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.Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse by using our Mackinaw City trip builder app.
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
We did this in conjunction with Colonial Michilimackinac visit (combined ticket). At first glance how much can you see and read about a lighthouse? Much more than I thought. This "museum" is...
We did this in conjunction with Colonial Michilimackinac visit (combined ticket). At first glance how much can you see and read about a lighthouse? Much more than I thought. This "museum" is... more »
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...
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 »
The lighthouse is closed during late fall and winter, but it's still a delight to visit. I have been here a few times and enjoyed seeing the lighthouse in the snow. It was also fun to go to in season. You do have to pay to enter and get access to all of the buildings. It is fascinating to learn the history of the area, it's keepers, how the lighthouse changed and evolved over time, and of the nearby shipwrecks. When we were here last year, my grandfather enjoyed finally being able to imb the tower, which does cost extra.
Very well preserved old Lighthouse. Offers tours going over the different areas of the house, and a trip up the tower (which you must be on a tour to go up). Outside of the house there's a shed that has a video about the lighthouse and it's history, and another small building that has a small shipwreck exhibit. This is one of my favorite locations in Mackinaw and I try to visit it every time I'm up here.
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