Northern Michigan in Focus: 49 Years With Mackinac State Historic Parks

Imagine loving your job so much you dedicate 49 years to it.

“It’s just been a wonderful career filled with lots of great memories and the opportunity to work with great people on a lot of exciting projects that allowed us to bring Mackinac and our history to the public,” said Phil Porter with Mackinac State Historic Parks.

History is everywhere on Mackinac Island, and if you ever wanted to know anything about that history, Phil Porter was your guy.

Phil Porter, or Pops, started his career 49 years ago on the parade ground in Fort Mackinac as an interpreter.

“I started work on June 15, 1972 when I was put into a uniform for the first time and given a musket and showed how to use it. A year later, I met my wife on this parade ground and we’ve been married now for 45 years,” explained Phil. “So every day I work here, I come by the parade ground, it’s the center of activity at the fort, and it means so much to me so. There’s lots of places on Mackinac and all that mean a lot to me but this parade ground is particularly special”

Through the years he worked his way up to the executive director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks but after almost five decades, he decided it was time to retire.

October 2 was his last day, but he didn’t leave without going back to his roots and putting the uniform back on. 10 14 20 Nmif Phil Porter.mov

“It was great, it was really, really fun, and it was quite natural, believe it or not, after all these years to be back on the parade ground again presenting to the public in uniform.  I was glad that the guys let me do that with them this morning and I was able to fire the weapon without any major mishaps. It was great, it was fun,” said Phil.

And in the end that’s what it’s all about: fun. History shouldn’t be stuffy or boring.  It should be about amazement and wonder.

Phil Porter has brought that to the Mackinac State Historic Parks for 49 years. Thanks for keeping history alive. Enjoy your retirement, Phil!

“Anything that has been associated with my accomplishments really has to go to the fact that we have a great commission and leadership. We have a great staff, none of this is done alone. It’s team effort and I’m very proud to be a part of that team.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus