Peninsula Fire Department, Circa 1945; this photo was taken at the “fire barn,” located on Center Road, just north of the current fire hall in Mapleton. Pictured, standing left to right: Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie | Photo Courtesy of the book
Peninsula Fire Department, Circa 1945; this photo was taken at the “fire barn,” located on Center Road, just north of the current fire hall in Mapleton. Pictured, standing left to right: Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie | Photo Courtesy of the book "A Century of Service"

The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society has accomplished a lot this year – even though we’re in the midst of that global pandemic known as Covid-19. That seems to be the qualifier on so many stories here on Old Mission Gazette. Oh, how that little word with the number attached to it has changed all our lives.

But, even though iconic OMP historical structures like the Dougherty House and Log Church were closed due to the pandemic and the annual Log Cabin Day fundraiser was canceled, a lot of things were still happening behind the scenes. Here’s a partial list of some of the Historical Society’s accomplishments this year.

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Preserving the History of the Old Mission Peninsula

• Log Church in the Village of Old Mission: Phase one of the interior renovation has been completed. This included removing the drawings from the walls and then cataloging, measuring, photographing and archiving them. The large middle display was also removed. Craig Hadley, Director of the Dennos Museum in town at Northwestern Michigan College, provided excellent guidance.

• Mission Point Lighthouse: The four-year shutter project, with funds received from the former Friends of Mission Point Lighthouse group, has been completed – and it is beautiful. The Historical Society helped with the research, design of the shutters and state historical approval, as well as guidance on the installation of the shutters and back entrance. And just in time for the Lighthouse’s 150th birthday, too. Read more about the project and presentation of the check here.

• OMP History Presentations: The Historical Society hosted nine presentations at their monthly meetings, with the more recent presentations hosted virtually via Zoom. Like other local groups, they quickly figured out the Zoom program and evolved to virtual meetings.

Programs included a wide array of topics, including “Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes” with local diver Chris Roxburgh (who has a gorgeous new book out with photos of his dives – follow him on Facebook here), “History of the Old Mission Inn” with owner Angie Jensen, “History of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy” with Rear Admiral Jerry Achenbach, a presentation by Tom Dalluge on “Victor Clarence Vaughan,” a well-known epidemiologist and Dean of the University of Michigan Hospital who spent summers at the Leffingwell Forest Preserve (Old Mission Resort), “History of Land Protection Efforts on the Old Mission Peninsula” with Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, and many more. Coming up is a “History of First Responders on the Old Mission Peninsula.”

Diver Chris Roxburgh presents a program on Great Lakes Shipwrecks at Peninsula Community Library on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
January 2020: Diver Chris Roxburgh presents a program on Great Lakes Shipwrecks at Peninsula Community Library on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

• Historic Tree Canopy Restoration: The Historical Society has a long history of planting trees around the Old Mission Peninsula, and this year, they planted 21 trees, bringing the total to 653 trees planted.

Tree Planters on Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Brian Brooks Photo
Tree Planters on Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula | Brian Brooks Photo

How You Can Help

How can you help preserve and protect our heritage on the Old Mission Peninsula? From the Historical Society:

The Old Mission Peninsula has a history of supporting and honoring persons who assist and aid the vulnerable in our midst. In 1870, the Mission Point Lighthouse was first lit, keeping the bay safe for mariners. Indeed, the initial lighthouse keepers, Jerome Pratt, John McHarry, John and Sarah Lane were among the early first responders of our community.

As a continuation of this helping heritage, the Board of the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society is asking all of our members, friends and community to give a gift to sponsor our 2021 programming, in appreciation for all the first responders and medical workers that live and work on Old Mission.

Your contributions large and small will help us further our work and plan for an even more vital and forward-thinking organization. Next year we will present the program “The History of First Responders of Old Mission Peninsula”.

Below is a photo of some of our early first responders, the Peninsula Fire Department, circa 1945, taken at the “fire barn,” located on Center Road, just north of the current fire hall in Mapleton. Pictured, standing left to right, are Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie.

Read more about the history of the Peninsula Fire Department here, and buy a copy of this photo in the “OMP History” section of our online store here.

Peninsula Fire Department, Circa 1945; this photo was taken at the “fire barn,” located on Center Road, just north of the current fire hall in Mapleton. Pictured, standing left to right: Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie | Photo Courtesy of the book "A Century of Service"
Peninsula Fire Department, Circa 1945; this photo was taken at the “fire barn,” located on Center Road, just north of the current fire hall in Mapleton. Pictured, standing left to right: Harry Heller, Arnold White, Roy Hooper, Claude Watson, Stanley Wood and Ray Heller. Seated in the truck are John Lardie (wearing helmet) and Ike (Isadore) Lardie | Photo Courtesy of the book “A Century of Service”

In this season of giving, if you would like to help support the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society, feel free to send contributions to OMPHS, P.O. Box 115, Old Mission, Michigan 49673. You may also click here to donate via a secure link for credit card and PayPal donations.

Another way to support the group is to purchase the lovely wooden ornaments available at Peninsula Market, which are being sold as a fundraiser for the Historical Society. Read more about the ornaments here.

Wooden Ornaments from the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society | Jane Boursaw Photo
Wooden Ornaments from the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society; left to right, Mission Church, Hessler Log Home, Mission Point Lighthouse and Dougherty House | Jane Boursaw Photo

The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society so appreciates your support, and they look forward to a robust and energetic year of new opportunities as they further their mission to promote the historical heritage of our great community.

Celebrating Members Past and Present

During the December meeting of the Historical Society, members Kennard and Judy Weaver shared a lovely video they made celebrating the group’s people, past and present. Check it out here through Jan. 3, 2021.

Also this year, the group lost Bill Cole, who championed the Dougherty House renovation with fierce devotion. Click through the link below to read more about Bill and his many contributions to preserving the history of the Old Mission Peninsula.

Also Read…

We Need Your Support!

Old Mission Gazette is a reader-supported newspaper, and we need your ongoing support to keep delivering OMP news, history, photos, events and more. Owners Tim and Jane Boursaw are devoted to the Old Mission Peninsula community, and every contribution, big or small, is valuable. Click HERE to support Old Mission Gazette. Thank you!


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