Colonial Michilimackinac, Fort Michilimackinac State Park

Fort Michilimackinac has an interesting history. Occupied starting in 1715, the fort served as center for fur trade for the French followed by the British before being moved in 1781 from its position on the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula overlooking the straits between Lake Huron and Lake Superior to Mackinac Island. Construction began as an outpost in the Great Lakes fur-trading network but by 1715 the French had reinforced the palisades and expanded development. More or less peaceably relinquished to the British in 1761 following the French and Indian War, the fort continued operation though relations with the local Ojibwe fur traders deteriorated until the garrison was attacked in 1763. After reoccupying the fort, the British held onto it until 1781 when they moved it to the nearby Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac in an attempt to control shipping traffic.

Today the fort operates as a living history museum, staffed with highly knowledgeable guides who provided us with a wealth of information about the history and particularly, the details of daily life during the fort’s occupation by the French and the British. In addition, it contains an excellent archaeological exhibit that details the ongoing excavations and explains how the recovered artifacts were used in recreating the fort as it stands today.

View across courtyard, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View across courtyard, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Southwest Rowhouse, garden, and bread oven, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Southwest Rowhouse, garden, and bread oven, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Archaeological excavation, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Archaeological excavation, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Colonial kitchen, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Colonial kitchen, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Colonial kitchen, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Colonial kitchen, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

House of a married enlisted British soldier within rowhouse ca. 1774-1781, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

House of a married enlisted British soldier within rowhouse ca. 1774-1781, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Seasonal living quarters for a trader, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Seasonal living quarters for a trader, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

French-era guardhouse, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

French-era guardhouse, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Piquet House, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

Piquet House, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View down on Merchant's House, Trader's House and Soldier's House backyards, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View down on Merchant’s House, Trader’s House and Soldier’s House backyards, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View down on rowhouse, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View down on rowhouse, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View along the palisades, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

View along the palisades, Fort Michilimackinac State Park, Michigan

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