History Comes Alive at DeYoung Natural Area

The Campbell-DeYoung Farmstead, with its two old barns, a variety of outbuildings,  and Victorian home, is an iconic landmark that signals to the traveler that they have left Traverse City behind and have entered the rural Leelanau Peninsula. This large farmstead, with acreage on Cedar Lake and Cherry Bend Road, was acquired by the Leelanau in 2008 from Louis DeYoung. This parcel was an unusual acquisition for the Conservancy as it included several buildings built from 1870 to 1940. These building were jammed full of furniture, equipment, and family documents relating to the Campbell and DeYoung families.  So, the Conservancy turned to Eastern Michigan University’s nationally-recognized Graduate Program in Historic Preservation to assist in documenting and preserving these buildings and their contents. This five-year partnership has taken EMU and the Leelanau Conservancy on quite a journey.  We have learned how ordinary farmers were extraordinarily innovative as they eked out a living on the Leelanau Peninsula. As you explore these pages, we hope you will see, in some ways, how history on the Peninsula can come alive in the story of a single farmstead.