Small Point's Beginning: The Sheley Family House
"A brave defender of the cause of temperance as he was courageous in advocating the cause of right and justice as he comprehended the same, he was distinctively the sort of man who builds up cities, gives force to public enterprises, and makes the world purer and better because he has lived in it. His life was fragrant with good deeds, and the inspiration of a good example ennobles his memory." --"Cycopedia of Michigan, Historical and Biographical, Comprising a Synopsis of General History of The State, and Biographical Sketches of Men," by The Western Publishing and Engraving Company, 1900
Alanson Sheley, born August 14, 1809, is considered an industrial leader in the early history of Michigan. An entirely self-made man, he worked his was up through the ranks of construction and lumber companies of early Michigan until he became the General Manager of the Black River Steam Mill and Lumber Company. When the company's charter expired in 1855, Sheley continued his business aspirations, becoming a partner in Jacob S. Farrand & Co, where he remained until his death. During the course of his life, Sheley invested in many Michigan institutions. He was a director of First National Bank of Detroit, a stockholder in the Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Detroit Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and the Detroit and Cleveland Steam Navigation Company. In addition to his stock investments, Sheley held large tracts of real estate in Detroit and Port Huron, and served as a state senator for Michigan's 1st district for two years.
Cedar Point and Small Point Cottage
In the late 1800's, Alanson Sheley built two summer homes for his family on Mackinac Island. Sheley chose a large plot of land that encompassed the area from where Small Point now stands to the far edge of Mission Point Resort. Cedar Point stood northwest of what is now the main pavilion of Mission Point, whereas Small Point stood where the soundstage stands.
When Sheley died, his grandsons flipped a coin to see who would win Cedar Point Cottage, the slightly larger house of the two. After winning a 'best of five,' Cedar Point Cottage went to the Brooks family. Small Point, which at that time had no name, went to the Clark family. The Clark family sold the cottage to the Faren family, and it became known as Faren Cottage.
During the late 1950's the Moral Re-Armament established its summer world headquarters on the island. Construction began on the project, and in the process Cedar Point Cottage was demolished. Faren Cottage was saved from the wrecking ball by Reverend Schwab, who asked that the cottage be moved for his personal use to its current location. As Reverend Schwab looked out over the straits he was reminded of his home in Small Point, Maine, and re-named the cottage.