A Brief History of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1898 as an independent congregation branching from the first Finnish Lutheran Church organized in Ironwood in 1891 by the Reverend J. W. Eloheimo. The Zion congregation was chartered October 9, 1898. The old church, located on the corner of Ayer and Curry Streets, was built in 1904. Construction was started with $300.00 in the treasury and a great deal of faith. Making pasties to sell to miners for their lunch pails was one of the congregation’s primary fund raisers.
The church separated from the National Lutheran Synod in 1954 and in 1959 this congregation affiliated with a synod. Through growth and mergers of synods, in 1977, Zion became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Since 1992, Zion has been a member of the IGO Conference (Iron Gogebic Ontonagon) conference of the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the ELCA. Under God’s guidance and blessing, Zion’s membership grew steadily through her life, and her opportunities to witness Christ before men increased. Membership peaked during the hay day of the baby boom era in Ironwood.
Because the congregation outgrew the facilities of the old church, the congregation moved to its current church building at 100 E Midland Street, Ironwood, MI. The corner stone of the new church was placed in 1957. In the Spring of 1958 “Under the Grace of God, after much prayer, toil and sacrifice,” Zion members dedicated “this House of Worship with thanksgiving to the glory of God!”
Today, the Zion congregation is a diverse group of faithful believers moving ahead under the guidance and teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As our area population has declined, our strong and faithful membership has decreased as well. Today we enjoy a partnership and shared ministries with our sister congregation Salem Lutheran Church, also of Ironwood.
Monthly stewardship efforts provide support for the greater church beyond the confines of our doors into the community and world. Zion Quilters, along with those of other churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, its Northern Great Lakes Synod, Lutheran Social Services, and Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, extended a ministry of love to impoverished countries and areas recovering from catastrophic events.