Kroupa Family History in Old Mission Peninsula

Leopold & Petronella Kroupa along with their sons Charles, Ferdinand, Ludwig & John arrived from what is now the Czech Republic (formerly Bohemia) in 1852 with little except $16,000 worth of gold bullion.

They endured many hardships making their way to Chicago, IL and then up the Old Indian Trail to Traverse City, MI and then on to Bowers Harbor, MI on the Old Mission Peninsula. When they arrived in the area, forestry was flourishing and the now cleared land was available for farming. They first grew potatoes but then Peter Dougherty of the Presbyterian Foreign Missionary proved to the settlers that the peninsula provided the perfect soil and climate to grow cherry trees. All four of the sons became cherry growers in the area and today, descendants of at least three of the sons are still growers. Furthermore, there are a number of 5th generation Kroupa growers and a few 6th generation growers with the promise of a 7th generation.

If you take a drive on Kroupa Road, located on the Old Mission Peninsula, where the first settlers planted their orchards, you will find over two miles of orchards and vineyards still in the Kroupa family.

Additionally, Vernon “Buff” Kroupa, a descendant of John Kroupa, is known as the father of the Brine Sweet Cherry Industry in Michigan, which he began soon after returning from WWII. He owned the largest independent brine operation in the world and is remembered for providing innovation and leadership in the early years of the Cherry Industry in Michigan.