Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, Mackinaw City

4.5
#4 of 6 in Historic Sites in Cheboygan County
Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, formerly known as Historic Mill Creek State Park is a state park, nature preserve, and historic site in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is run by Mackinac State Historic Parks, the operating arm of the Mackinac Island State Park. 625 acres (2.5 kmĀ²) in size, the park is located 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Mackinaw City, Michigan on U.S. Highway 23.HistoryThe original sawmill at Mill Creek operated from about 1790 until 1839. It was originally built by Robert Campbell to supply lumber to the Straits of Mackinac, especially the frontier settlement of Mackinac Island. In 1793 it contracted with Fort Mackinac to make repairs on the soldiers' barracks. The Mill Creek sawmill enjoyed a dominant market share of the supply of cut timbers in the Straits of Mackinac during the fur trade era, and a millwright's house was built about 1820 near the sawmill to provide a place for the mill operator to live. In 1819, Michael Dousman purchased the mill site and continued to operate it. However, global demand for beaver fur declined in the 1830s, and following Dousman's death in 1839 the sawmill and millwright's house were abandoned.After the sawmill's abandonment in 1839, the original sawmill complex buildings rotted and disappeared. However, timbers cut by the original mill survived in buildings on Mackinac Island (Mission Church and Mission House, built in the 1820s and still there today). Saw marks on these timbers could be used to reconstruct the mill machinery so as to closely resemble the original. The marks gave restoration experts information on the rake of the saw's teeth and the saw's operating speed. The wood is fed into the blade at 1/3 of an inch per stroke, and the infeed motion is powered by the pitman arm that powers the saw's vertical movement.
See Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park and all Mackinaw City has to offer by arranging your trip with our Mackinaw City trip planning site .
Source
Create an itinerary including Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park
map
Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
300 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • October 2, 2017
    Very educational place. Very friendly people that works there. Great place to take the kids. They have a zip line there that is really good. They help you get on and off of it.  more »
  • September 7, 2017
    Our friends took us here and we were all pleasantly surprised. What an absolutely great park!! We took the tour which included a nature hike, a walk across a wilderness bridge, and zip lining. Our tou...  more »
  • September 6, 2017
    We were pleasantly surprised by this Discovery Park. The historic operational water powered sawmill tour by a very knowledgeable guide was educational, interesting and informative. They also have hist...  more »
Google
  • June 30, 2017
    Great experience!! Great history, beautifully presented. Best site around Mackinac to visit. We didn't even get to experience the zip line or bridge (weather) but still well worth it!
  • January 6, 2017
    I really enjoyed this more than I thought. Pristine and well groomed trails, nice overviews. The Saw-Mill demonstration was incredible. You get to what an in-character lumber jack demonstrate old-time wood cutting methods and the operation of the rebuild mill as a contrast between how lumber was cut without a mill. Plus you get to learn about the history of the area. I thought the Zip-line and Rock Climbing add-on tickets were a little pricey, but the kids loved (hey they're no paying for it) and I'd do it again
  • June 21, 2017
    Very cool place, variety for kids and adults. I enjoyed the water driven sawmill demonstration and my daughter enjoyed the zip lines and rock climbing wall.
  • May 6, 2017
    Very cool historical place. The working saw mill was really interesting.
  • November 22, 2016
    The water powered lumber mill is really quite cool. The park offers a bit of history, a few lessons in engineering, a zip line, and hiking opportunities. Our family has considered it time well spent in all phases of growing up (except the early teenage years - they hate everything).

Plan your trip to Mackinaw City

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Mackinaw City

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Mackinaw City by other users

3 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: December, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM CANADA October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 3 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 32 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, historic sites, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: December, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 4 days in Mackinac Island & Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, relaxing, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans