Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Postcards from the Lake: A Historic Fort

Today we continue our visit to Mackinac Island and the historic Fort Mackinac. This is a storied spot that was occupied at various times by the French (prior to 1763), the British (through 1796) and then regained by the British in in the War of 1812, following defeat of the American forces. According to the film we saw on the island, the attack on the fort by the British was the first shot of the War of 1812.


It's easy to see why the fort would be at a critical spot on the island. To get to the entrance, you climb a hill. Then you climb up, up, up a long ramp (seen in white on the photo above) to get to the fort itself. (The bluffs are 150 feet -- almost straight up!) The picture below gives you a better idea of the hill that you go up before you even start your climb to the fort itself!


It also had a number of block houses on various sides -- but even so, the north side of the island wasn't visible, at least in those days. (And maybe now.) It was from the north that the British attacked. They were joined by their Native American allies, the relationship forged during earlier British occupation. The Americans surrendered without a fight.


 The fort stayed in the control of the British through the War of 1812, then returning to the Americans, serving as a strategic troop reserve. Commanders and their families would be stationed there and there was a school and various lodgings. Those for the soldiers were more humble and rigorous.


Those of the families would be more typical of the time and in lovely homes, but within the fort walls.


And the beds looked much more comfy than the soldiers' barracks!


When the island became America's second national park, Army troops stationed at the fort served as rangers. I wish I'd taken photos of the bath house and canteen, with its pool table and bar. It was considered a desirable station. They also held drills and today you can see a small group of re-enactors perform some of the drills they learned, then answer questions and talk to visitors. The kids love this especially! Other costumed interpreters are in some of the shop areas or simply around the grounds to answer questions, costumed in 1880s outfits.



The island is now managed by the Mackinac Island State Park commission and is considered a state park. While the only cost to come to the island is the hefty ferry boat fee, admission to the fort helps cover expenses and also includes admission to several other historic properties on the island, as well as an art museum.


The Island is considered one of the largest parks in the country that generates a major part of its operating budget. This helps fund the various properties including the 14 historic buildings inside the fort as well as the other historic sites.


Oh, and I forgot to mention -- it has one of the best views on the Island!

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40 comments:

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is good that people pay attention to history in this way.

My Grama's Soul said...

Good morning Jeanie......looks like you had a wonderful trip to Mackinac. Brad and I were there years ago....we took a ferry to get there and stayed in the Grand Hotel. The one thing I remember about the hotel is that NONE of the doors were plumb. You could see light around the entire door and the floors were not level you would sit something down and it would slide across the room. Ahhhh....MEMORIES! Looks like you are making some great ones.

Have a wonderful day.

Jo

Valerie-Jael said...

That seems to be a very interesting place to visit, I would love it there. Thanks for your mail, glad you liked my book treasures and memories. Hugs, Valerie

Susie said...

Jeanie, I have never been to Mackinac Island. My daughter Kathy has and truly love it. Some history and lots of pretty sights. Plus on the water. Fun times. Glad you had a nice time there. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Such an important part of our history and a beautiful place to visit.

William Kendall said...

The fort is very impressive!

Mae Travels said...

Did you buy the cookbook? I haven't been there, but I found it very interesting in the way it reconstructed historic foods of the earliest times at the fort.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Sandi said...

"the French (prior to 1763), the British (through 1796)"

It is so hard to imagine this. The world was so different then.

Sandra Cox said...

It looks wondrous, although the soldiers' barracks looked pretty austere.
Let's hope it doesn't get sold off.

My name is Erika. said...

We visited couple of forts in North Dakota and it is always fascinating when they have people dressed and reenacting life. The officers barracks do look much more comfy than any soldiers barracks I have seen. But funny how they are similar to what we saw. I guess it was style of the times. Thanks for sharing Jeanie. And yup, Cleveland and Michigan are now on my travel to do list. Hugs-Erika

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I had no idea about this fort, Jeanie. Thank you for sharing its story. How wonderful it is preserved for all to learn more about the history that took place there. You certainly covered a lot of territory on your visit--so nice.

Miss Val's Creations said...

So much history. How fantastic costumed re-enactors are there to talk with the public.

Prims By The Water said...

