In 1761 Alexander Henry from New Jersey was one of the first English traders to venture into the interior of Michigan and came here to Fort Michilimackinac.
Each summer, thousands of Indians led by their chiefs came to receive presents from . . . — — Map (db m141187) HM
Alexander Henry Park
Built in 1987, by the Village of Mackinaw City, with funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Zone Management Program and the Mackinac Island State Park Commission.
Alexander Henry: Fur . . . — — Map (db m141174) HM
Mackinaw City is the northernmost point on the lower peninsula and all the main auto routes through Northern Michigan terminated here. These roads were the East Pike, the West Pike and the Dixie Highway. The automobile eventually replaced train . . . — — Map (db m138187) HM
Eight different state owned and operated ferries worked this dock between 1923 and 1957. During those 34 years, the Michigan ferries carried approximately 12 million vehicles and more than 30 million passengers across the Straits of Mackinac. This . . . — — Map (db m138126) HM
Great Lakes shipping is a key component to the regional economy. The shipping industry is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to transport large quantities of raw materials, such as iron ore, coal and heating oil. Extending the shipping . . . — — Map (db m138486) HM
John Askin arrived in America in 1758 at the age of 20. Upon arrival, he joined the British army and was stationed at Albany, in the New York colony. There he began a lucrative trading business in the Great Lakes region. Askin arrived at Fort . . . — — Map (db m135161) HM
Boats delivered products from all over the world to Michilimackinac during the 1700s. After long, arduous journeys they often needed to be repaired here.
Based on artifacts found at this site, such as 1770s sailmaker's needles, and the . . . — — Map (db m138441) HM
The Mackinac Bridge is constructed of three segments – at each end is a post-supported truss bridge and in the center is a suspension bridge segment.
This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world for decades after its . . . — — Map (db m107135) HM
Railroad construction across America boomed in the second half of the 1800s, spurred on by technological improvements and demand for distant products. Getting rail cars across the Straits required special boats.
Railroads were completed on . . . — — Map (db m105945) HM
Chief Wawatam, an Ojibway Indian living at the Straits of Mackinac, befriended the British fur trader Alexander Henry as a brother. During the Indian attack on Fort Michilimackinac in 1763, Wawatam protected his friend and cared for him as a member . . . — — Map (db m131697) HM
Fishing became the subsistence occupation in Mackinaw when the fur trading industry collapsed in the 1840s. It has continued to be a major employer for over 170 years.
The first large fishery on this site was built in 1892 and was owned . . . — — Map (db m138430) HM
Strategically located at the meeting of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the Straits of Mackinac have been a Crossroads of the Great Lakes since 1670.
The Forts at Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island and St. Ignace formed a "triangle of history," . . . — — Map (db m141227) HM
Founder of Mackinaw City Presented at the dedication of the statue of Edgar Conkling by Jerry Prior in Conkling Heritage Park
Edgar was born in New York during the War of 1812, while Mackinaw City was still a British territory. He was raised . . . — — Map (db m131698) HM
This interesting building with its tall chimney and copper roof was built in 1890, two years before the construction of the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse next door. It was built to house the large steam operated fog signal. The deep booming sound . . . — — Map (db m154597) HM
Around 1715 Constant Le Marchand de Lignery established Fort Michilimackinac for the French at the site of a Jesuit mission. During the next fifty years as France and Great Britain struggled for control of the fur trade . . . — — Map (db m131748) HM
Fort Michilimackinac's population grew after British arrival in 1761. After the successful Indian attack on the fort on June 2, 1763, British authorities moved much of the fur-trading community outside the fort. Started in 1765, a village . . . — — Map (db m135166) HM
A peacetime economic boom required more housing
In the peace following the French & Indian War, the fur trade boomed. The arriving
British, coming as victors of the war, increased the population inside the fort walls to
about 200 residents. . . . — — Map (db m192398) HM
The Griffin, the first ship on the Upper Great Lakes, disappeared on its maiden voyage in 1679.
Since then the Lakes have swallowed over 10,000 vessels.
Early wooden ships were often lost to on-board fires.
