A cement block building located just past the American Legion Hall in the village of Old Mission was demolished today. It was an unassuming little building across the road from Haserot Beach, but it boasted a rich history on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Here’s a picture of the building prior to the demolition, taken earlier this year.
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Now owned by Peninsula Township, the building was once used by Lawrence Mlujeak as a mechanic’s shop where he worked on tractors, autos and other vehicles in the 1940s and 50s.
My husband, Tim, recalls going there with his grandpa, Garrett Boursaw, in the 1950s to get his Plymouth tuned up. Tim also recalls a large mahogany Chris-Craft Runabout sitting there during that time. (If you know who owned it, tell us in the comments below.)
During the demolition today, I stood next to my friend, Lisa LaBonte, whose dad owns a house nearby. As we watched the building come down from across the road, she called Lawrence’s granddaughter Jeannine Mlujeak to let her know the building was being demolished.
“People would come from miles around to have their tractors and cars fixed there,” said Jeannine. “And if he didn’t have a part they needed, he’d make it.”
Though the building has sat vacant for many years, it was recently used as a storage area for the Peter Dougherty Society. The group used it to sort and catalog items from the historic Dougherty House, which just opened as a museum to the public.
Earlier this year, it was being considered to house an un-manned station for the Peninsula Fire Department. When it was determined that the building would require extensive restoration, the Township decided to demolish it and build the fire station on Center Road, between Swaney Road and Tompkins Road, on land purchased from Barb and Don Switzer, who run the Switz-R-Land Christmas Tree farm.
The space where the building was located will likely be used for additional parking for Haserot Beach.
Do you have memories of Lawrence Mlujeak or his mechanic’s shop in Old Mission? Leave thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this story.
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 like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like 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 of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my 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 Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb