Built in the 1880s and remodeled in the 1920s as a summer retreat for Chicago lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife Genevive, Bowers Harbor Inn sits peacefully along West Grand Traverse Bay amidst the majestic oaks and pines of Old Mission Peninsula. This well-loved historic structure has been a treasured part of the Old Mission Peninsula landscape for generations.
After years as one of the Midwest’s most respected fine dining destinations, Bowers Harbor Inn was purchased in 2006 by Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, two natives of Old Mission Peninsula. From the outset, their intention was to protect the Inn, and after years of hard work, the Inn is now preserved in perpetuity! To achieve this, the Carlson and Lobdell Families worked closely with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network to donate the development rights on the property, and placed a conservation easement that protects the historic, scenic and shoreline characteristics of the property.
Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold commented on the landowners’ decision to protect the Bowers Harbor Inn property: “I think we owe the Carlson and Lobdell families a lot of gratitude for their efforts to preserve this important historic landmark, not only for the residents of Peninsula Township, but for the residents of the region.”
Nancy Finegood, Executive Director of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, reflected on the significance of the Bowers Harbor Inn site: “The buildings are very important to the historic integrity of the whole peninsula. It’s very unique because of all of the original farmsteads, its charm, its history, and the water. It’s a wonderful resource within the State. We are losing so many historically significant properties and it’s important that we protect what we have.”
Since taking over stewardship of the Inn in 2006, Carlson and Lobdell have renovated and retooled every aspect of the property:
- Northern United Brewing Company now calls The Bowers Harbor Inn property its home. The new microbrewery and distillery are housed behind the historic Inn.
- The former Bowery restaurant was completely renovated to become The Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Microbrewery & Distillery
- The new Peninsula Room event facility was constructed as the perfect location for weddings and all private events
- Saving the best for last, the former Bowers Harbor Inn Restaurant was remodeled and is now home to Mission Table Restaurant & Tasting Room