Scenic USA - Michigan

Mackinac Point Lighthouse

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Mackinac Point Lightstation - Mackinac Island State Park, Macinaw City, Michigan

Photo by Jack Ryan
Jack Ryan Photography

   The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was positioned on the southeast tip of the Straits of Mackinac, guiding ships through the narrowest part of the channel. Following a two million dollar restoration, the light station is now an outstanding attraction at the Mackinac Island State Park. The island and lighthouse have retained their French pronunciation, and the ending "C" is pronounced like a "W", making it Mackinaw.
   This scene captures a freshly renovated light station, returned to its early 1900s appearance. Its brightly colored red roof was designed to increase visibility from offshore during daylight hours, and now adds one more aesthetically pleasing element to the handsome light station.
   Built of Cream City brick and trimmed with Indiana limestone, the light station housed light keepers and their families until 1957 when service was not longer needed. With automobile traffic ever increasing during the 1950s, a bridge over the Straits of Mackinac was needed to ease the slow ferry service. The new bridge, The Mighty Mac, also doubled as a landmark for ship traffic, signaling the end for the 65 year old lighthouse.
   In 1960 the lighthouse property was purchased by the park commission, adding the lighthouse to the Mackinac State Historic Parks. After its restoration was complete in 2004 the light station was opened to the public. Tours of the lighthouse are offered throughout the day with no additional charge. The keeper's quarters, including the kitchen, dining room and parlor, have also been restored in keeping with its historic appearance. The light's original Sautter and Lemonier 4th order Fresnel lens is also on display, one of a variety of original artifacts at the Shipwreck Museum.

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