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Historic Locations & Attractions in Frankenmuth, Michigan

Historic Locations and Markers in Frankenmuth »

Pastor Wilhelm Loehe of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, was inspired to establish a German Lutheran colony in Michigan, which would minister to the Saginaw Valley Chippewa Indians. Reverend August Craemer and 14 other immigrants from Franconia, Bavaria, traveled to Michigan and founded Frankenmuth in 1845. The settlers built log houses and dedicated a log church on Christmas Day in 1846. The log church also served as a parsonage and Indian school. A replica of the log church is located near St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Frankenmuth Area Museums

Frankenmuth Historical Museum is on Main Street/M-83 in downtown. Maintained by the Frankenmuth Historical Association, the museum features artifacts, documents and information related to the city's past. For visiting hours, visit the Frankenmuth Historical Museum's web site.

Grandpa Tiny's Farm is a working, historic farm that includes a petting farm and wagon ride tour. Located across the street from Bronner's, the farm is also home to two historic structures: Hart School and Dehmel Road Black Bridge. Hart School, a one-room schoolhouse, was built in the mid-1800s and had been located at the corner of Frankenmuth and Hart Roads. Black Bridge, an iron trestle bridge, dates back to 1907. It was originally located west of St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church and was moved to Grandpa Tiny's Farm in 2002. For more information, visit the web site for Grandpa Tiny's Farm.

Michigan's Own Military & Space Museum is located north of Bronner's on Weiss Street. The musuem features the world's largest Medal of Honor collection and displays dedicated to Michigan astronauts, aviators, soldiers, and sailors who served their country. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week from March through December.

St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church Museum is located at West Tuscola Road and Mayer Road. The musuem is located across the street from the beautiful St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was built in 1880 and features a 167-foot-tall steeple. Located nearby, an authentic replica of a log cabin church provides a glimpse of life in the mid-1800s. Tours of the church, museum, and log cabin church are available June through September, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Michigan Historical Markers

Frankenmuth has a few Michigan Historical Markers that describe places and people from the town's past. The green markers are in locations that are considered significant by the Michigan Historical Commission.
  • St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church - Dedicated on September 26, 1880, the gothic revival-style church has served generations of residents in Frankenmuth. The altar inside the beautiful church dates back to 1895. A historical marker located near the entrance to the church describes the settlement of Frankenmuth and the history of the church.

  • Zehnder's Restaurant - In 1856, the Exchange Hotel was built in Frankenmuth. William and Emilie Zehnder purchased the hotel in 1928 and remodeled it to resemble Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. Zehnder's opened for business on Mother's Day in 1929. A historical marker in front of Zehnder's honors the German settlers who founded Frankenmuth in 1845.

  • Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn - In 1888, the Union House Hotel was established by Theodore Fischer, a former bartender at the Exchange Hotel. In 1959, the restaurant was remodeled and renamed the Bavarian Inn. The tradition of "all you can eat" chicken dinners in Frankenmuth began at the Union House Hotel, started by Herman and Lydia Fischer.

    Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth

Other Historical Markers and Locations

In downtown Frankenmuth, there are Frankenmuth historical markers that recognize the past contributions and accomplishments of area residents. North of Tuscola Street, a marker related to agriculture is located at a small park on the east side of Main Street. A little farther north on Main Street, there is a marker related to education.

Behind Bavarian Inn Restaurant, a short distance from the Cass River, there is a marker that honors Lewis Cass, who served as a governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 to 1831.

In front of the Frankenmuth Fire Station, there is an antique fire truck and informational marker.

Along Gunzenhausen Street, near the old mill, there is a sign that remembers the dedication of the street with Frankenmuth's sister city, Gunzenhausen, Germany.

The covered bridge over the Cass River, near Bavarian Inn Restaurant, was built in 1979.

Covered bridge in Frankenmuth

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