Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, Mackinaw City

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 km²) 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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Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
303 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • My kids and I did the adventure tour and not only our guide was great but the zip line and the mill demo was great! top notch!  more »
  • Very informative. A lot of history. Wonderful live demonstrations. A few trails to hike/walk, a short zip line and a rock wall to climb. Something for all ages!  more »
  • This was a neat place to visit. Altho not alot to do there it was very interesting. It was all about how they used to saw logs and had a log saw mill run off water power. The man who done the demos an...  more »
Google
  • Wonderful park combining adventure, history and nature. Mr. Ed did an absolutely wonderful job explaining the saw mill and kept the kids engaged. Zipline, high rope bridge and climbing tower were perfectly prices and a great value. Kids and parents enjoyed the park very much.
  • 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!
  • Bridge to the zip lining was terrifying (fear of heights) but the tour guide was great and park was very nice. Would go there again..... but never going over that bridge again!🤣
  • 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
  • Great park. History. Hiking. Great views from the tower. The zip lines and climbing tower just add to the overall fun.

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7 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Mackinaw City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Saint Ignace BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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