Old Wing Mission

LG Energy Solution recently purchased Old Wing Mission and the surrounding property. Recognized as the oldest house in the Holland area, it is a unique and important piece of local history and we intend to preserve it for its story to continue to be told in Holland.

As a committed community partner, LG Energy Solution is dedicated to honoring the history, culture and significance of Old Wing Mission. We plan to engage with the community to develop a plan that will preserve this historical building for generations to come.

The community is invited to leave a comment at the bottom of this webpage. A study committee is planned in the future to determine the most effective way to preserve the Old Wing Mission.

History of Old Wing Mission


According to *historical records, Old Wing Mission was founded by Joseph Wakazoo (Ogemainini) in 1840 in partnership with George Nelson Smith, a Protestant missionary. The goal of the mission was to bring Protestant Christianity and education to the largely Catholic indigenous tribes in the area. Wakazoo hoped to form a permanent residence for local tribes to begin farming.

At the height of Old Wing Mission’s use, Wakazoo and Smith built a school and church on the property, and many families set up small farming ventures on the purchased land. Both Wakazoo and Smith hoped the Little Traverse Ottawa Indians would permanently settle on the 1,600 acres of land purchased for the mission. While some families attempted this, the tribe had a long history of traveling between the Traverse City Bay and Allegan County, and by the end of the mission’s existence, very few tribal members kept permanent residence at the mission.

In 1846, Dutch immigrants led by Alburtus Van Ralte arrived and began settling in what is now known as Holland. Within eight months of the first settlers arriving, more than 1,500 Dutch immigrants inhabited the area surrounding the Old Wing Mission settlement. As a result of this, in 1848, Wakazoo, Smith, and the remaining Ottawas purchased two miles of shoreline land on the Leelanau Peninsula and relocated to the town now known as Northport.


Mission Moves North

The Ottawa Indians and the Smiths wanted their move to Northport to be permanent. Ottawa Indians held the belief that the spirits of the living and the dead remained linked. Because of this belief, they disinterred their dead from the Old Wing Mission cemetery and moved them to Northport.

Holding the Christian belief that to be absent from the body is to be at home with their Lord, the Smiths left their family graves behind when they emigrated. Old Wing Mission farmer Isaac Fairbanks moved the remains of the Smith children from the Mission to the Pilgrim Home Cemetery in Holland, Michigan, in 1868.

*Citation: McClurken, James M. Ottawas, George Nelson Smith, and the Old Wing Mission. Cambridge Research Consultants, 21 Aug. 2023.

Fast Facts

Peak Population: At the height of Old Wing Mission’s operations, about 300 Little Traverse Ottawa Indians lived on the Old Wing Mission property seasonally.

Head of the Mission: Joseph Wakazoo (Ogemainini)

Dates of Operation: 1840 – 1848

Name Origin: Residents named the mission for Joseph Wakazoo’s uncle, Negwegon (Old Wing), the only Ottawa War Chief who supported the United States during the War of 1812.

Tribes in the Area: The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) and the Nottawaseppi Band of the Potawatomi

Recent Ownership: Old Wing Mission has functioned as a private residence for many decades until it was purchased by LG Energy Solution in October 2023.

Preservation: LG Energy Solution is a committed community partner and intends to honor the history, culture and significance of the Old Wing Mission. In the coming years, we will preserve this historical landmark for generations to come.

Historic Photos of Old Wing Mission

Courtesy of The National Register of Historic Places

Would you like to provide a comment about the preservation of the Old Wing Mission?

LG Energy Solution is a committed community partner and intends to honor the history, culture and significance of the Old Wing Mission. In the coming years, we will preserve this historical building for generations to come.

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