08 September 2009

Sad end to the Menominee Chapel

This is an artist's rendention of the original Menominee Chapel

It is beginning to make sense why no one knew/knows anything about the little chapel that was built to replicate (at least make a gesture to) the original Catholic chapel of the Menominee band. It barely existed!

In a newpaper article in 1915, after only being around six years, it was reported that the "little chapel at Menominee" was a victim of defacing. Vandals tore off part of the roof and removed sections of chinking, along with scratching out a brass plate at the memorial. By this time, it was also reported that the lower beam on which the roof sat had already rotted. The article went on to say that at this "rate the little building is going to pieces, both from the ravages of time and the vandalism of people, it will not be long until it will be nothing but a little heap of ruins."

Five years later, in 1920, it was reported "Menominee Chapel burns at Twin Lakes". It was reported that a spark from a passing rail car caught the grass on fire at the memorial grounds and that from the grass the cabin caught fire. "The chapel was built of logs, and while it was in rather a bad state of repair, the logs were solid and made a very hot fire which lasted a long time. No effort was made to put out the fire." The cabin existed for less than 11 years.
The Trail of Courage, commemorating the Trail of Death each year, is also coming up the weekend of September 19-20, at the Fulton County Historical Society grounds. The rededication of the Chief at Twin Lakes unofficially kicks off festivities in Rochester this year.

This is an image of Father Petit, responsible for the original chapel and priest to the Menominee band

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A Catholic Chapel and almost immediately it was being vandalized and neglected and it burned while no effort was made to save it. What group was busy burning things in Indiana at that time?

Oh and would the person who voted to "rechain" the Chief be so kind as to explain why? I voted no but could live with a chain at the road only to control vandals on bikes and in vehicles but I do not want the chain put back around the Chief!

jimgrey said...

Man, you'd have to be nearing 100 years old and have been around the place some at that time to even remember the chapel.

I really oughta come up for the rededication. I would like to explore my Potawatomi heritage more.

hoosier reborn said...

Jim-
You should come up for the rededication....there will be a number of Pottawatomie there for the event, including some speakers. 4pm on a Friday-sounds like a half day.

jimgrey said...

I'll see what I can do.

hoosier reborn said...

Consider the chili supper on me...if you're driving all the way from Indy, it's the least I can do!