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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Omena Historic District
Reference Number SG100000534
State MI
County Leelanau
Town Omena
Street Address Generally from jct. of Tatch Rd. & MI 22 through jct. with N. Omena Point Rd. & E. side o MI 22
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 1/17/2017
Areas of Significance Maritime History, Exploration and Settlement, Commerce, Entertainment and Recreation, Religion, Social History, Agriculture
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The village of Omena began with the founding of a Presbyterian mission school nearby for the local Chippewa band under Chief Agosa or Aghosa in 1851 by the Rev. Peter Dougherty. White settlement in the area also began in the 1850s, and a village began to coalesce along the bayside within a few years. The Omena Historic District meets national register criterion A under the contexts of Exploration/Settlement, Religion and Ethnic History/Native American for its associations with the early Chippewa mission school, under Commerce and Maritime History for its development during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a locally important commercial center and water shipping point for cordwood, lumber, and agricultural products, under Agriculture, for the Cherry Basket Farm, which reflects the long history of agriculture in this area, especially the development and continuation of cherries as a locally important crop, and under Social History and Entertainment/Recreation as a resort community. The district retains buildings and other features that reflect this long history, including an 1850s church building that served both the Native American and white communities; a cemetery that, also established in the 1850s, contains the graves of both early whites and Indians; a farm that reflects the long history of agriculture in the area and the continuation of cherry farming throughout the past century; buildings and remnants of docks that served the locale's commercial and maritime interests; and a multi-building complex that reflects the village's importance as a summer resort during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The village retains its historic orientation to Omena Bay, which served as the primary transportation route for its early history. The Omena Historic District also meets national register criterion B under the contexts of Exploration/ Settlement, Religion and Ethnic History/Native American for its direct associations with two persons of importance- the Rev. Peter Dougherty, who served in the Grand Traverse Bay region as a Presbyterian missionary to the Indians beginning in the 1830s, before white settlement began, and founded the Omena mission school in 1851 and ran it for twenty years, and Peter Greensky, a Chippewa who served as a preacher and as Dougherty's interpreter at Omena in the 1851-59 period as part of much longer service from the 1830s to his death in 1864 as a preacher and influential figure among the Chippewa in the area from Grand Traverse Bay to the Straits of Mackinac, parts of it under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Omena Historic District possesses direct historic associations with both Dougherty and Greensky in the Omena church building, built during the period when both men were at Omena, and with Peter Greensky in the Cherry Basket Farm, part of whose property was owned during the 1850s by Greensky.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria