Omena Past and Present
The recorded history of Omena begins in 1850 when both Native American tribes and missionaries came to settle along the bay. An early map - hand drawn in 1851 by a land surveyor - shows a grid of 360 acre sections and the streams and springs that wound through the heavily forested lands. It was the decade when Chief Ahgosa and Chief Shabwasung would lead their tribes to the area that today makes up the Omena communiy. It was also the era when the Rev. Peter Dougherty, who earlier established a mission on what is known today as the Old Mission Peninsula, relocated to the New Mission, which we now know as Omena.
That mission period ended in the 1870s. A stage line began operating between Traverse City and Northport, making it easier to access the area and a small grocery store was established. By the 1880s the Anderson's had opened their store and the first hotel - Hotel Leelanau opened in the renovated Mission School building. The business community continued to grow as did the resort community, enhanced in the 1890s by the arrival of steamships coming into Omena Bay.
Early businesses included farms, grocery stores, the Anderson Ice Cream Parlor which operated in today's Post Office, resorts, blacksmiths, fishermen and more.
And while much has changed since the 1850s one thing remains the same. People come to Omena and fall in love with the area because of the charm it has maintained from bygone eras.
To learn more about how you can help us preserve the charm of Omena please visit our Contribute page.