Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinaw City

#2 of 38 in Things to do in Mackinaw City
Must see · 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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  • Small lighthouse, but has many interesting artefacts. We’ve visited this place in early October. There were foggy days, so the visibility from the lighthouse was poor. The tourist guide was very...  more »
  • Old Mackinac Point Light is a beautiful lighthouse in a great location for photos. You can get lighthouse photos wit the bridge and maybe even a freighter in the background. We could not go into...  more »
  • 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.
  • This is a historic building restored and anyone can imagine what could have happened here with the views movie of shipwrecks and maybe but GOD FORBID THE DOUBLE PIPELINE UNDER THE WATER. SHOWS YOU HOW LIGHTHOUSES ARE THE ONLY RESORT TO GETTING THROUGH AN AREA LIKE THIS. AWESOME WILL COME HERE AGAIN

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