Many others were destroyed by . . . — — Map (db m107191) HM
Hattie Stimpson was one of the founding members of the Mackinaw Woman's Club some 90 years ago.
On Saturday, March 6, 2004, ninety-two people attended Mackinaw Area's Historical Society's first annual Cabin Fever Dinner at Audie's Restaurant in . . . — — Map (db m125661) HM
The first people came to the Mackinaw region aboutr 10,000 years ago, just after the glaciers retreated. They were summer hunters stalking the big game of mastodons and mammoths. The development of birch bark canoes made coming and going much . . . — — Map (db m140760) HM
Harvested in Mackinaw, shipped around the Great Lakes, the ice was used to cool food and people.
Selling ice for refrigeration to the fish houses, railroads, and homes was big business from the late 1800s to World War II, and Mackinaw . . . — — Map (db m138336) HM
The long-anticipated railroads finally arrived in the Straits in 1881 and 1882. Their arrival, originally expected before the Civil War, was delayed by the War and then by shifting priorities. Once here, they brought many jobs, many visitors, and . . . — — Map (db m105924) HM
In 1920 the need for extensive highways in Michigan was becoming evident and Horatio S. Earle, highway commissioner, suggested a submerged, floating tunnel. A counter-proposal was made by C. E. Fowler, a consulting engineer from New York City.
. . . — — Map (db m1987) HM
In memory of
John L. (Jack) Staffan Chief Wawatam
August 1, 1909 - November 7, 1982
In tribute to our friend Jack Staffan, whose
participation, leadership and enthusiasm in the
Fort Michilimackinac Pageant spanned 20 years
of . . . — — Map (db m140815) HM
Researchers coming and going from Mackinaw City's marina are discovering that evaporation from the Great Lakes, a key factor in the level of the lakes, is far more complicated than formerly thought. An understanding is important for commerce, . . . — — Map (db m140812) HM
The Mackinac Straits, with its narrow passage and the many reefs and shoals to the east and west, has been one of the most dangerous points on the Great Lakes for sailors since the late seventeenth century, evidenced by the many shipwrecks in the . . . — — Map (db m154598) HM
The strategic importance of the Great Lakes during the fur trade made Michilimackinac a well-known name throughout the world by all the superpowers of the time. Before trains and cars were invented, people of the Great Lakes traveled on the . . . — — Map (db m140741) HM
Passenger ferries to Mackinac Island have existed since the late 1870s. Today three ferry lines serve the island.
Transportation across the Straits of Mackinac, whether to St. Ignace or Mackinac Island, began with the versatile birch . . . — — Map (db m140733) HM
The Mackinaw Boat was designed for northern Great Lakes conditions
The Mackinaw boat was the work boat of fur traders, fishermen, settlers and lake travelers for hundreds of years, from the early 1700s to the early 1900s.
The hull . . . — — Map (db m140770) HM
In 1634 Samuel de Champlain sent Jean Nicolet from Quebec to explore this area and make peace with the Ottawa and Ojibwa Indians. French traders were in the area in 1673, but they left when conflict with the Indians ensued. The . . . — — Map (db m105887) HM
Mackinaw City Railroad Dock (side 1, marker #707)Before the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957, ships were the only means of connecting Michigan's peninsulas. During the 1870s, small sailing vessels served as ferries. Steamboats took over . . . — — Map (db m131700) HM
This plaque is issued by the
Historical Society of Michigan
in recognition of
Mackinaw Woman's Club, Inc.
