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Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, Mackinaw City

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 260+ reviews on the web
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.
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  • We was vacationing and came a crossed this interesting park. The tickets are $9.00 a person and that gets you in and you can walk around and see the park. We watched the demonstration put on by Mr. Ed...  read more »
  • We were in Mackinaw City for just 1 day and were looking for things to do. We took a taxi out to Mill Creek Discovery Park and unfortunately we just had 1 hour there before they closed. They offered u...  read more »
  • This was a very neat place to visit. Wife has always wanted to zipline and that was the main reason we came. I would suggest a few improvements though. We were never told that this was a GUIDED tour w...  read more »
  • I have been here at least 3 times. I think it is educational and I love seeing the water-powered sawmill. Well worth a stop if you are in the area.
  • Every Time my family and I go up north we stop here and go zip lining and watch the mill. Love this place. Nice staff, clean park.
  • Great history, great tour guides, beautiful scenery
  • Good for kids and adults, educational but yet fun enough to keep kids attention
  • Amazing! Staff real knows the history of the mill. Super fun.
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