Hometown Tourist: Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

The Straits of Mackinac are a sight to behold and are a force to be reckoned with some days.

So, lighthouses were put in place to help guide vessels on the safest path.

We take you to Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City for Hometown Tourist.

The lighthouse that served as the guiding beacon for many vessels from 1889 to 1957, and now serves as a beacon of maritime history.

Old Mackinac Point marks the spot that is the farthest north you can go in the Lower Peninsula. For 65 years this light and keepers kept watch over the straits until modern technology on the Mackinac Bridge became the new way to guide navigation.

“The lighthouse itself, that’s all original. It was built in 1892 and that has period settings inside, restored to what they would look like historically, that has exhibits about what life was like for people that actually lived and worked here,” said Craig Wilson, museum historian.

A brand new exhibit that depicts the science and technology and helps people understand the basic physics of light and sound that helped to guide sailors.

“Because we can tell you, oh the light shone out sixteen miles and it revolved and this, that, and the other, but how does that actually work, how does the lenses actually focus the light on a very basic level, so we’ve got that exhibit,” said Wilson.

A guide in the night, Craig says people are often surprised at the normalcy of everyday life of being a keeper, not all glory, but highly important nonetheless.

“Their daily routine is basic maintenance, it’s cleaning, polishing, painting, cutting the grass, that’s what they do day, after day, after day, so its kind a lot of drudgery, but it’s very important,” said Wilson.

You can take a tour to the top of the tower with interpreters, soak in the expansive view of the straights, and see the original lens on display.

So much is original here from the fog signal and even to the barn.

They even reconstructed the warehouse to hold the shipwreck museum of the straits to tell the tales of old shipwrecks to the wreck of the Cedarville in 1965.

“So ships have been going down here in the Straits of Mackinac basically as long as people have been having large sailing vessels up there. There are a lot of them that are pretty dramatic stories,” said Wilson. “It does really give you a sense of why this is a dangerous place why they needed so many lighthouses.”

Categories: Hometown Tourist