During our romp around Michigan this summer, we explored the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is also known as the “Castle of the Straits”. It marks the junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. From 1892 until 1957, the lighthouse helped ships navigate the perilous waters of the Straits of Mackinac.
The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has two exhibits you shouldn’t miss, the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum and the Keepers’ Quarters. You can save a little money and greatly expand your value by purchasing a combo ticket. This gives you access to the lighthouse as well as Colonial Michilimackinac.
These parks are all part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks and are within easy walking distance of each other.
Inside the Keeper’s Quarters
The living area of the Keeper’s Quarters has been restored to the timeframe of 1910. Each room gives you a glimpse into past. At first glance, it looks like a pretty big living space. Until you factor in the fact that the lighthouse keeper’s family, and his assistants all had to live in this small house. We are hoping they were all small folks as this would be tight quarters with a house full of people.
Be sure to read the panels on the walls which tell the stories of the lighthouse keepers and the lighthouse. It was quite interesting to learn that the first lighthouse keeper George Marshall (no relation to Chuck) was in the U.S. cavalry during the Civil War and spent nearly a year in a Confederate prison.
Exploring The Tower
The tour of the Old Mackinac Point lighthouse includes a climb up into the tower. The lighthouse requires that you have good sturdy shoes (no flip flops) and keep your hands free. You will understand why once you start to negotiate the tight winding staircase to the top of the tower. Be sure to keep your phone and sunglasses secure as you’ll want them at the top. The views from the top of the tower are excellent, especially on a sunny day.
Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum
Located behind the lighthouse and across from the small audio visual barn is the Straits of Mackinac shipwreck museum. Inside you will find a treasure trove of original artifacts from some of the tragic shipwrecks littering the Straits of Mackinac. Spend some time learning about the such wrecks as the Cedarville and Eber Ward.
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