"" Writer's Wanderings: Mackinac Island - The Fort

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Mackinac Island - The Fort


Since we were up on the hill above town, we chose to walk straight over to Fort Mackinac. We had no idea what we would see once inside. We've been to some forts that were nothing more than a ghost of their past but once we paid our $13.50/person fee, we started in and were pleasantly surprised.

Fort Mackinac was founded during the American Revolution. The original fort was on the main land where Mackinaw City is now but the British moved it to the island in 1780 when they determined it would be a better location to protect the Straits of Mackinac. The Americans took the fort in 1796 but in the first engagement there during the War of 1812, the British regained the Fort. In 1814, the Americans failed to take it back but after the war, the fort was returned to American control. It was occupied until 1895 when the island became more a summer resort than a center for fur trade.

There were many buildings to explore and lots of interesting facts to absorb. And again, it was a beautiful fall afternoon to be in and out of buildings and enjoying the sunshine as well. Many of the buildings have been restored to what they looked like in the last years of occupation but there are also parts that date back 225 years to original foundations and stonework. 

There are scheduled interpretive talks featuring the firing of a cannon and of course a rifle from the period. All of that was of great interest to the kids that were touring the grounds. Well, it piqued our interest as well. Strangely enough, the rifle made more noise than the cannon but perhaps it was because we were surrounded by buildings when the rifle fired and I think it echoes off the walls. There was also an opportunity for a guided tour but we had already explored much of it on our own and just finished exploring by ourselves. 

There is a tea room where you can get lunch or an afternoon snack. It's run by the Grand Hotel. We didn't have time to check it out since we were there later in the afternoon and it closes at 3. Looked like a nice spot especially with the outdoor seating where you'd get a nice view of the harbor. 

The uniforms the interpretive rangers wore were the type of uniform that was influenced by Prussia which at the time the fort was occupied in the later years was a world power. The uniforms were dress uniforms only though but it was a little disconcerting to see that pointy helmet. 

If you go, don't miss the museum. It's kind of set off in an odd spot but worth making an effort to see. 

One of the fascinating things I found was in the bathhouse. There were rooms with bathtubs but at the end of the row of baths was a stove and a large tank of water that was attached with a pipe to provide heat from the stove and then pipes that ran to the bathtubs. A hot water heater! An unexpect3ed luxury.

By the time the fort was ready to close (at 4), we were ready to call it a day and relax in our room before finding a spot for dinner. The sun was creeping toward the horizon and a few clouds were making it a little more chilly for our walk down the hill to our hotel. We could only hope that the weather forecast that said it would be a dry morning would hold until our bike ride was over in the morning. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...