founded in 1914
for more than 100 years of
continuous operation in service
to the people of Michigan
and for . . . — — Map (db m140327) HM
The entire Mackinac Straits region derives its name from a French translation of the Ojibway name for Mackinac Island; Missilimakinak, where missi (also michi or mishi) means great or many and . . . — — Map (db m105853) HM
During the Civil War and after the battle in Mobile Bay, naval historians called this gun, the 9-inch Dahlgren, the gun "that won the Civil War". We are very lucky to have these three relics from the Civil War here in Makinaw City, Michigan. The . . . — — Map (db m138764) HM
In the early 1880s the main street of Mackinaw City consisted of these first two blocks of North Huron Avenue. Within only 40 years, in 1900 and again in 1916, two devastating fires completely destroyed the original business district. . . . — — Map (db m140723) HM
Mackinaw residents have long rendered services to passing ships. One of the most interesting was The Marine & Weather Reporting Service, established in 1877 by Forest J. Stimpson. Stimpson made daily reports on weather conditions at the Straits . . . — — Map (db m141154) HM
Michigan State Ferry System (side 1)
In 1923, in response to increasing automobile traffic, the Michigan Highway Department established the Michigan State Ferry System to connect the Upper and Lower Peninsulas by transporting travelers . . . — — Map (db m131696) HM
When Patrick Sinclair moved Fort Michilimackinac from the mainland to Mackinac Island in 1780, he recognized the need for a saw mill to provide lumber for the new fort and adjoining community buildings. Sinclair granted private claim 334, . . . — — Map (db m138192) HM
This light is opposite the turning point for ships making the difficult passage through the Straits of Mackinac, one of the busiest crossroads of the Great Lakes. McGulpin's Point light, two miles to the west, had been established in 1856, but it . . . — — Map (db m40053) HM
In 1780 the British garrison at Fort Michilimackinac moved to Mackinac Island as a safer location during the American Revolution. Robert Campbell built a sawmill on this site to furnish lumber for the new fort and settlement. His sawmill and dam . . . — — Map (db m59978) HM
Perry Darrow was a special person in our community; wherever he went, he had a smile and willing hands to help anyone.
He was born in Kniffenville, a small settlement of Mackinaw City near Drydock Lake. His parents, Glen (Slim) and Bea . . . — — Map (db m140106) HM
The construction of railroads into Northern Michigan closely followed the lumbering industry. In 1881, the Michigan Central completed its line into Mackinaw, and the Mackinac and Marquette reached St. Ignace in the same year. To complete the . . . — — Map (db m138432) HM
When mankind took to the water, shipwrecks were inevitable.
As long as canoes and boats have sailed the Great Lakes there have been shipwrecks. Many have occurred in the Straits of Mackinac with its narrow channels, shoals, and harsh and . . . — — Map (db m131758) HM
The Algomah sank at the Cheboygan docks in July 1942 and was raised two years later. She was towed to Mackinaw City, filled with stone, and sunk to form the breakwall at the end of Shelpler's ferry dock. In 1947, Captain William Shepler, . . . — — Map (db m105883) HM
Since the beginning of the 20th century, two main roads brought tourists to Northern Michigan.
These roads were the East and West Pikes and they converged in Mackinaw City.
In 1915 the East Pike became part of the Dixie Highway, a series of . . . — — Map (db m125535) HM
Mackinaw's economy was originally built on the fur trade. When that faltered in the 1840s it was supplanted by fising, lumbering, and today's tourism.
The summer of 1871 was hot, dry, and windy, resulting in devastating fires across the . . . — — Map (db m140869) HM
The Meneely bell atop this tower helped guide the train ferries Chief Wawatam and Sainte Marie in foggy weather to the New York Central Railroad Dock in Mackinaw City.
The bell, cast in 1890 in Troy, N.Y., was in service until 1952 and . . . — — Map (db m138340) HM
Before the railroads were extended to Mackinaw City in 1881, the Straits area remained isolated and its activities were limited to commercial pursuits such as lumbering and serving the expanding shipping industry. Once land routes were cut . . . — — Map (db m135209) HM
When the gales of November blow into Mackinaw City, its residents prepare for the long, hard winter that will bury the beautiful sand beaches in deep snowdrifts and freeze the Straits from shore to shore. Northern Michigan winters more closely . . . — — Map (db m135221)
How Did the Odawa Survive? When the Odawa were living on the waterfront in the Straits what was their life like? What did they eat? What did they do? And wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ascertain what they thought? Here are the few answers . . . — — Map (db m154599) HM
Native families settle in the Straits area Following the glacial retreat 11,000 years ago, Anishnaabek people began to populate Lower Michigan, drawn here by plentiful natural resources. This land holds tremendous cultural value to the local . . . — — Map (db m154601) HM
Old and cold, the Bradley broke into two pieces and sank in a severe storm. Sister ship to the Cedarville, they both now lie on the bottom within 35 miles of each other. It was the end of the season and the Bradley departed . . . — — Map (db m154689) HM
Ice in April, Fog in May Poor visibility, poor communications, and poor decisions sank the Cedarville. The 604-foot Cedarville set out from near Rogers City, midway up Lake Huron, with a load of 14,400 tons of limestone headed for . . . — — Map (db m154690) HM
Worlds collide in Mackinacs “Middle Ground” Charles Michel de Langlade was an Odawa war chief, diplomat, fur trader and a French officer. He was one of the most influential people in the Great Lakes during the 1700s, due to his . . . — — Map (db m154700) HM
At the end of this trail, "Chi-Sin" rests on the shoreline of the Straits of Mackinac.
