St. John Evangelical Lutheran / Amelith

Registered Site L2245

St. John Evangelical Lutheran

German missionary Pastor Ferdinand Sievers organized St. John Church in June 1852 to serve a colony of German migrants, some fleeing the turmoil that followed the European revolutions of 1848. Initially, the church met in a log cabin that once housed recent arrivals to the colony of Amelith. In 1870 a wood-frame Gothic style church was built. The present structure was completed in 1912. Schools run by the church began in 1853 with instruction in German surviving until World War I. Some church services continued in German until 1979. During World War II, German prisoners housed at Freeland Camp were ministered to by St. John Lutheran. An addition to the church was completed in 1997.
photo of St. John Evangelical Lutheran


Originally a part of Saginaw County, Amelith was named after the birthplace of Pastor Sievers wife, Caroline Koch. She was the daughter of German industrialist Friedrich Koch. To settle German immigrants, Koch purchased two thousand acres of the former Saginaw Bay Chippewa Reserve at $1.25 an acre. In 1851 the first settlers arrived from the Bavarian town of Tosstel. Residents had easier access to Bay City than to Saginaw, and the area was transferred to the Bay County township of Frankenlust at their request. At one time the town included a coal mine, and a cheese factory, along with stores, mills and saloons. By 1900 the mine had closed and immigration had ceased. The Village of Amelith then became a rural, agricultural community.

Erected 2012

Location: 1664 Amelith Road
Frankenlust Twp, Bay County

World War II

Latitude: 43.537444672, Longitude: -83.98728668

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