The Mill House at Old Mill Creek in Mackinaw City Michigan
If you're planning your next visit to a place this is not only historic, but beautiful, and you love 18th century destinations, add Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park in Mackinaw City. This is part of the Michigan State Parks, specifically the Historic Mackinac Parks. We purchased a summer pass this past summer so that we'd have admission to multiple locations for research (and enjoyment!) If you've got kids with you, or adventurous adults, they even have zip lines here and hiking trails.
As indicated on the sign above, Robert Campbell built the first sawmill in Michigan here near the Straits of Mackinac and aided the British in supplying lumber to build Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island. There is also a house on the site, representative of the miller's home during this time frame and beyond (look for a future post).
When you arrive at the park, you'll enter via the store. I'd been bringing my heroine Maude around to visit various and sundry places in the area while I was up North all of July. Above is a picture of the fun employees at the store who posed for a picture with her -- wink wink! (The cover of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring.)
You'll want to find out when their historian will be speaking and take a bench to hear his fascinating discussion of Mill Creek.
After the initial presentation you'll go inside the Mill House. Again, the historian will tell you more history but also demonstrate how the saw works. The blade is really huge, see below!
Below is a brief video clip. Since my great-grandfather and other family members were some of the lumberjacks who cut down some of the great white pines, I cringed a little during this part of his speech!
You'll be instructed to go outside to see how the wheel works. It makes a beautiful sound.
Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park -- Mackinaw City Michigan? Would you like to? Were you surprised that the miss was operational as early as 1760?
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D. is the Administrator of the Colonial Quills blog and author of RT Book Reviews Top Pick My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring. She enjoys history, research, and travel which comes in handy for coming up with her own pictures for many of her blog posts on Colonial Quills.