Outside the Walls: The “Subarbs” of Michilimackinac

Outside the Walls: The “Subarbs” of Michilimackinac

In the 18th century, the summer population of Michilimackinac could swell into the thousands as voyageurs, clerks, merchants, and other French-Canadian, British, and Native American participants in the fur trade descended on the post for the annual trading season. Given the relatively small size of the town inside the fort’s walls, where did all of these people live? By the 1760s, a growing collection of homes sprang up east of the fort, creating the suburbs of Michilimackinac.  (more…)

Fort Fright

Fort Fright

The autumn air is crisp and cool as you pass down the trail of lantern lights, the skeleton soldiers are waiting to welcome you to Colonial Michilimackinac. It’s time for Fort Fright.

A Werewolf watches as unsuspecting visitors enter Fort Fright.

This haven for lutins, werewolves and other bad-tempered creatures, the fort provides a fun, fall atmosphere for the entire family with it’s fair-share of scary experiences and historical background. (more…)

Captain George Etherington: Michilimackinac’s Unfortunate Commander

Captain George Etherington: Michilimackinac’s Unfortunate Commander

Many visitors to the Straits of Mackinac are aware of the events of June 2, 1763, when a group of 400 Ojibwa men captured the British fort of Michilimackinac through a skillful surprise attack. The Ojibwa attack, which initially took the form of a seemingly-innocent game of baggatiway in honor of King George III’s birthday, ended in just minutes, with 15 soldiers dead and commanding officer Captain George Etherington held prisoner. The loss of Michilimackinac was undoubtedly the low point of Etherington’s life, but this resourceful officer ultimately enjoyed a long career in the British military. (more…)

Mackinac’s Contribution to Fashion? Hats!

Mackinac’s Contribution to Fashion? Hats!

Nearly all European and American men wore felt hats in the 18th century. Hats came in numerous shapes and sizes, as seen in this 1747 engraving by famed illustrator William Hogarth.

Nearly all European and American men wore felt hats in the 18th century. Hats came in numerous shapes and sizes, as seen in this 1747 engraving by famed illustrator William Hogarth.

For over 200 years, Michilimackinac, and later Mackinac Island, were centers of the Great Lakes fur trade. Every summer, merchants based at Michilimackinac or on the island shipped tons of furs to factories on the Atlantic coast or in Europe. Trapped by indigenous people around the Great Lakes, otter, muskrat, mink, rabbit, fox, and especially beaver pelts were highly prized in the garment and fashion industry. These furs were used to trim collars and cuffs, line capes and muffs, and, most importantly, to make felt hats. (more…)

The 10th Regiment at Michilimackinac

The 10th Regiment at Michilimackinac

008 copyToday, visitors to Colonial Michilimackinac will meet interpreters representing members of the 8th, or King’s, Regiment of Foot, which served at the fort from 1774 to 1781. The men of the 8th replaced soldiers from the 10th Regiment, who left their own mark on Michilimackinac during their stay between 1772 and 1774. The 10th Regiment also played a critical role in the American Revolution soon after their departure from the Great Lakes. (more…)

Mr. Michilimackinac: Jim Evans’ 47 Years

Mr. Michilimackinac: Jim Evans’ 47 Years

Jim Evans 6Jim Evans isn’t a stranger to attention.

Entering his 47th season as a historical interpreter at Colonial Michilimackinac, Jim is a fan-favorite among visitors and employees alike. However, Jim is known for his soft-spoken, friendly demeanor and isn’t one to boast about his accomplishments. A native of Mackinaw City, Jim has always been fascinated by his hometown’s rich history. (more…)

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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