The settlement of Frankenmuth and the organization of St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church occurred simultaneously. Pastor Wilhelm Loehe of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, was inspired to establish a German Lutheran colony by Michigan circuit riders who requested aid in bringing the Gospel of Christ to Saginaw Valley Chippewa Indians. Directed by Loehe in 1845, Pastor August Craemer and fourteen other immigrants began clearing forests in this area south to the Cass River. They built log houses and dedicated a log church on Christmas Day 1846. The second church, a frame structure, was erected in 1852 and enlarged in 1864, serving until the completion of the present church in 1880. The settlers named the "colony" Frankenmuth by combining the name of their home region, Franconia, with mut, the German word for courage.