Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinaw City

Lighthouse · History Museum
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.
PreparationsEven 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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Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
667 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Lovely old building and easily accessible. Beautiful view of Mackinaw Bridge from here also. The beach nearby provides a great place for children to dip their toes in the water on a warm day, and...  more »
  • The lighthouse has many interesting exhibits and there is a guide that will demonstrate the old fog horn used in days gone by.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful walkway along the lighthouse and lake. Great place to grab a picture of the mighty Mackinaw Bridge. Nice gift shop inside with such friendly staff. You can take a tour of the lighthouse if you want. Definitely a place to stop before crossing over to the Upper Pennsylvania.
  • Horrible experience. I went with my kids to this light house. The lady that was selling the tickets was very rude and had no sense of a good costumer service. After she sold the tickets to me, she told me my kids could not go in because one was to little and the other was wearing sandals. I told her i wanted my money back then, she told me there was no money back policy. Why she did not tell me that before selling the tickets. Total waste of my money. I hope I can get my money back somehow. That almost ruin our day. Be aware. The rest of Mackinac was nice.

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