More of Mackinac. 

This is Mackinac.

Follow in the footsteps of the fur trade. From 1780 to about 1835 Mackinac Island was the principal summer depot and supply center for the upper Great Lakes fur trade. Pelts gathered at Mackinac were shipped to eastern United States and European markets. During the golden age of the American Fur Company, great wealth was produced on Market Street.

Historic Downtown Mackinac includes the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, a working 1950s-era blacksmith, the American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum, and the McGulpin House, perhaps the oldest private residence in Michigan. Admission is included with a Fort Mackinac or Historic Downtown Mackinac ticket.

Historic Downtown Mackinac is now closed for the 2021 season. We’ll see you in early June, 2022!


Click to enlarge.

American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum

This building was the American Fur Company Store, selling a variety of general merchandise. It was here, on June 6, 1822, that French Canadian voyageur Alexis St. Martin was accidentally shot in the stomach from a distance of three feet. Fort Mackinac surgeon Dr. William Beaumont managed to keep St. Martin alive, but the hole in his stomach never properly healed. Through this hole, Dr. Beaumont conducted experiments, observed the workings of the human stomach and discovered much about the digestive process. Exhibits explain the fateful accident and Dr. Beaumont’s experiments and a period setting recreates the store scene where St. Martin was shot.

Benjamin Blacksmith Shop

Originally built in the 1880s, Robert Benjamin and later his son, Herbert, ran a blacksmith shop into the 1960s. The contents of the shop were moved to the reconstructed building in 1970. The Benjamin’s fixed carriage wheels and shoed horses in the early days and repaired lawnmowers and maintained yacht motors in later years. Following in the Benjamin’s footsteps, a blacksmith demonstrates and explains traditional blacksmithing techniques like forming hot iron into fireplace tools, hinges and household items. Entrance is through the Biddle House.

McGulpin House 

The McGulpin House is closed for the 2021 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On the corner of Fort and Market Streets is the McGulpin House, one of the island’s oldest structures. It dates from 1780, or possibly just before, and was restored with the support of Mackinac Associates. The building was moved to its current location during restoration in 1982. Once the home of William McGulpin, a baker for the American Fur Company, this structure is an excellent and rare example of early French Canadian architecture. A historic interpreter details the architectural significance of the structure on Saturday’s during the operating season.


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