Virtual Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park - Mackinac State Historic Parks | Mackinac State Historic Parks

Virtual Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Here you can find the timeline history of Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, the orientation video exploring the park’s history, a virtual natural history lesson, educational resources, and more!

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park’s History: A Timeline

Mill Creek was established in 1790 by Robert Campbell to provide sawn lumber for nearby Mackinac Island.  Campbell also operated a farm, with hay fields, cattle and an extensive orchard.  A gristmill was eventually added to the operation.  In 1819 the mill and farm were purchased by wealthy Mackinac Island merchant Michael Dousman.  He continued operations on the site through the 1830s.  Abandoned and eventually forgotten, Mill Creek was rediscovered in 1972.  After extensive archaeological work, the site opened in 1984.  Today, visitors can watch the reconstructed sawmill in operation and explore the natural history of the site through trails, exhibits and naturalist programs. 

1770s Property is part of the reservation surrounding Fort Michilimackinac and used for procuring firewood.

1790 Robert Campbell establishes a sawmill and farm at Mill Creek site.

1795 Property part of land ceded to the United States by the Chippewa in the Treaty of Greenville.

1808 Robert Campbell dies.  Heirs present claim to 640 acres, citing large area of improved cultivated land, sawmill, gristmill and large orchard.  Known as “Private Claim 334.”  John Campbell continues operations at the site. Continue reading…

The Steady Hand of Man

This 15-minute movie provides an orientation to Historic Mill Discovery Park’s history.

Virtual Exhibit

Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park is dedicated as a nature preserve. Enjoy the interactive Sounds of the Forest and learn about the plant and wildlife that call the site home.


Beyond the Sawmill Walking Tour

The Dam at Mill Creek:

Water Power – The Sawmill at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park

Educational Resources

Mackinac State Historic Parks maintains a robust collection of educational resources, such as lesson plans, about all of its sites, including Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park. Learn more here.

What would the sawmill at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park look like if you or your kids were designing it? Click to download the pages below, color them, and share them on our Facebook page!

Sawmill Plans

Flutter Wheel Plans

Rag Wheel Plans

More Viewing

More videos on Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park can be found on our YouTube page, including overview videos and trips on the Adventure Tour!

Support for exhibits and demonstrations at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park comes from Mackinac Associates – friends preserving and sharing Mackinac’s heritage. Please consider checking them out!

Click here to check out other MSHP sites.

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