Here’s a roundup of recent news and photos around the Old Mission Peninsula…
New Sign on Old Mission Road. There’s a new sign on Old Mission Road, directing folks to the historic Dougherty House and replica log church just past the Old Mission General Store. The sign is located just before you turn left onto Mission Road. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the language on the sign is Anishinaabemowin, also called Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe/Ojibwa language, or Chippewa.
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(Side Note: Directly across from the sign on the other side of the road, is where my VW Bug landed as I tried turning the corner to go home during the blizzard of 1978. It was all one road at the time – no stop sign or intersection – so the curve was a bit steep there, thus me landing in the ditch. After the storm, my brothers and a few Old Mission-ites came to the rescue – digging my car out and lifting it back onto the road.)
OMPS Anniversary. This week marks the fourth anniversary of Old Mission Peninsula School becoming a charter school. You might remember that the school was saved by a dedicated group of people after the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) system marked it for closure. Here’s a picture of volunteer Wendy Warren helping a student into the school on a very rainy first day of class – Sept. 4, 2018.
School Plaques. And speaking of OMPS, the school recently honored four OMPers who were instrumental in supporting the school and its programs. From their Facebook Page on June 24, 2022:
“After the School Board meeting this AM the School Board, Administrators, and OMPEF members placed plaques in our memorial garden in the front of school. We honored a beloved Teacher, Erin Banton, Reading Dog Handler and School Supporter Lee Gardner, School Supporters Sara Taft and Sandy Avis with plaques. Thank you for your support in our school! We would not be who we are without those who love, nuture and support our community school!”
Three OMP Locales Chosen for Paint Grand Traverse 2022. Three spots on the OMP are part of this year’s annual event: The Dougherty House, Chateau Chantal and Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery. The event will take place from August 14 – 20, and there will be artists at the Dougherty House on the morning of August 17. The house will be open for tours that morning – if you’d like to become a docent, email Connie Sargent, [email protected]. As always, the paintings will be available for sale after the event through the Crooked Tree Arts Center on Sixth Street in Traverse City. They will have a gala at the end of the week where paintings are unveiled and available to attendees first. For more info, visit the Paint Grand Traverse website here.
Bear Sighting! Remember when Brad Wheat spotted that bear near his shop on Gray Road a couple of years ago? Well, I don’t know if this is that same bear, but one was spotted on Center Road across from Old Mission Tavern last Sunday, June 26. And shortly after Brad sent me that photo in 2020, Tim and I were convinced we saw a bear on the north end of Peninsula Drive near Swaney Road, but it was too far away for me to get a good pic.
I wonder if all these sightings are the same bear or different bears… any thoughts? Here’s a pic of the one Brad sent me in 2020…
Old Mission Inn for Sale. Yes, you read that right! Bruce and Angie Jensen are selling the historic inn for $4 million. The inn sits on 10 acres of land with beautiful views of Old Mission Harbor and 500 feet of public beach across the road. The inn includes 13 rooms, 11 baths, multiple dining rooms/bar area, a massive covered porch, a large commercial kitchen, and a full service liquor license.
Built in 1869, the inn is the oldest continually operating hotel in Michigan and has had only four owners – the original owners and builders, George and Betsy Hedden (it was named Hedden Hall at the time); Alfred and Ella Porter, who bought the inn in 1902 and named it The Porter House; Norman and Doris Nevinger, who purchased the hotel in 1945 and named it the Old Mission Inn; and the current owners, Bruce and Angie Jensen.
Check out the listing here. Below is a historic photo, date unknown, and a more recent photo with their cute Halloween decorations out front.
Ice Cream With a First Responder. On July 23, 5 – 7 p.m., head over to Buchan’s Blueberry Hill, 1472 Nelson Road, for home-made ice cream with the crew of the Peninsula Township Fire Department and OMP deputies. Check out the vehicles and equipment, and pick up some cool stuff for the kids.
And speaking of First Responders, here’s a photo I took recently of our two deputies that cover the Old Mission Peninsula – Sean Mugerian and Virnell France. Trust me when I say they are out watching for speeders! And you never know where they’ll be located. Like perhaps just north of the Old Mission Tavern. On a Sunday morning when you might be headed to the Old Mission Post Office to check your mail. 🙂
4th of July Celebration in Old Mission. Help celebrate an American Holiday with a Patriotic Walk Around the Block in the village of Old Mission. Everyone is invited to either take part or cheer on the participants. Line up on Grand Street on Monday, July 4, at 11:45 a.m.; the route will go from Grand Street to Traverse Street to Swaney Road to Bay Street to Woodland Avenue and back to Traverse Street, ending at the Legion Hall. (Note: If it’s pouring down rain, the event will be canceled.)
There will be a short ceremony following the walk, with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Dan Dyer, former commander of the Old Mission Legion post. Refreshments will include cookies and lemonade. Participants are welcome to play patriotic music and decorate your ride, bike, self and/or pets. Jerry Ostlund will serve as Grand Marshall, and the Peninsula Township Fire Department and Deputies will also be represented.
Update 7/5/2022: Check out photos from this year’s Walk here.
Gerry Swaney Celebration of Life. There will be a celebration of life for Gerry Swaney, who passed away on Dec. 12, 2021, and whose family goes back many generations on the Old Mission Peninsula. The event will take place on his birthday, Sunday, July 3, at Bowers Harbor Park, Pavilion #1 (the one closest to the road). Join the family any time between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. to share memories and a picnic lunch.
Here’s a picture of Gerry and his wife, Ann, at the Mission Point Lighthouse Wine Label Reception at Bowers Harbor Vineyards in 2019.
Happy Independence Day Weekend! I’ll leave you with these photos of some beautiful flags along Center Road, just north of the East Bay Boat Launch. A very happy Independence Day Weekend to all of you.
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 and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, 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 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 OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb