Mackinaw Bridge … Mackinac or Mackinaw?

Mackinaw Bridge

Mackinaw Bridge, photo by wyoming_1.

David Vernon writes:

An interesting picture. Taken from the somewhat world famous Cupola Bar at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, looking west towards the wonderful Mackinaw Bridge. The sun was behind the clouds and setting fast but not entirely influencing life at the bridge colorwise.This shot was taken through a window but you have to look hard to see any reflection.

He can probably be excused for getting the last letter of the bridge wrong (though he is out of the spelling bee!) as he lives near the Mackinaw River in Illinois. Besides, it’s  confusing to know whether it’s Mackinac or Mackinaw. Regarding “Mackinac or Mackinaw?”, the St. Ignace Chamber says:

The native people called the area Michinni-makinong. The name was shortened over the years by French and British settlers. In the 1600s, the French pronounced the ending as “aw”, which translated to their spelling as “ac”. Michilimackinac, Fort Mackinac, Mackinac Island the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge are spelled with an “ac”, but pronounced “aw”. Upon the arrival of the British, a village established as Mackinaw was pronounced as “aw” and also spelled that way.

Basically, the bridge and the island are “ac” and the city is “aw”.

4 thoughts on “Mackinaw Bridge … Mackinac or Mackinaw?

  1. As the spelling-impaired photographer in question – I plead the fifth. I was kinda proud of myself for realizing there was a difference to begin with – but now I’m just glad to know FINALLY which is which.

    Glad y’all like the picture – I wish I got up there more then once a year – and almost always in October. It’s a great time to get to Mackinac Island though, and the Grand Hotel for the Murder Mystery Weekend (end shameless self-promotion).

    Michigan is an amazing state though and making the drive from Central Illinois, where my wife and I live, to Mackinac Island, in October, is ALWAYS a wonderfully colorful, jaw-dropping fall beauty of a drive.


    1. It’s been almost 14 years since I left the comment immediately above – and glad to still know the valuable lesson between ac and aw… This shot was definitely one of my favorite Mackinac Island pics ever – and now have 31 trips under my belt to that little island. Anyway – a hoot to see this 14 years later – hope all is well with all of you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awesome!! So glad you’ve been able to get to know Mackinac Island. It’s one of my hands down favorite Michigan places! Thank you for checking back in David!


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