Zion Lutheran Church began in 1875, when the congregation organized as a Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augustana Synod. It was organized in Mennekaunee, which, at that time was a small fishing village separate from Marinette. It is important to note that Zion was organized less than four years after the Peshtigo Fire, which decimated much of Menekaunee.
When the church building they shared with the local Norwegian Lutheran Church, (now known as Our Savior’s), burned in 1876, Zion built its own building on land donated by the Menominee River Lumber Company. Zion continued to worship in that building until 1962, when Zion began to worship in the parish hall of its current building on James Street. The old church building on Terrace Avenue was razed.
In 1962 the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church merged with four other Lutheran churches to form the Lutheran Church in America, (L.C.A.). Zion then became a part of that national body of Lutherans.
In the spring of 1965, construction began on the sanctuary that would connect with the parish hall. That Fall, three significant events occurred. On September 25 Zion’s Pastor, Rev. R.Y. Johansson, took ill suddenly and died that evening. The cornerstone for the new sanctuary was laid on October 31. On November 8 construction workers severed a gas line creating an explosion in the parish hall that severely damaged the facility. (Fortunately no one was injured!) Services were temporarily held at the former Marinette County Teachers College. Rev. Paul Holmstrom began serving as Zion’s pastor on Ash Wednesay, 1966. The completed new sanctuary was dedicated that Easter Sunday, April 10.
Pastor Holmstrom served Zion for 31 years, retiring in August of 1997. His successor, Rev. Keith Kolstad, began serving Zion in September of 1998, and is still the pastor of Zion. Since it’s beginning in 1875, Zion has been served by a total of 12 pastors, four of these 12 serving since 1926.
In 1987, the L.C.A. joined with the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Zion is presently a member of that body.
As a congregation with a long history, we may have records of baptisms, marriages, membership or funerals of your family and friends. Microfilm copies of our records (from the mid 1940s and earlier) are available in the genealogy room of the Stephenson Public Library, located on Hall Avenue in downtown Marinette. Contact them at (715) 732-7570 for hours and directions.