist minister of L'Anse serves the congregation. The Zeba Indian United Methodist church, the successor of the 1832 Kewawenon mission, is an area landmark.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1888
Registry Type(s) 05/25/1979 Marker erected
04/10/1980 National Register listed
01/29/1979 State Register listed
Site ID# P22523