Here’s yet another overlooked little Michigan town, just kinda hidden away near the Keweenaw Bay in Baraga County – in fact, some might call this a ghost town. When I first came across the name of this town I thought 'oh, I gotta know more about this one.' I wouldn’t call the village of Zeba a ghost town, however, more of a Shadow Town...a ‘shadow’ of its former self.

Zeba’s population was only 397 at the time of the 2020 census, and is just a little ways north of L’Anse. “Zeba”? What’s it mean? Is it somebody’s last name or a Native American term? Sort of right on the second one. The word “zeba” was based on the Ojibwa term “ziibiins” which means ‘creek’ (stream, brook, or river), based on the nearby Little Silver Creek.

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It was here in 1831 that Reverend Frederic Baraga first founded an Indian mission; but in 1843 he moved to Assinins where his legend grew.

It took until 1910 for Zeba to get its own post office, closed in 1923, re-opened in 1913, and closed permanently in 1933.

Zeba didn’t just sit was an important place for trading and shipping goods like furs and pelts. It wasn’t just a place for traders, but for missionaries who set up here and in nearby L’Anse.

If you decide to visit this little out-of-the-way village, check out the “church on the bluff”. The Zeba Indian United Methodist Church was built in 1888 and is listed as an historic site. Other things to visit around Zeba is the Pinery Indian Cemetery, the six-lane bowling alley “Whirl-I-Gig”, the L’Anse reservation, the Zeba Community Hall, the L’Anse Park trails, L’Anse township hall and the Ivory Mansion Bed & Breakfast!

Vintage Photos of Zeba, Michigan


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