The Straits of Mackinac is the narrow waterway separating Michigan's upper peninsula from its lower peninsula and connecting two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Five miles wide and 120 feet deep, the Straits is known as one of the busiest crossroads for shipping in the Great lakes and historically has long been considered hazardous to sailing vessels. Even before European explorers, Ojibwa lit the shore with fires for water travelers.

A fog signal was built at the Straits in 1890, and Congress authorized the building of a lighthouse in 1892. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was constructed of ashlar limestone and the attached keeper's dwelling was constructed of brick trimmed in limestone. The double-walled cylindrical tower has an outside diameter of 13 feet 4 inches and is 45 feet tall. The tower was originally outfitted with a fourth order Fresnel Lens.

With the completion of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957 there was no longer a need for the lighthouse, since the bridge has lights on at night. In 1960, the lighthouse property was purchased by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1969. 

Today the lighthouse is open to the public. Admission is through the fog signal building, which houses the museum store, and an admission fee is charged. Pets are welcome. 

On my most recent visit I was lucky to be there at sunrise and was impressed by the beach views! This is surely a "do not miss" Pure Michigan destination.


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