Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinaw City

4.6
#3 of 6 in Historic Sites in Cheboygan County
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
472 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • August 9, 2017
    Loved this vantage point for seeing the lake and bridge. Gorgeous on a sunny day, nice, clean walking beach and pathway's for all ages and stages. Well maintained and peaceful despite the proximity to...  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    This lighthouse was near our hotel and my adult daughter was intrigued when she read about a shipwreck museum. At $8 a person it was a bit pricey for the amount of time spent there. There is a gift sh...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    Excellent tour of facility. Beautiful view of the bridge. Excellent time references for Mackinaw City.  more »
Google
  • June 21, 2017
    Nice place, good layout. It was a good way to spend about an hour (to view everything and do the tower tour.)
  • March 22, 2017
    Neat old building. The surrounding area/grounds are worth checking in to.
  • March 9, 2017
    I came here after everything was closed for the season. Great photo op so I am still happy with the side trip.
  • May 24, 2017
    Fun place to visit and the beach here is one of the best in Michigan.
  • May 4, 2017
    The lighthouse gives you a great view of the Mackinac Bridge.

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