Saturday, August 16, 2014

Surprisenly good visit to Colonial Michilimackinac

Location: Straits State Park; St. Ignace, Michigan
(click pics to enlarge)

The rains began last night about 3:00 and lasted for a few hours. The temperature was in the mid 50's with a chilly breeze. I was concerned about the weather so I changed plans and went to explore Colonial Michilimackinac. I had a good time and by the time I finished wandering around and asking questions, 3 1/2 hours had passed. Over 100 pictures were taken of the place and surroundings. I have selected about 25 to post here.

Colonial Michilimackinac started out as French trading post in 1715. The French made friends with the local Indians and a common bond developed between the two. The Indians would trade furs and other things of value for the trade goods of the French. These trade goods included guns, gunpowder, knives, cloth, etc. This relationship was very profitable for both of them for nearly 50 years. In 1761, the French surrendered Michilimackinac to the British as a result of the British winning the French and Indian war. It didn't take long for the British to alienate the Indians which resulted in an uprising by them in 1763. While pretending to play a game of baaga'adowe (like lacrosse or field hockey) outside of the walls of the fort, the Indians surprised the British and stormed the fort. They killed all of the British and held the fort for one year. When the British reinforcements arrived, a deal was made between the new British commander and the Indians to treat the Indians how the French had treated them.

The British had learned a valuable lesson and all was well until 1781. The British were concerned about the new American country that had recently won their freedom. They were concerned the Americans would want the fort/trading post and it was indefensible. The British commander decided to relocate the post to Mackinac Island which was easier to defend. The entire fort/post was disassembled and moved to the island. They used cargo canoes and ships during the warm months and oxen and wagons during the winter when the Great Lakes would freeze. It took them two years but finally moved everything to the island and burned what couldn't be moved. That was the end of Michilimackinac until the late 1950's when archeologists re-discovered the site and began excavations. Partly based on the results of the excavations, the area was placed on the National Historic Landmark list. The fort/trading post has since been reconstructed and archeologists continue their excavations.

The reconstructed site is on the south side of the straits so I had to cross the Big Mac bridge again. The weather was cloudy which made each picture a little different as the light changed. The bridge is in a lot of the pictures because it dominates everything around this area because of it's size.
The Mighty Mac with the main tower
in the clouds.

The Mighty Mac

A nice view of the bridge
from Michilimackinac

Reconstructed Indian camp outside
of the trading post

A teepee made out of  tree bark

The lady is teaching the kids
to play baaga'adowe

The walls of the fort/trading post

The Mighty Mac in the background
with a cannon in the foreground. They fire the
cannon about every hour.

A volunteer acting as a fur trader
with his birch bark canoe
and trading goods.

The outhouse. :)

The Outhouse building

The Blacksmith working. I looked over
some of this work and enjoyed talking
to him. He had made some hinges with a
brass color to them. He said if you
rub the hot iron with brass, some of
the brass rubs off and gives the metal
a brass color. Very interesting.

The French had a large church
and had converted many of the local Indians.

This lady was acting as the baker for the
fort/trading post. The bowl on the left contains
flour and water. It is being used to catch
yeast from the air to begin a
sourdough starter.

The mud oven used to bake bread. Each
man at the fort needed almost one loaf
per day.

An overall view of the fort/post. The existing
archeological dig is in the middle.

Row houses that the non-military
people lived

The ongoing archeological dig. I visited
with the people for a while. Nice visit.

The Mighty Mac from one of the watchtowers

The buildings inside the fort/post

Notice the canoe stored under
the lean-to on the left.

The bridge and walkway

A garden being grown by the volunteers

Lake Huron from one of the watchtowers

The fort/trading post

The walls and a watchtower

The fort

A nice looking Tree

The Mighty Mackinac Bridge
with a thinking bench

This was strange. These were in the bathroom
located inside the fort. I have never seen
hand dryers like this before. Fancy new
technology in a reconstructed fort
from the 1700's.

How could I resist eating lunch at this place
after visiting Michilimackinac. The dogs
were great.
Ya'll take care of each other. Cya down the road.

1 comment:

  1. Mrs. McMillan's classAugust 20, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    They LOVE the pictures of the bridge!!! They ohh and ahh at the bridge pictures!