old mission school, old mission history, philip devol, louise pratt, s. e. wait, old mission peninsula, old mission, old mission michigan, old mission gazette, peninsula township, old mission school bell
Old Mission School, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo
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We love putting questions out to our readers, and here’s one we’re hoping you can help us with.

Earlier this year, I shared the story of my adventure exploring the deserted Old Mission Standard School House in 1956 when I was four years old. Read it here.

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The story ended with me and my friends ringing the bell and running afoul of the postmistress working next door at the post office, which at the time was located in the same building as the Old Mission General Store.

As a result of publishing that story, Steve Cavender, who currently owns and lives in the Standard School, commented that he’d actually been looking for that bell.

“Thank you, Tim, for your story,” he wrote. “We have enjoyed living in this piece of history and hearing many schoolhouse stories. The school bell had disappeared long before we moved in. If anyone has an idea of where it might have ended up, we would love to know. It would be great to restore it back to the bell tower, if possible.”

We do have one clue. We just learned that many years ago, the bell ended up in Walt and Susan Feiger’s antique shop, Old Barn Antiques, located at 2513 Nelson Road on the Old Mission Peninsula. Sue told us she tried valiantly at the time to interest Old Mission Peninsula School in acquiring the bell, but to no avail. The bell was sold, but it was so long ago that she’s not sure who purchased it.

Here’s the cue for all of you Old Mission Gazette readers to put on your Sherlock Holmes hats and help us find that bell. If it still exists, perhaps we can help return it to the Old Mission School bell tower where it belongs.

If you know where the bell is or even have an inkling of a clue, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this story, or email me at [email protected].

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. Ohh my goodness. I have looked at that old school house almost my entire life. You see, my dad and grandpa built two little cottages down the street from Hasrot beach in the late 50’s. In the late 60’s, my folks bought the old farmhouse from the Lardies, across the street from the Old Mission Store. My dad almost bought the school at one point because they just wanted to be rid of it. You have done such a beautiful job of restoring the place and making it a home.


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