Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
The Church was built under the direction of Father Specht in 1895 on land donated by Antoine and Antoinette Fillison. Money for the church was raised by basket socials, baskets made out of birch bark by community members and filled with baked goods. Lumberjacks were often bidders!
The building was built in the French style by Ojibwe carpenter Frank Wiskop of hand-hewed, dovetailed timber. It is 25 x 30 feet with a lean to of 8 x 14 feet. A 225 pound bell and pews were added in 1896 and the sacristy in 1903. It served as the only Catholic church in Grand Marais from 1895-1916 when St. John’s was built. As the population of Chippewa City diminished, so did the use of the church with the final mass conducted at Christmas 1936.
In 1958 efforts began to restore the building, the Lions and Catholic Church worked together. It was declared a historic site by the Cook County Historical Society and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. In 1998 the church was donated to the Cook County Historical Society. Major grants from the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa and the Minnesota Historic Society have helped continue the restoration.
The Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church is located about one mile east of Grand Marais. Call the museum for information regarding visiting opportunities at 218.387.2883.