Peninsula Township, Michigan

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Peninsula Township, Michigan
Mission Point Light at Old Mission Point
Mission Point Light at Old Mission Point
Location within Grand Traverse County
Location within Grand Traverse County
Peninsular Township is located in Michigan
Peninsular Township
Peninsular Township
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 44°52′41″N 85°31′53″W / 44.87806°N 85.53139°W / 44.87806; -85.53139Coordinates: 44°52′41″N 85°31′53″W / 44.87806°N 85.53139°W / 44.87806; -85.53139
CountryUnited States
CountyGrand Traverse
 • Total31.8 sq mi (82.5 km2)
 • Land27.9 sq mi (72.2 km2)
 • Water4.0 sq mi (10.3 km2)
594 ft (181 m)
 • Total5,433
 • Density189.0/sq mi (73.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
49673, 49686
Area code(s)231
FIPS code26-63340[1]
GNIS feature ID1626889[2]
View from Chateau Chantal Winery overlooking Marion Island in the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay

Peninsula Township is a civil township of Grand Traverse County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the township population was 5,433, up from 5,265 at the 2000 census. The township is coterminous with the Old Mission Peninsula, which projects into the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. The Old Mission Point Lighthouse is located at the northern end of the peninsula. The peninsula is included in the Old Mission Peninsula AVA, an American Viticultural Area known for its Michigan wine. The Grand Traverse region has two of Michigan's four federally recognized wine growing areas.

Power Island in Grand Traverse Bay is part of Peninsula Township.



A replica of the Old Mission for which the peninsula is named.

The settlement at Old Mission was the first community founded by Europeans in the Grand Traverse Bay region. It was founded in May, 1839 by Rev. Peter Dougherty and Rev. John Fleming. They had spent the winter on Mackinac Island, and founded a Presbyterian mission at the small Old Mission Harbor, which of course did not yet have that name. At the time of their arrival there were a few Native American residents of a nearly abandoned village at the harbor, and the mission had peaceful relations with those and other native residents in the surrounding area.

In June that year Henry Schoolcraft arrived at the mission in a small vessel and helped found a school there. By 1841 there were 5 log buildings as well as several wigwams at the settlement. By 1850 the settlement had grown to a considerable size, and the schooner Arrow was making weekly trips to the mission from Mackinaw City.

A pastoral farm scene located on the peninsula.

In 1852 Rev. Dougherty decided to move his mission across the west bay along the Leelanau Peninsula to an existing Native American village at the site of modern Omena, Michigan, thus establishing a "New Mission." The previous community was therefore already known as the "Old Mission" in the early 1850s. By the time of the civil war, the Presbyterian organization which funded Dougherty had financial difficulty, and missionary activities were discontinued. Dougherty sold his land there in 1868.

The post office at the mission was formally established in 1851 with W. R. Stone as first postmaster. The post office was known at this time as Grand Traverse, being the only official post office in the Grand Traverse Bay region, indeed the only one between Mackinaw City and Croton. By the winter of 1852-3, a community had formed at the head of the bay at the Boardman river, at which a new post office was founded. The U.S. post office in consultation with Mr. A. T. Lay, a founder of Traverse City, decided to rename the post office at Dougherty's settlement to "Old Mission" and named the post office at the Boardman River "Traverse City." The "Grand" had to be dropped, as "Grand Traverse City" was too long a name per post office guidelines.[5]


Old Mission Peninsula.
  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 31.8 square miles (82.5 km²), of which 27.9 square miles (72.2 km²) is land and 4.0 square miles (10.3 km²) (13%) is water.
  • The Mission Point Light stands a few hundred yards south of the 45th parallel north, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator.[6] There is a sign that denotes its location on the parallel,[7] and it is one of 29 places in the U.S.A. where such signs are known to exist.[8]
  • M-37 is the central 17.25-mile-long (27.76 km) road on the peninsula, (known as Center Road) and terminates at Old Mission Point. It was designated what is now known as a Pure Michigan Byway Scenic Route in June 2007.[9] The M-37 Scenic Heritage Route proposal is itself a unique resource concerning the character of the peninsula, and the activities along this byway.[10]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 5,265 people, 2,131 households, and 1,625 families residing in the township. The population density was 189.0 per square mile (73.0/km²). There were 2,613 housing units at an average density of 93.8 per square mile (36.2/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 97.28% White, 0.06% African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.97% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.01% of the population.

There were 2,131 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.4% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the township the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 19.3% from 25 to 44, 33.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.9 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $66,019, and the median income for a family was $82,426. Males had a median income of $52,750 versus $34,620 for females. The per capita income for the township was $40,753. About 1.1% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.3% of those under age 18 and 2.3% of those age 65 or over.


  • The "Old Mission Peninsula Cruise" is considered to be a "serendipitous" adventure for road bike riders. It is favored by local riders, including bicycle clubs, because of the scenery, the quality of the road, and lack of traffic.[11]
  • The peninsula is a great place to sea kayak. The bay offers a shelter from the prevailing westerly winds and from the Lake Michigan waves. One can get close to shore, the lighthouse, picnic grounds and parks. Maps, rentals and guided tours are available.[12]
  • There are many recurrent and special events. A calendar is available.[13]



There are ten wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula. The Old Mission Peninsula sits close to the 45th parallel, a latitude known for growing prestigious grapes.[citation needed] The two Grand Traverse Bays provide the ideal maritime climate and the rich soil does the rest.[tone][citation needed] Northern Michigan specializes in growing white grapes and is known for its Rieslings which grow well in the summer months and late fall which Traverse City is known for.[citation needed] Every October the wineries host a harvest fest. Some Riesling grapes are spared being picked in the fall to be picked when they freeze, from which Ice Wine is made. The wineries along the Old Mission Peninsula are 2 Lads Winery, Black Star Farms, Bonobo Winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, Chateau Chantal Winery And Inn, Chateau Grand Traverse, Hawthorne Vineyards, Mari Vineyards, and Peninsula Cellars.[14][15]

Spirits and breweries[edit]

The peninsula's only distillery, Civilized Spirits, occupies a site which has been used for distilling since the late 1800s - when it was built by lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife Genevive.[citation needed] Civilized Spirits products include: White Dog Whiskey, Whiskey, Rum, Gin, Single Malt Whiskey, and vodka - including a vodka distilled from cherries.[16]

The Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery is situated among the cherry orchards and lakes of northern Michigan. It serves pizzas, sandwiches, entrees, wine and beer.[17] Old Mission Beer Co. products are brewed by Mike Hall and Mike Wooster on Old Mission Peninsula.[citation needed] These beers are available in Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery.[18]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Peninsula Township, Michigan
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mapleton, Michigan
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Old Mission, Michigan
  5. ^ Wait, Steven Edwin and Anderson, William S. Old settlers: a historical and chronological record, together with personal experiences and reminiscences of members of the Old settlers of the Grand Traverse region. Traverse City, Michigan: [Ebner brothers], 1918. pp. 13-18.
  6. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of the United States: Michigan's Western Lower Peninsula". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  7. ^ "45th Parallel – Old Mission Point".
  8. ^ "45th Parallel North America".
  9. ^ Skinner, Victor (March 7, 2008). "M-37 on Old Mission Designated Scenic Route". Traverse City Record-Eagle. OCLC 30098364. Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  10. ^ M-37 Scenic Heritage Route management plan.
  11. ^, Old Mission Peninsula Cruise.
  12. ^ Sea kayaking
  13. ^ "Old Mission Peninsula –".
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Civilized Spirits".
  17. ^ "Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales".
  18. ^ "Old Mission Beer".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]