In Anishnaabek, the language of the indigenous people, the Odawa Indians, Chi-Sin means literally "Big Rock." The Big Rock at the McGulpin Point shoreline . . . — — Map (db m154699) HM
Eber Ward hit ice, sank quickly Entering the Straits from the west the captain saw what he thought was slush ice. He reported that he slowed the boat and completely stopped the engines before hitting the ice pack that ripped open the bow . . . — — Map (db m154688) HM
This fort, built about 1715, put French soldiers at the Straits for the first time since 1701. French authority ceased in 1761 when the British troops entered the fort. On June 2, 1763, during Pontiac's uprising, Chippewa Indians seized the fort, . . . — — Map (db m7670) HM
The Woodland Indians of the Northern Midwest are believed to be remnants of the prehistoric Middle Mississippian people. The common ancestry of various tribes is evident in their similar languages. The Huron tribe spoke an Iroquois language. The . . . — — Map (db m135127) HM
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 1876Two 16-year-old boys among the five scalded to death on the tug Bennett A cold November night in 1876 the James W. Bennett ran hard aground near Epoufette. The crew had to spend the . . . — — Map (db m154687) HM
1954 – 1958
State of Michigan
Hon. G. Mennen Williams · Governor
Mackinac Bridge Authority
Prentiss M. Brown · Chairman
Charles T. Fisher, Jr. · Deceased;
George A. Osborn
Mead L. Bricker; Murray D. Van Wagoner
William . . . — — Map (db m1995) HM
Post-war life at McGulpin Point With the turn into the 1800s, the social and economic systems in the Mackinaw area become more predictable. During this period Patrick McGulpin, now 60 years old, stopped having children and became a grandfather . . . — — Map (db m154820) HM
Ezekiel Solomon, a native of Berlin, Germany, who had served with the British army, arrived at Michilimackinac in the summer of 1761.
He is Michigans first known resident of the Jewish faith.
Solomon was one of the most active Mackinac fur . . . — — Map (db m107159) HM
One of the 19 boats rushing from Chicago to provide grains to the east coast markets. One of two boats to sink in the icy water of the Straits. Pulling two schooners, the steam-powered Minneapolis was slow to arrive in the Straits. By the . . . — — Map (db m154686) HM
Roman Catholicism came to the Straits of Mackinac through the self-sacrificing efforts of seventeenth-century Jesuit Missionaries. In 1670 Father Jacques Marquette established a mission for Huron Indians on Mackinac Island. An . . . — — Map (db m135112) HM
European soldiers stay and become land owners For thousands of years, generations before the arrival of the French in the 1600s, the Anishnaabek nation established villages along the Straits of Mackinac, including near where you are standing . . . — — Map (db m154819) HM
Nissowaquet, a legendary Odawa Nissowaquet (Nosawaguet, Sosawaket, La Fourche), Odawa chief; the name evidently comes from Nassauaketon, meaning “forked river,” the designation of one of the four Odawa bands; b. 1715; d. 1797. . . . — — Map (db m154698) HM
The old and tired Barnum heads out Although being deemed unseaworthy and under the command of a 29-year-old captain, his first season at the helm of the Barnum, the Barnum's crew expected a quick trip to nearby Port Huron . . . — — Map (db m154682) HM