Old Mackinac Point Light
By Dave Wobser

A fog signal was erected here in 1890. The fog signal worked in conjunction with the then existing lights at McGulpin’s Point (1869), St. Helena Island (1873) and Round Island (1896) to guide vessels through this narrow and dangerous strait..

The increase in size and volume of vessel traffic almost immediately caused a need for a light on Mackinac Point. The brick two-story keeper’s dwelling with attached brick tower was completed in 1892. The tower is 6-feet in diameter and 40-feet tall.

The light from the Fourth Order lens was visible for 16 miles, and was particularly valuable to the railroad car ferries CHIEF WAWATAM and SAINT MARIE that operated between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace for many years.

The light was taken out of service in December, 1957 as the lights on the new Mackinac Bridge serve a navigation aids. The fog signal building remains next to the lighthouse.

The property was acquired by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission in 1960. The lighthouse had been converted to a maritime museum that operated for a number of years, but was closed in 1987. Plans are presently being developed for a complete renovation of the lighthouse. The engineering and architectural studies were completed in July, 2000.

The barn that was formerly part of the original site has been returned to its former location, and picket fence has been erected around the grounds. A gift shop and lighthouse information booth presently occupies the former fog signal building. Purchases go to help fund the restoration.

Located next to the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City, Michigan. The park surrounding the lighthouse is a great place to view the bridge, enjoy lunch and watch the boat traffic.

2008 Update
Restoration of the property to its circa 1910 appearance has been underway since 2000 and the lighthouse has been reopened to the public. The castle-like structure, whose design is unique in the Great Lakes, has been restored to its 1910 appearance. On the fully accessible first floor, you'll find period settings and hands-on exhibits that let you test your nighttime navigation skills, light up a miniature Fresnel lens, and try on a lighthouse keeper's clothing. Our interpreters also lead frequent tours up the tower and into its lantern room.

Admission to the historic site is gained through the 1907 Fog Signal Building and museum store. Pets are welcome. Admission prices are: Adult: $6, Youth: $3.50 (Age 5-17), Free for children 4 & under and Mackinac Associates.

2008 Park Hours - Open seven days a week in season. May 12 to June 6*, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM; June 7 to August 23, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM;
August 24 to October 12*, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM; *May 24 and 25, August 30 & 31 open until 5:00 PM.

May 14 - June 8 and August 26 - October 7 - Tower tours available throughout the day. Walking tours on the hour, beginning at the front porch from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. June 9 - August 25 - Tower tours available throughout the day. Walking tours on the half hour, beginning at the front porch from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For additional information concerning the park and other points of local interest, go to http://www.mackinacparks.com/.

For more history of the lighthouse, go to Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse History

Click on images to enlarge

Photograph by Dave Wobser

2008 view from the water
Dan Vernier

Early postcard view from the days that camping was permitted around the light station.
Violet Bostwick

Location: Mackinaw City, Michigan
Date Built: 1892
Active: Yes

Open to

Yes, grounds only


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