Of historical significance

QUINCY TOWNSHIP – The first Scandinavian Lutheran church in the Copper Country was commemorated with the dedication of a sign at its foundation Saturday morning.

The memorial came about when Jim Kurtti of the Finnish American Heritage Center showed the site to Anita and Paul Campbell of Calumet.

“The three of us started talking about how nice it would be to get a commemorative sign up in time for Finn Fest,” Anita Campbell said.

The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed in 1867, just a couple of years after the first wave of Scandinavian immigrants arrived in the Copper Country.

The church persisted until the early 1900s. As the area’s Scandinavian population sprouted, the nationalities began forming their own churches.

Swedes organized under the Augustana Synod, Norwegians under the Hauge Synod, Finnish Evangelical Lutherans under the Suomi Synod. The national Finnish Lutherans merged with the Missouri Synod Lutherans.

Some of the Sami and Finnish members of the Church, followers of the Laestadian movement in Finland, formed their own church in 1873.

That church, located in Calumet, was the first Apostolic Lutheran church in the country.

“There were Norwegians, Swedes, Finns and Samis, and they all worshipped here together … it’s technically the mother church of all the Scandinavian Lutherans,” said Anita Campbell.

Thrivent Financial and the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission provided grant funding for the sign; park staff also provided advice and professional expertise.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran Church also partnered; Gloria Dei will store the sign over the winter and replace it in the spring.

Kim Maki of Maki Landscaping & Excavation and Chris Bonen of Keweenaw Tree Service provided landscaping.

Property owner Carol Hocking gave permission for the sign to be placed there.

Hocking said the recognition of the church was “absolutely wonderful.”

“It wasn’t a big building, but it did its purpose,” she said.