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Peninsula Township, Michigan
—  Township  —
Peninsula Township, Michigan is located in Michigan
Peninsula Township, Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 44°52′41″N 85°31′53″W / 44.87806°N 85.53139°W / 44.87806; -85.53139
Country United States
State Michigan
County Grand Traverse
 - Total 31.8 sq mi (82.5 km2)
 - Land 27.9 sq mi (72.2 km2)
 - Water 4.0 sq mi (10.3 km2)
Elevation 594 ft (181 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 5,265
 - Density 189.0/sq mi (73.0/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
FIPS code 26-63340[1]
GNIS feature ID 1626889[2]
View from Old Mission Peninsula of 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 2000 census, the township population was 5,265. 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 fine Michigan wine. The Grand Traverse region has two of Michigan's four federally-recognized wine growing areas




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) of it is land and 4.0 square miles (10.3 km²) of it (12.50%) 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 26 places in the U.S.A. where such signs are known to exist.[8]
  • M-37.svg M-37 is the central 17.25 miles (27.76 km) long road on the peninsula, and terminates at Old Mission Point.[9] It was designated a Scenic Heritage Route in June, 2007.[10] The M-37 Scenic Heritage Route proposal is itself a unique resource concerning the character of the peninsula, and the activities along this byway.[11]


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/sq mi (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 beautiful scenery, good road, and lack of traffic.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • There are many recurrent and special events. A calendar is available.[14]

Further reading


External links



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