After a year off due to Covid-19 restrictions, the historic Dougherty House in the village of Old Mission is now open for tours again. The Dougherty team has been busy sprucing the place up, and as of yesterday, started giving tours again.
The house is open today from 1-4:30 p.m., but will be closed tomorrow on July 4. Regular tours through September will be Friday-Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m.
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About the Tours
Visitors will be met by a greeter on the Dougherty House front porch. From there, a docent will usher them back to a bygone era, where they will tour the House, summer kitchen, carriage shed, ice house, and unique outhouse. Group tours may be arranged no later than two days in advance by emailing [email protected].
During off-hours, visitors may peek in the windows, view the demonstration gardens and walk the trails. The grounds, including walking trails, remain open all year.
About the Dougherty House
The Dougherty House was built in 1842 by Reverend Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian minister, with the help of a Chippewa village headed by Chief Aghosa. The Mission was supported by the United States pursuant to the Treaty of 1836. By that Treaty, the Native Americans ceded 14 million acres of land to the U.S. Michigan Territory, qualifying Michigan to become a State.
The Native Americans requested the Mission be part of the Treaty, and the Mission taught religion, English, carpentry, and blacksmithing, to help them assimilate with the European culture which assumed control of the area. The United States made the payments to the Native Americans in installments over many years, with the final payment being made in the late 1900s.
Raising Funds and Restoring the House
Beginning in 2004, a group of Old Mission Peninsula residents collaborated with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and Peninsula Township to raise more than $575,000. Even more funds were raised to restore the house and acquire the home and property. In July, 2006, the home and property were deeded to Peninsula Township. It became a part of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, placing the home and property in conservancy.
In 2006, the Peter Dougherty Society was organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to restore, maintain, and display the home and grounds. The Home and land were placed on the National Register of Historic Places with State significance in 2011, conserving it for future generations.
After extensive restoration, the house now serves as a culture, historical, educational and community center, as well as a museum for all visitors. The grounds include the Heritage Trail and Disabled Trail, as well as gardens which reflect farming in the late 19th Century. The interior has been furnished with artifacts and furniture appropriate to the period from 1842 to 1910.
Below are a few photos of the Dougherty team cleaning the house up a couple weeks ago. I’m working on a story about the quilt, which features the names of many Old Mission Peninsula families going back generations.