Sometimes traveling thru Michigan is like driving thru Vermont or Connecticut. How? Because of the cool little churches that still exist in small towns, out in the countryside, or up north. Call them little churches or chapels – either way, these places of worship and prayer have a charm all their own…completely apart from the bigger, massive cathedrals mostly seen in the big cities.

These little churches often resemble a one-room schoolhouse, with the only exception being a steeple. Some of the old abandoned church buildings don’t have steeples and it can be difficult for historians to figure out if that old building they happened across was an old school or church.

These diminutive structures that were mainly constructed over one hundred years ago usually tend to be Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, or Presbyterian, all of which were the largest religious groups (along with Roman Catholics) in Michigan in the 1800s.

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The Roman Catholics had the only organized religion in the state pre-1800, thanks to the French colonials. The Lutheran church – the second largest religious denomination in Michigan - was brought by Germans and Scandinavians.

Sometimes these little churches you see are of some other denomination…some I’ve never heard of before. Many little chapels don’t specify any particular denomination…they can just “be there” for anyone who wants to sit, reflect, pray, attend a service, or be alone for a while.

The gallery below has a good number of little churches and chapels throughout Michigan, some tiny, others so-so size, and even others with a unique structure. But all cool.

Little Old Michigan Churches, 1870-1960


Michigan's Oldest, Still-Operating Church

Abandoned Church, Flint

Wilkins Memorial Church

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