From the Archives

From the Archives

Hotel Labels

Mackinac Island baggage labels from the 1940s.

As Mackinac Island gears up for another season and hotels begin to reopen, we look back at how earlier travelers documented their vacations. Gum-backed stickers for a suitcase announced to the world how well traveled you were. Two of these unused Mackinac examples also served as ads for the Chippewa Hotel, established in 1902. The far right one dates to 1947, when This Time for Keeps was released. The M-G-M musical included scenes filmed on the island. Continue into this post for a few historic images of Mackinac Island hotels still welcoming guests.

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Special Events at Colonial Michilimackinac

Special Events at Colonial Michilimackinac

Although there aren’t any big anniversaries to celebrate this year, there will be a number of exciting special events throughout the summer at Colonial Michilimackinac. From June to September, two weekends each month will highlight a different aspect of the site’s history with special programs and activities.

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Taxes in the 18th Century

Taxes in the 18th Century

King George III's government attempted to use a variety of taxes to cover expenses following the Seven Years' War.

King George III’s government attempted to use a variety of taxes to cover expenses following the Seven Years’ War.

It’s mid-April. Taxes are due in just a few days- have you filed yet? In the 18th century, British citizens around the world, including at remote Canadian outposts like Michilimackinac, were required to pay taxes just like you.

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The Little Brown Bat Struggles to Survive

The Little Brown Bat Struggles to Survive

White-nose Syndrome (WNS) continues to advance across the country, killing at least a million bats each year. It was first detected in New York in February 2006 and reached the Straits Area during the winter of 2013-14. By the winter of 2014-15 it was found throughout the Upper Peninsula. As of this year, WNS has killed bats in 29 states and 5 Canadian Provinces.

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What’s on the Other Side of the Lake? Green Bay!

What’s on the Other Side of the Lake? Green Bay!

A combined British-Native force from Fort Edward Augustus helped diffuse tensions at Michilimackinac following the attack of 1763. Courtesy of British Library

A combined British-Native force from Fort Edward Augustus helped diffuse tensions at Michilimackinac following the attack of 1763. Courtesy of British Library.

You may be aware of Mackinac’s connection to cities like Detroit and Montreal, but many other communities can also trace a historic connection back to the straits. One such city is Green Bay, Wisconsin, which will be celebrating several important milestones in 2017. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Fort Howard, built by American troops, and the 300th anniversary of the colonial French Fort La Baye. Both posts were located in present-day Green Bay and had ties to Mackinac.

By the 1600s both Mackinac and Green Bay were part of French Canada, and both deeply linked to the fur trade. The majority of the fur trade that went west from Michilimackinac headed to Green Bay. Green Bay’s Fox River was a main artery for reaching the Mississippi River and trading grounds in central Wisconsin and Minnesota. As a result of the first Fox War (1712-1716), the French established Fort La Baye to protect this vital trade route. Many of the French soldiers who built and later garrisoned La Baye were sent from Fort Michilimackinac, which was built around 1715.

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Mackinac in Color

Mackinac in Color

Gardiner Arch RockWilliam Henry Gardiner was born in 1861 in Canada, and he began his photography career in Toronto around the age of 20. Around 1890, Gardiner made the decision to move to Detroit, since it was difficult to make a living doing photography in Canada. At some point after moving to Detroit he made a visit to Mackinac Island, and relocated both his family and business there around 1895.

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Visitors at Old Mackinac Point

Visitors at Old Mackinac Point

Some visitors, like this Lighthouse Service inspector being greeted by Keeper George Marshall, came on official business.

Some visitors, like this Lighthouse Service inspector being greeted by Keeper George Marshall, came on official business.

The Old Mackinac Point light station was always popular with visitors. While tourists today visit the preserved light station as an historic site and museum, beginning in 1890 visitors also toured the station while it served as an active aid to navigation. (more…)