Learn more about downtown’s historic churches with Library’s new self-guided tour

Have you ever wondered about the history behind some of Alpena’s beautiful historic churches?

Last week, the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library officially launched a new self-guided walking tour that highlights the places of worship throughout the City of Alpena. The self-guided tour highlights fifteen of Alpena’s historic churches and places of worship, including the historic churches that are (or were) located in downtown.

St. Mary’s Church, one of the historic churches featured on the tour. Photo by Kingsli Kraft.

The walking tour is available through izi.Travel, an online platform that the Library has previously used for self-guided audio tours that highlight Alpena’s historic homes, buildings downtown, and Evergreen cemetery. The izi.Travel app is a free platform that allows organizations and individuals to create tours about history, landmarks, heritage and culture. The tours are accessible by phone or computer and allow participants to to walk, bike, or drive the tour on their own time.

On the new tour, participants will be able to learn about Alpena’s early religious history and the diverse faiths that reflected the complexity of the surrounding communities’ culture. The tour will also focus on the congregations that built these impressive, historical buildings and the architectural changes that reflect the trends of Michigan and the nation. The tour highlights churches that are still standing and others that have been torn down, lost to fire, or rebuilt over the years.

“With this tour, our organization wants to highlight the uniqueness of our religious history in Alpena. Many of these places served religious and cultural significance in the early lives of the lumber era settlers,” said Head of Special Collections Don La Barre. “We hope this tour prompts further research and discussion into the stories of the diverse groups of people immigrating to Alpena to start their lives.”

Photo of Trinity Episcopal, 1915 & Photo of First Baptist Church, later torn down. Photos provided by Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library Special Collections.

On the tour, you can learn more about the following churches that are located downtown:

  • Trinity Episcopal (124 E. Washington)
  • First United Congregational Church of Christ (201 S. Second Ave)
  • First Baptist Church (torn down)
  • Episcopal, Presbyterian, Church of Life (150 W. Washington Ave)
  • St. Bernards (322 W. Chisholm St)
  • Methodist Episcopal Church (torn down)
  • St. Mary’s Church (120 E. Miller St)

Visitors can access the tour by downloading the izi.Travel app on their smartphone or on a computer by clicking here. The tour features fifteen stops and takes approximately an hour to complete.

Alpena First Congregational Church being razed. Photo provided by Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library Special Collections & Alpena First Congregational United Church of Christ today. Photo by Kingsli Kraft.

Anne Gentry is Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA). You can stay up to date with all things downtown by following Downtown Alpena & Blog Downtown Alpena on facebook and instagram.

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