Skip to Main
Promo Image: Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Fort Michilimackinac’s New Cannon

Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Fort Michilimackinac’s New Cannon

Saving and preserving history, the goal of parks and museums across Northern Michigan.

But when a piece of equipment is required to go boom every day, that can take its toll.

Corey Adkins shows us how they handle it at Fort Michilimackinac in today’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan. 

“It’s been around here for about 11 years and used every day for demonstrations and it’s showing its age. It was an iron gun which we knew to be incorrect we knew historically that the light filed gins here were cast of bronze so it was just kind of a compromise piece and this summer was truly on its last legs,” says MSHP Park Historian, Craig Wilson.

Sometimes even history needs to be updated.

“The cannon barrel itself is still sound and safe to use but the carriage gets worn out. It’s wood and it’s exposed to the WX and its right next to the lake and that’s a problem that occurred here historically to. The carriages rotted regularly,” says Wilson.

So it was time for the Mackinac State Historic Parks to get a new cannon at Fort Michilimackinac.

“It’s almost a near exact replica of an original light 6 pound gun on display in Pittsburgh. So it’s a British cannon, its cast of bronze. It is a 6 pound gun so it fires a 6 pound cannon ball and it’s not only taken direct from that original piece from that museum of Pittsburgh but also from a variety of drawings,” adds Wilson.

The original cannon would have been cast around the 1750’s and used well into the 1770’s around the time of the revolutionary war…and does this field gun ever shine!

“That bronze is definitely visually resting. People have told me they can see it as they are driving across the bridge and it is historically correct. Those light guns would have been made out of bronze first of all because it’s lightweight and if people need to move the guns around you are concerned about how much it weighs and it’s a little bit safer than cast iron. When a cast iron gun fails it will crack and explode and maybe kill the entire gun crew. When a bronze gun fails it may just sort of crack and a piece might fall off and the gun will be ruined but everyone will survive,” says Wilson.

A close look at the barrel reveals incredible detail!

“Something that a lot of people see initially is the small number carved on the back of the barrel and it looks like a date but that’s actually the weight of the barrel and then moving up from there there’s actually the date the gun was cast , the original was cast in 1755 so that’s what ours says. There’s the name of the gun founder on their there’s the symbol of George the 2nd. There’s some decorative motif’s representing the United Kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland and people love looking at that stuff because it does all mean something,” explains Wilson.

But now let’s get to the good stuff!

“It’s something we still fire off every day that were open May through October, multiple times a day,” adds Wilson.