A Boy at Fort Mackinac: Diary of Harold Dunbar Corbusier
The Diary of Harold Dunbar Corbusier 1883-1884, 1892 introduces us to the life and times at Fort Mackinac through the eyes of a boy, from his actual diary, first at 10 years of age, then again at 19. Reading his words allows us to view history in a fresh firsthand experience.
from the book: “The son of post surgeon Dr. William H. Corbusier, Harold began his chronicle of life at Fort Mackinac as a 10-year old lad in 1883. During his two-year stay at the fort in the 1880s and return during the summer of 1892, Harold witnesses and recorded both the daily occurrences of the post as well as the more substantial social changes impacting Mackinac Island in the late 19th century. . . .
When Harold and his family arrived on Mackinac Island in 1882 they discovered that their island home was a burgeoning summer resort. Visitors from across the Great Lakes journeyed to the island on elegant passenger steamboats … or on board trains which extended their service into Mackinaw City in 1882. Summer travelers found hotel accommodations in remodeled fur warehouses and shopped for ‘Indian Curiosities’ in converted cooper shops and fish shanties. With copies of Kelton’s Annals in hand, sightseers set off to enjoy the wonders of Mackinac.
1883 January 14th I am ten years old today. We had turkey and other good things for dinner. The ground has been covered with snow all winter. The Straits are full of ice except in one place between here and Round island. We can see boys skating near the docks. The Algomah has been fast in the ice near Mackinaw City since yesterday afternoon. The chimney of the church smoked so badly we would not have Sunday school. We have been at this post since April 23rd 1882. I was born at Camp Date Creek Arizona …”