Loved visiting the fort each time I have been on the island. Also love the church! Janice

Homeia said...

wow! It looks wonderful! The fort is very impressive!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

That fort is quite impressive. I can see why it would be a good place to visit. I was really impressed, but I fear getting to it would not be disable friendly. Those uniforms looked hot. I guess it's not the 105 + temps we are experiencing here. It's a lovely place and your photos were fabulous.

Iris Flavia said...

Impressive!
Oh, those tiny soldier-beds side by side, imagine, just one snoring would drive me nuts!
But also the regular bed looks rather small.
We still have my Brothers old IKEA bed and my FIL always teases me asking where "the other one" sleeps...
Yes, I can imagine especially the kids love to learn from "real soldiers from back then"!
Looks like you had a great time :-)

Olka said...

Historic Fort is nothing I would like to visit (I wouldn't find it interesting I think) but I'm glad you enjoyed your trip :)
But I have to admit, the view in the last photo is incredible ;)

Pamela said...

I love visiting historic places!

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, what a lovely and historic fort, how did I miss this in American History? Thanks so much for sharing the interesting history.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

The fort is impressive. It is nice they have the group in costume to answer questions. I like the views of the island and the last view and photo is gorgeous. Wishing you a happy day!

roughterrain crane said...

Amazing! The fort is preserved very well.

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

I love going to the island. The fort and surrounding buildings are a so interesting. Love seeing the children play old fashioned games there and it’s so nice that they have entrepreneurs to interact. Mackinac Island is a treasure!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Love the history of the location and the photos to help describe it all!

Linda said...

It's on my bucket list. Nice to be able to visit it vicariously through an adept tour guide♥

Sami said...

The view from your last photo was worth the visit. Also enjoyed the visit to the fort and the staff dressed up in the old uniforms.
Lovely visit Jeanie.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Such a beautiful historic spot, I love that it is valued and preserved and generations later people can enjoy it!
Jenna

R's Rue said...

Beautiful.

Sandra Cox said...

Just mentioned to the HH we should try this for a vacay. You may have mentioned this before, but how did you find the prices?

Anca said...

The fort looks lovely. I think the re-enactors add a lot to the whole experience. It's interesting to see and learn about the history of the place as well.

The Liberty Belle said...

Looks like a great trip! I love Mackinac Island. I trip to Joann's for their chocolate peanut butter fudge and the maple walnut fudge are always a 'must do' when I go. Great post.

Lynne said...

Thanks Jeanie.
Very informative. It has been many years since I have visited Mackinaw Island.
And that turned into more of a hiking, bicycle event instead of learning about Fort Mackinaw.
Your post has heightened an interest to visit the island and Fort Mackinaw, again.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeanie,
Absolutely stunning pictures!! I especially love the Victorian parlor....Thanks so much for all your visits!!
Hugs,
Debbie

krishna said...

Great historical place to visit.

BeachGypsy said...

Howdy there Jeanie, I loved this post and learning all about this neat old fort! Such history there and you know how I love that plus I've never been there and knew nothing of this history......so glad you posted this. Blogging is so fun and interesting, we make friends and can learn so much about different part of our country, and our world. So many people think I'm so weird to be so intrigued by dusty old history books and walking the historic streets of our city as well as other cities too. But I love hearing the stories of the people who came before us, to me is is fascinating. Hope you are having a great week! PS...I've heard the island is a beautiful place to visit, who knows---maybe someday I can get there.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, such history. I enjoyed this post very much. Mackinac Island is a place I very much want to visit.

Happy day to you, Jeanie.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I've had many wonderful trips to Mackinac Island, and now you've got me wanting to go again. Of course, your photos and stories are so wonderful, I kind of feel as if I've just had a mini-vacation! I can hear the clippity-clop of the horses' hooves. My husband couldn't believe how fast I was going on my bike last time there; he suspected I just wanted to get back within the time limit so I wouldn't have to pay for another hour! :D

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Mackinac Island is one of the jewels of Michigan. Gorgeous photos!

Lowcarb team member said...

What an interesting place to visit, loved seeing your photographs.

All the best Jan

NanaDiana said...

I love Mackinac Island! I haven't been there in years but like to go during the 'off season' when it is not so crowded....and OH! The fudge shops! xo Diana

Kitty said...

Hi Jeanie, Thanks so much for the tour. It was delightful.

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