More about the Grand Hotel on Michigan in Pictures.
Fort Michilimackinac was built by the French on the south shore of the Straits of Mackinac in approximately 1715. Previously, French presence in the Straits area was focused in what is now St. Ignace where Father Marquette established a Jesuit mission in 1671 and Fort de Baude was established around 1683. In 1701, Cadillac moved the French garrison from St. Ignace to Detroit, which led to the closing of the mission and considerably reduced French occupation in the area. Several years later, as the French sought to expand the fur trade, they built Fort Michilimackinac to re-establish a French presence in the Straits area.
Fort Michilimackinac was a strategically located fortified trading post. The fort was not built primarily as a military facility but as a link in the French trade system, which extended from Montreal through the Great Lakes region and northwest to Lake Winnipeg and beyond. Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, the fort served as a supply post for French traders operating in the western Great Lakes region and as a primary stopping-off point between Montreal and the western country. Fort Michilimackinac was an island of French presence on the frontier from which the French carried out the fur trade, sought alliances with native peoples, and protected their interests against the colonial ambitions of other European nations.
In 1761 the French relinquished Fort Michilimackinac to the British who had assumed control of Canada as a result of their victory in the French and Indian War. Under the British, the fort continued to serve as a major fur trade facility. The Ottawa and Chippewa in the Straits area, however, found British policies harsh compared to those of the French and they resented the British takeover. In 1763 as part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, a group of Chippewa staged a ball game outside the stockade to create a diversion and gain entrance to the post and then attacked and killed most of the British occupants. The use of Fort Michilimackinac came to an end in 1781 when the British abandoned the post and moved to Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island.
You can get more including visitor information at Colonial Michilimackinac and also check out this History Channel program on Pontiac’s Rebellion (the Michilimackinac story is about 20 minutes in).
More from Mackinac on Michigan in Pictures!
The annual Labor Day Bridge walk across the Mackinac Bridge takes place this Monday (September 2, 2013). UpNorthLive reports that you can turn your Labor Day bridge walk into a one of a kind experience with a trip to the top of the Mighty Mac!
More than 40,000 people are expected to participate in the 56th Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk which will take on Monday, Sept. 2.
For the second year in a row, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Mackinac Bridge Authority are asking the public to share their Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk experiences on social media with photos and videos. One person sharing their memories will be chosen at random to receive a once-in-a-lifetime tour to the top of the Mackinac Bridge.
Through Monday, Sept. 9, you can post your memories of walking the bridge, either this year or in a previous year, on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MightyMacWalk13. Memories can include photos or videos.
A lucky person whose entry is chosen at random by computer will receive a tour for two to the top of the bridge, courtesy of the MBA. The person who travels the furthest to walk the bridge this year and post a memory will win a Pure Michigan gift pack, courtesy of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Read on for more and check out the pics on Twitter and Instagram. Get all the details on the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk from the Mackinac Bridge Authority. If you want to see what it looks like from the top, check out my friend Spike’s Mackinac Bridge slideshow!
Much more on the Mackinac Bridge at Michigan in Pictures!
This year marks the 250th anniversary of the most dramatic event at Fort Michilimackinac. On June 2, 1763 the fort was captured by Ojibwa & Sauk warriors, who gathered under the guise of playing a huge game of baggatiway. Elizabeth Edwards of Traverse Magazine has an in-depth article about the massacre that begins:
Under an unusually hot sun on a late spring day on the Straits of Mackinac, British Major George Etherington, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, was suffering from an acute case of cultural blindness. And there was no excuse for it. Relaxed at the sidelines of a rousing game of baggatiway (similar to lacrosse) outside the fort, the major should have seen the danger signs in this Ojibwe versus Sauk contest of sweaty, half-naked bodies painted with white clay and charcoal.
The 30-year-old officer was born in the colonies, and most likely grew up on stories of Indian uprisings. He’d even served in the just-ending French and Indian War, in which the English had wrested control of North America from the French—a victory that had put this previously French fort in Etherington’s care. Though the major had been raised on American soil and had fought on it, he was still English. And in that country, a battle was a battle, and a sporting event was a sporting event.
Perhaps that explains why the major missed the clues…
Definitely read on for much more at Traverse! Every Memorial Weekend on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, they re-enact this event and much more of the fort’s history in the annual Fort Michilimackinac Pageant. Next Sunday (June 2) they will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the attack at Michilimackinac at the fort as they open the new South Southwest Rowhouse.
Robert has some more good information about the events at the fort including a link to the painting The Conspiracy – Fort Michilimackinac by Robert Griffing that imagines the planning of the massacre. See his photo background bigtacular and see more in his My Neighborhood slideshow.
More from the Straits of Mackinac & Mackinac Island on Michigan in Pictures.
Mackinac Island is one of Michigan’s coolest places, drawing over 10,000 visitors a day for much of the summer. Winter on Mackinac is different though, and something that many of us never get to see.
The Arnold Line says that they keep boats running across until early January. After that, islanders use a six-seater plane operated by Great Lakes Air. Once the straits freeze (usually by February) folks can cross on snowmobiles, following the “bridge” marked by Christmas trees in the snow and ice between the Island and St. Ignace (click for a video).
If you’re interested in checking out the island in winter, the Mackinac Island Winter Festival takes place next weekend (February 1-3) at Great Turtle Park. The fun includes a bonfire cook out, sledding, snow golf, archery, snow volleyball, and broom hockey.
In 1886, the Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The group purchased the land on which the hotel was built and construction began, based upon the design by Detroit architects Mason and Rice. When it opened the following year, the hotel was advertised to Chicago, Erie, Montreal and Detroit residents as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrived by lake steamer and by rail from across the continent. At its opening, nightly rates at the hotel ranged from US$3 to US$5 a night.
Grand Hotel’s front porch is purportedly the longest in the world at some 660 feet (200 m) in length, overlooking a vast Tea Garden and the resort-scale Esther Williams swimming pool.
Mackinac Island’s grande dame of lodging, recently named among the top 50 hotels in North America, is hosting its fourth wildly popular Celebrate Michigan promotion, during which residents of the state can stay for half the hotel’s usual rate.
The package costs $95 per person, per night (taxes and fees are extra), and is offered Sept. 11, Sept. 20-22, Oct. 3 and Oct 23. It includes one night’s lodging, a full breakfast and five-course dinner, Michigan-themed reception and complimentary golf green fees.
I feel like I have to mention a particular movie that was shot here so let me say that if you’re interested, you probably better act fast so you can be somewhere in time for this offer which usually sells out. ;)
Seriously, while there’s no doubt that the Grand Hotel can be a little hoity, but the Mackinac Island landmark is also one of the coolest properties in Michigan. This morning I sorted through photos of the Grand Hotel from the water, the Grand Hotel’s signature front porch (including a very interesting composition on the porch), a panorama of the Grand Hotel and even a sight I’d never seen in quite this way, the Grand Hotel at night. Next year the hotel turns 125, so I’ll return then for some of the history and such.