Today’s Photo of the Day is courtesy of the little pavilion on the beach at Kelley Park, located on Mission Road across from the Old Mission Inn. I love this particular view of the pavilion with Old Mission Point in the background, especially when the sky is overcast and gloomy, giving it a bit of a noir feeling.
This piece of land is now called Kelley Park, but some of you may remember when it was Nevinger’s campground. It’s the only campground I recall ever being on the Old Mission Peninsula – at least in my 59 years of living here. When I was a kid in the 1960s, not only could you camp there, but they also sold bait and other fishing paraphernalia.
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Below is a photo of that same view in the last century (apologies for the small photo size). I’m not sure of the exact date, but I’m going to guess late-1940s, because the Nevingers owned this parcel, along with the Old Mission Inn, from 1945 to 1998.
This photo is courtesy of my friend Jake Anderson, who is a cousin to the Nevinger’s. Jake’s wife, Cindy Anderson, is a Realtor with Lake Homes Realty and one of our trusted advertisers here on Old Mission Gazette. Check out her website here.
I think this might be Norm Nevinger, Sr. on the bulldozer, working on the beach where the pavilion is now located. In the distance is Haserot Beach.
According to the history section of the Old Mission Inn’s website – the inn is now owned by Bruce and Angie Jensen – the Nevingers came to Old Mission in 1945 from Illinois. Norman Nevinger worked for R.L. Donnelly as a print master. He bought the Inn for his wife, Doris, and they named it Old Mission Inn. (Prior to that, it was Hedden Hall from 1869 to 1902, and The Porter House from 1902 to 1945.)
The Nevingers spent their summers in Old Mission and their winters in Illinois, before moving to the Old Mission Peninsula permanently. They had four children – Norman Jr. and Lynette, who moved from Illinois, and Mark and Alice, who were born in Old Mission.
Norman Sr. had a seaplane business and would fly back and forth from Chicago to Michigan once a month while Doris ran the Inn. The Nevingers had matchbooks made up that said: “Horseback riding, seaplane rides, private beach and lawn games. Stop in for a piece of homemade cherry pie.” Rooms were five dollars a night, and they also ran a restaurant, in addition to the campground. I believe this is a picture of Norm’s plane, courtesy of Jake Anderson.
The Nevingers operated the Inn for 53 years and sold the property in 1998 when they split the Inn from the campground. The campground, now Kelley Park, is under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
It’s anticipated that the boat launch at Haserot Beach – which washed away in a storm this summer – will be moved to Kelley Park sometime in 2020. There are also plans to create a launch for small crafts such as kayaks and canoes.
Do you remember the Nevingers? Leave thoughts in the comments section below, and as always, if I’ve got anything wrong, let me know that, too! Comment below or email me, [email protected].