Dressing a Colonial Soldier

Dressing a Colonial Soldier

A lot went into getting dressed as a regimental soldier garrisoned at Fort Michilimackinac, but it was just part of a normal day in the 1770s. Watch as one of our historic interpreters goes through the process of getting dressed piece-by-piece.

How Michigan Became a State: The Treaty of Washington, 1836

How Michigan Became a State: The Treaty of Washington, 1836

As Michigan celebrates its 180th birthday, let’s take a look at the treaty that gave us much of the Michigan we know today. Without the 1836 Treaty of Washington, an agreement between the U.S. government and the Anishinaabek people, Michigan could never have become a state on January 26, 1837.

H-Schoolcraft

Agent Henry Schoolcraft was supposed to represent Native American interests during treaty negotiations. However, he did not stop alterations to the treaty after Ojibway and Odawa leaders departed Washington, and he recommended forcefully removing the Anishinaabek from their homes in northern Michigan.

Treaty Of Washington

The Treaty of Washington ceded nearly 14,000,000 acres to the federal government. This territory, which makes up just under 40% of the state of Michigan today, is colored yellow on this map.

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Surviving the Canadian Climate: British Winter Uniforms

Surviving the Canadian Climate: British Winter Uniforms

von Germann

Friedrich von Germann sketched this British soldier dressed for the Canadian winter in 1778.

Capot

As depicted in von Germann’s drawing, British soldiers donned blanket coats, wool leggings, and fur-trimmed “Canadian caps” to keep warm in wintertime.

When the men of the 8th Regiment arrived at Michilimackinac in 1774, they, like the rest of the British army posted in Canada, found themselves in a remote wilderness with pleasant, temperate summers and harsh, bitter winters. The Canadian winter climate was significantly cooler than what most soldiers were accustomed to in Britain. Fortunately, several uniform pieces allowed these men to live and even fight in the coldest of Canadian winters.

Leggings

With the lapels buttoned over, collar turned up, and tails let down, a soldier’s regimental coat helped protect him from the cold. Blue wool leggings further protected his legs.

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2016 Collections Acquisitions

2016 Collections Acquisitions

In 2016, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission accessioned 131 gifts and 142 purchases to the historic object and archival collection. Postcards, stereoviews and ruby souvenir glass by island businessman Frank Kriesche added to established collections in the state park. As in previous years, the new acquisitions represent a wide array of topics including some of the first color glass plate negatives, a mezzotint of the Mackinac Bridge being constructed and a large collection of Mackinaw City related objects.

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Mackinac’s Longest Serving Soldiers: The 23rd U.S. Infantry

Mackinac’s Longest Serving Soldiers: The 23rd U.S. Infantry

If you have visited Fort Mackinac during the summer, you have probably seen historic interpreters representing men from Companies E and K of the 23rd Regiment of U.S. Infantry. The original soldiers arrived at Fort Mackinac in June 1884 and left in May 1890, making them the longest serving unit to be stationed at the post. Fort Mackinac was considered an easy post to garrison, but the 23rd also saw hard service in numerous conflicts around the world.

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Washerwomen: British Military Laundresses at Michilimackinac

Washerwomen: British Military Laundresses at Michilimackinac

If you have visited Colonial Michilimackinac recently, you may have noticed a few changes, including new exhibits, new gardens, and whole new buildings. A new addition in 2017 will be a weekly laundry demonstration at the Soldier’s House. Although our interpreters won’t be washing your socks, it is still worth a visit to see how the enlisted men’s wives were working in the 1770s. (more…)

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the Armistice Day Storm of 1940

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the Armistice Day Storm of 1940

November storms on the Great Lakes are infamous for their ferocity and violence. Some, such as the Great Storm of 1913, which sank 12 ships and killed over 250 people, or the 1975 storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, are well known. In November 1940, another strong storm struck the Great Lakes and caused widespread damage, including in the Straits of Mackinac. (more…)

Balsam Just for You

Balsam Just for You

 

 

Since the beginning of tourism on Mackinac Island, visitors have always sought out tokens to remember their experience. Trinkets, sweets, and images of the island helped to memorialize the trip, or were sent to friends and family to let them know they were thinking of them. One of these thoughtful souvenirs which exploded in popularity in the early 20th century was the postcard. With an image on one side, and a place for a personalized message on the other, a postcard can carry a visit anywhere in the world. Although postcards did not originate as a souvenir, but rather a convenient way to send a quick note through the mail, they nonetheless have found their place on visitors’ refrigerators and bulletin boards and in their scrapbooks.

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The Werewolf Story You Haven’t Heard Comes to Life at Fort Fright

The Werewolf Story You Haven’t Heard Comes to Life at Fort Fright

French Canadian tales of the supernatural are explored at Fort Fright each year and one of the favorites is the story of the werewolf. It’s quite different from what we may be familiar with today, but for people in the 1700s at Fort Michilimackinac, the idea of a werewolf was no less terrifying.

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