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Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinaw City

Categories: Lighthouses, History Museums, Museums, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.7/5 based on 400+ reviews on the web
Mackinaw Point marks the junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Founded in 1889, the Old Mackinac Point Light Station was in operation from 1890 until 1957.HistoryPreparationsEven before the advent of European explorers, the Straits of Mackinac were a significant hazard to water borne travelers. Consequently, before lighthouses, the Ojibwa lit the shore with fires.In the early 19th century, with large vessel traffic increasing from Lake Huron into the Straits, the first step in guarding the Straits was taken in 1829, through the construction of Bois Blanc Lighthouse to both guide mariners in making the westerly turn into the Straits, and to warn them of the shoals and shallows surrounding the island.Three years later in 1832, Congress acted on Stephen Pleasonton’s recommendation that a lightship be placed on Waugoshance Shoal as the first attempt to mark the western entrance to the Straits. In 1838, Lieutenant James T. Homans reported that the lightship was wholly inadequate. He recommended a better solution for Waugoshance and also that a light be built on the point to the west of Mackinaw Harbor. Nothing came of Homans' recommendations. In 1854, the new Lighthouse Administration decided (against the recommendation of local residents) to put a light at McGulpin Point, approximately 3mi to the west of Old Point Mackinaw.ConstructionIn 1889, the United States Lighthouse Board realized that Mackinaw Point was a better location. Their first inclination was to put a fog signal there, but when asking Congress for funding, they requested funding for both a fog signal and a first class lighthouse. Congress chose to accept their recommendation, but only voted the funding for a steam-powered fog-signal. The fog signal was built in 1890. The signal proved to be exceptionally necessary for navigation in the often fog-choked Straits of Mackinac; during one exceptionally humid fortnight, the Old Mackinac Point signal personnel reported burning 52 cords of stove wood in order to keep steam up for the foghorn.
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  • Every Keno city wic is a lighthouse. Now it functions as a tourist destination than the lighthouses. The landscape of the sunny days, so pick well, the weather to come. Take a tour inside the exhibition hall is also OK.
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  • This requires an entrance fee and we did not take the tour due to limited time. You can walk the grounds and access the park where it is located. Great place to take photos of the bridge. 
  • The location of this lighthouse is superb, right next to the Mackinac Bridge. The history sweeps you away. The story of the building itself is fascinating. You can go all the way to the tower. The len...  read more »
  • Get a taste of the old days in this beautiful well kept Gem of Mackinaw city. Nestled right next to the Mackinaw bridge with a beautiful park and views this lighthouse is sure to tickle your fancy if your as much of a lighthouse nut as I am. Tours are very informative and staff is always smiling and friendly
  • We loved seeing this unique lighthouse at the last part of our trip "Up North" before heading home. It has great views of the lighthouse and Mackinac Bridge, and a lot to see and a beach to explore too.
  • Great view from the tower and very knowledgeable staff. We learned a lot from the ship wreck museum as well.
  • A little cloudy the day we arrived and a little chilly, The Lighthouse is in pristine condition and coupled with its famous counterpart the bridge it creates a scene to be rivaled by few.
  • Fun, fascinating history. Great view of bridge from top of lighthouse. Don't wear flip-flops or a skirt if you plan to climb the ladder to the top! Cool gift shop.
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