Written by Bill Cole (and The Peter Dougherty Society Board)
The Dougherty “Mission House,” located at 18459 Mission Road on the Old Mission Peninsula, is a valuable historical treasure. Built-in 1842 by the Reverend Peter Dougherty, it is the oldest home and the first western European permanent settlement and mission in the greater Grand Traverse Region.
The house was the focus of religious observances, schooling, farming, trading, and medical care for the Native Americans in the area. In 1862, Solon Rushmore bought the home which was used by the Rushmore family; first as a farm, later a resort and then a summer residence for family members until 1960 when it was sold to Virginia Larson who never lived in the home. Late in 2004, the home and surrounding 16 acres became available for purchase from the Larson estate. Funds were raised to purchase the home, surrounding acres, and all historical artifacts in the home. On July 21, 2006, the Dougherty “Mission House” was purchased and assigned to Peninsula Township but to be administered by the Peter Dougherty Society.
The home is to become a historical, educational, and cultural center as well as a functional museum on Old Mission Peninsula. There are many reasons to visit the home as it stands today since restoration has taken place on the outbuildings, surrounding property, and the exterior of the house. The icehouse contains objects and pictures of early 20th-century ice harvesting, while the summer kitchen/carriage shed includes artifacts from the home’s past. The walking trail is a delight and is handicap accessible. You can even visit the 3-hole privy!
You can also visit the Dougherty “Mission House” on Log Cabin Day in June. If you click here, you can see photos from past events.
“The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places with State-level significance.”
The current Directors of the Peter Dougherty Society are:
Chris Rieser, President
For more information, visit http://www.oldmissionhouse.com.