Mackinac History: A Continuing Series of Illustrated Vignettes, Volume IV, Leaflet #7
Perched on a cliff over Mackinac Island’s harbor, Fort Mackinac is today preserved as an historic site. Visitors may be forgiven for assuming the fort was similarly well-maintained during its 115 years of military service. In reality, Fort Mackinac was plagued by poor design, chronic dilapidation, and governmental indifference from the moment British soldiers broke ground in 1779. Although major improvements were occasionally made, most soldiers found themselves stationed in an obsolete, crumbling fort. These men included Captain William Doyle, who in 1793 begged for assistance to address “the State of universal ruin, which prevails in the Fortification, and public Buildings at this Post.” The story of Fort Mackinac reflects a perpetual battle between natural decay, repair, military necessity, public service, social reforms, and government spending.