Mackinac County MI

The Old Mackinac Point Light, built in Mackinaw City, Michigan, was a principal lighthouse of the Straits of Mackinac from 1892 until 1957. It housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens, and lit a pathway for lake freighters passing between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Originally, McGulpin Point Lighthouse, located at the west end of Mackinaw City, was used to light the way through the Straits of Mackinac. However, not all vessels approaching the Straits from the west could see it, so Congress enacted legislation authorizing Old Mackinac Point Lightstation to be built in 1889. The first component to be completed was the original fog signal in 1890, and the Light Service appointed George Marshall to maintain the signal. The light tower and attached living quarters were built in 1892 of Cream City brick from Milwaukee. A separate building was built on the lighthouse's grounds in 1907 to house an improved foghorn, and a radio direction-finder beacon was installed in the winter of 1937-1938.

The lighthouse's first keeper, George Marshall, served from 1890 until 1919. His son James served from 1919 until 1940. He was followed by Henrik Olsen in 1940-1951 and by John Campbell in 1951-1957.

In 1957, the Mackinac Bridge was completed and lighted. Its southern approach is a few hundred feet west of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and the new bridge made the lighthouse redundant. The light was doused in that year by the United States Coast Guard.

In 1960 the lighthouse property was purchased by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, incorporating it into surrounding Michilimackinac State Park. The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1969. The lighthouse complex, including the lightkeeper's quarters and tower, was reopened to the public in 2004 by Mackinac State Historic Parks as part of the Fort Michilimackinac complex. The light's original Fresnel lens is on display. An admission fee is charged.