It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Old Mission Mystery, and I’m hoping you’ll be able to shed some light on this one.
Tom Sheffer sent me some photos taken in 1946 of him and his mother, Virginia (Valleau) Sheffer, on the Old Mission Peninsula. Tom’s dad was Francis “Butch” Sheffer, who grew up on a farm in Cedar, worked as a mechanic at Waddell Buick in Traverse City, and later drove a truck for Dixon Distributing Company before buying his own farm in retirement, using a team of horses to farm.
Old Mission Gazette is Reader Supported.
Click Here to Keep the Gazette Going.
Virginia was a loving wife, mom and grandma who worked at Munson Medical Center. Together they shepherded seven kids into the world.
Below are the two photos Tom sent me. In one, he’s standing in front of a rock wall, and there’s an opening in the wall at ground level where his mother cooked hot dogs for them. He believes there were four or five cooking areas in the wall.
In the second photo, Virginia is holding Tom, and you can see a stone chimney in the middle of the cooking area.
My first thought is that it looks like the war memorial out by Mission Point Lighthouse. But I believe the war memorial was built after 1946 (my mom’s photos through this link were taken in 1951). Tell us in the comments below if you know when it was built.
Also, I don’t think there were ever cooking areas in the war memorial, so we’ll rule that out as a possible location for Tom’s photos.
However, I do recall that my family often had picnics out at the lighthouse, especially when my mom’s family came up from Virginia. But I don’t remember there being a stone wall with cooking areas. Then again, the stones in Tom’s photos are very similar to the ones in the war memorial, so maybe when they built the war memorial, they built some cooking areas, too. Just throwing some ideas out there.
Any ideas on whether Tom’s picnic photos were taken at the lighthouse, or perhaps some other location on the OMP? Leave thoughts in the comments section below.
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