The 1800s Ojibwe Michigan Town That Means “Is That So?”
This Leelanau County town was originally settled in 1852 on the west side of Grand Traverse Bay, in a little inlet now known as Omena Bay.
Reverend Peter Daugherty had moved his Indian mission away from Old Mission to this new area, which he called “New Mission”. In 1858 the community received its first post office, and a few years later (1877), the town – now also a railway stop on the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad - was re-named “Omena P.O.”.
Daugherty built a Presbyterian church which he intended as the hub of town. The church still stands, as you will see in the photo gallery below.
The 1800s village also had a general store, wood dealer, hotel, school, and an essential oil distillery.
Today, the town remains sitting along the bay – a summer resort community with a nice handful of the old storefronts still around.
So what was the town named after? What does “Omena” mean? During Reverend Daugherty's time spent with the local Indians, they would have many conversations. Often, when an Indian told something to Daugherty, he would answer them in their Ojibwe language, “o-me-nah” which translated means “really?” or “is that so?” or “is that true?”...you get the picture.
Omena a nice place to visit, stay, or soak up some Michigan history on a roadtrip. See the photos below!
OMENA, MICHIGAN: 1890s-2000s
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