Buying a membership into the Mackinac Association of Friends gave us admission into the six historic Mackinac parks. Colonial Michilimackinac was the first we visited. While we were at Colonial Michilimackinac, we realized that Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park was closed. It would not reopen until 2023. This was disappointing because we were planning on spending a day at Mill Creek. That meant the only thing left to see in Mackinaw City was Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.
Everyone else wanted to get to the campground and get set up. So I agreed to not see the lighthouse in the interest of group comfort. But there was a park that ran along the Straits of Mackinac on the other side of the parking lot. I agreed to skip the lighthouse if I could walk along the park. Tom and Sandy decided to come with me, while Eric and Bob went back to their truck. As we walked, we could see a lighthouse and we soon realized that it was the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. Both of the historic parks were in the same location! Score!
I also realized, as we were walking, that I had left my Nalgene bottle of water in the gift shop when I bought the cookbook. The gift shop was now a mile away. Tom chivalrously volunteered to go get it for me so that Sandy and I could see the inside of the lighthouse before it closed. He headed back and Sandy and I continued on to the lighthouse.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was built in 1889 to help ships navigate through the treacherous Straits of Mackinac. The light station was closed in 1957, following the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Following restoration in 1999, the lighthouse was opened to the public.
Sandy and I walked in, showing our receipt of membership. Because it was getting close to closing, we went straight to the lighthouse to look around. The Keepers’ Quarters contain three rooms restored to their 1910 appearance. There is also a gallery exhibit on the history of the lighthouse featuring hands-on displays and original artifacts. A new exhibit devoted to optics and lenses as well as sound and fog signals is located on the main floor of the house. We came out of the Keepers’ Quarters just in time to watch and hear a foghorn demonstration. A young, costumed interpreter talked about the importance of the foghorn and then activated the foghorn, which was pretty cool.
We didn’t dally Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse for two reasons. First, it was about to close and we know what it is like to have guests linger when you are trying to close. Second, Bob and Eric were waiting for us at the truck. We didn’t want them to think we had gotten lost. As we came out of the property, Tom walked up with my recovered Nalgene bottle. My hero!
I was glad that I didn’t have to miss seeing the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. We saw many historic lighthouses during our time in Michigan and each one was unique and interesting.