Alex and Belle Lardie Home and Store in Mapleton on the Old Mission Peninsula, Circa 1888
Alex and Belle Lardie Home and Store in Mapleton on the Old Mission Peninsula, Circa 1888
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The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society is in a go-mode for the Fall/Winter season, and the November program is not to be missed. Mary Jo (Solomonson) Lance and my husband Tim Boursaw are giving a presentation on “The History of the Peninsula Telephone Company.”

Everyone in the community is invited to attend this meeting, which will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., at the Peninsula Township Hall, 13235 Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula.

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The Peninsula Telephone Company has a long and storied history on the Old Mission Peninsula, including when Jack and Vi Solomonson took over managing the business in 1949. Read our interview with Vi and her daughter Mary Jo here.

Jack and Vi Solomonson, Owners of the Peninsula Telephone Company
Jack and Vi Solomonson, Owners of the Peninsula Telephone Company

Join the OMP Historical Society

The Historical Society is also in the midst of a membership drive, and everyone who’s interested in the history of the Old Mission Peninsula is invited to join the group. There will be membership applications at this week’s meeting, or if you’d like to fill one out ahead of time, click here to download the application.

The membership dues are $5/year for students, $10/year for individuals, $15/year for families, and $25/year for businesses. Make checks payable to “Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society.”

Hessler Log Cabin at Lighthouse Park on the Old Mission Peninsula
Hessler Log Cabin at Lighthouse Park on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

The OMP Historical Society spearheads a number of projects and events each year, and has been instrumental in restoring many historical sites on the OMP. Their accomplishments include:

  • Organizing “Log Cabin Day” each year, which attracts hundreds of people to tour Mission Point Lighthouse, the Hessler Log Home and the Dougherty Home. The event also includes historical music, crafts, games, storytelling and more. Check out some photos from this year’s Log Cabin Day here.
  • Restoring and maintaining the historic Hessler Log Home at Lighthouse Park, Mission Point Lighthouse, and the Replica Log Church in Old Mission.
  • Working with the Peter Dougherty Society to help restore and maintain the Dougherty House and Museum in Old Mission. See photos from this year’s dedication celebration here. Docents began giving tours this summer, and continue throughout the fall on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Organizing excellent monthly historic presentations at the OMP Historical Society meetings (see upcoming programs below).
  • Planting some 640 trees on the OMP for aesthetic, environmental, memorial and historic reasons.
  • Creating an audio tour of historic sites on the OMP.
  • Building and placing memorial benches.
  • Maintaining a website and Facebook page.

Upcoming Programs

Upcoming programs at OMP Historical Society meetings include:

November 7: “Peninsula Calling” – Interviews with Vi Solomonson and daughter Mary Jo Lance, Peninsula Telephone Company – Tim Boursaw and Mary Jo Lance, presenters

December 5, 5:30 p.m.: Holiday Potluck and Music, American Legion Hall, Old Mission

January 3, 2020: “Michigan Shipwrecks, Near and Far” – Diver Chris Roxburgh, presenter

February 6, 2020: “History of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy” – Rear Admiral Jerry Achenbach, Superintendent, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, presenter

All programs, except for potlucks, are held at the Peninsula Township Hall.

Whether your family has been on the OMP for generations or you just moved here, the OMP Historical Society is a great way to meet your neighbors, make new friends, and learn more about our amazing homeland. For more information, visit the OMP Historical Society website here.

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

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