Old Mackinac Point Light Station Vignette
Mackinac History, A Continuing Series of Illustrated Vignettes
Volume III / Leaflet #5
“Old Mackinac Point Light station served as a beacon to navigators through the Straits of Mackinac for 65 years. Built near the peak of development of manned lighthouses in America, it bears witness to changing technology in aids to navigation, changes that ultimately made it obsolete. … The Straits of Mackinac was a critical passage in the Great Lakes system, a vital link to all traffic passing between Lakes Huron and Michigan, particularly to the prominent ports of Chicago and Milwaukee. Tourist traffic at the Straits, both passenger steamers and ferries, increased steadily as Mackinac Island developed into a major Midwest summer resort. The Straits of Mackinac was dangerous to all types of vessels, laden with many islands, shoals, and reefs. The first light in the region (the second on Lake Huron) was established at Bois Blanc Island in 1829. … The need for further lights on the Straits of Mackinac remained a concern throughout the last half of the nineteenth century. …By the time Old Mackinac Point was established in 1889 both the technology and administration of lighthouses had developed considerably. …”
This vignette traces the history of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and the Fog Signal Station from the planning and building era of the 1890’s through the opening of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957, when the bright beacon last guided ships through the Straits of Mackinac.