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“Discover Life in This 18th Century Fort”

Colonial Michilimackinac
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Mackinac Bridge History Cruise
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Treasures from the past come to life at this 18th-century fort and fur trading village. Reconstructed based on historic maps and more than 50 years of archaeological excavations that continue today, Colonial Michilimackinac offers a one-of-a-kind experience from cannon and musket firings to hearth cooking and crafts. Located on the shore of the Straits of Mackinac, visitors of all ages can enjoy the unique perspective from the palisade walls.
Reviewed 4 November 2013

Colonial Michilimackinac is a restored 18th Century fort on the shores of Lake Michigan. Visiting the site enabled us to step back and discover what life was like in this colonial outpost.
This settlement got its start as a trading post in the early 18th Century, when French-Canadian voyageurs from Montreal first arrived to promote the fur trade with local indians. The French later stationed a small garrison, and for the most part respected indian cultures and traditions. However, the British won control of the fort by virtue of their victory in the 1750s French and Indian War. The first British governor of the territory ended all economic aid to indians, which they deeply resented. Tensions bubbled just under the surface until 1763, when a band of indians launched a successful surprise attack. According to the film shown here, the indians invited the British commander and his deputy to watch a lacrosse game outside the walls. At the designated time, the players threw the ball over the fort's wall. When the British opened the gate, the indians captured the British officers outside and killed 15 soldiers inside the fort. This incident was part of a larger indian uprising known as Pontiac's Rebellion.
The rebellion ended with a negotiated settlement: the cruel governor was sent home to London, the captives were released, and economic aid to the territory resumed. It stayed that way until the American Revolution, when the British--realizing that a fort on the shore of Lake Michigan was not defensible--tore it down, took everything they could use, and attempted to blow up what was left.
The restoration work done here shows how the British tried to blow up the magazine, or ammunition bunker, but that they failed. The explosion collapsed the roof, and snuffed out the fire before it could destroy the building.
Besides the magazine, the fort features a number of restored 18th Century buildings, including the commander's home and office, a trader's home (more spacious than the commander's), a soldier's barracks, the community church, and storehouses for supplies. A small museum displays 18th Century artifacts found on site during recent excavations.
Reenactors were in the fort the day we visited to fire muskets on the parade ground and to explain how meals were prepared for soldiers and civilians. Outside the fort,,reenactors explained how indians built their dwellings and how the voyageurs packed their canoes with supplies.
Food is not available at the fort. There are several souvenir stores across the parking lot that serve ice cream, fudge, and candies. Darrow's Family Restaurant is nearby. Finally, while this site is state-owned and operated, it is open only during the May-October "season."

3  Thank BechamelDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 October 2013

What a fabulous place. Great for the family. You can really experience the colonial times. They even have an archeology dig

1  Thank GLOBAL69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2013

This was our first time in Michigan and the historical information presented at the site was very interesting. The site reconstruction, interpreters, setting, and displays were excellent.

1  Thank 19Wayne46_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

Although we visited the fort on the night before it closed for Fort Fright Night, we went back on the last day. I must say, I really like exploring the fort with no crowds. The crowds for the Fright Night even made it impossible to really enjoy the fort at night. But the next day, it was cold, cloudy, windy which provided an interesting backdrop for exploring the fort. Enjoyed the new Row House, the blacksmith, and the lady reenactor (who was knitting) with her two children. All of the reenactors were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. This is an awesome historical experience.

Thank GoingSomewhereAgain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2013

Liked the interpreters that were on site. Very informative. The cannon fire was loud. The long guns were fun too.

Thank Shscott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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