Fort Holmes, the highest point on Mackinac Island, had been a strategic location for the military during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Built by the British and named in honor of King George, the fort was later turned over to the United States in 1815. It was then named Fort Holmes, in rememberance of Major Andrew Holmes who died in battle on Mackinac Island the previous year.
The fort decayed over time, but in 1937, as part of The New Deal, the Progress Works Administration (WPA) rebuilt the fort to it's original appearance.
A film crew documented WPA projects around Michigan and the Fort Holmes project was part of the hour-long documentary. The film is now part of the Public Domain collection within the National Archives.
I have edited the video below so it features just the Mackinac Island portion of the film. The video includes some scenes of Fort Mackinac and the downtown district, likely in early 1937 before moving to the Fort Holmes laborers hard at work.
If you haven't made the trip to Fort Holmes, here is what it has looked like more recently:
In 2013, Mackinac State Historic Parks announced the reconstruction of Fort Holmes to it's original appearance, along with interpretive exhibits for visitors.
While most visitors will never see Fort Holmes, I hope those that do will now not only enjoy one of the best views on the island, but see another part of Mackinac Island's history come to life.
In a continuing series this summer, I'm featuring guest bloggers who are sharing their experiences and insights on Mackinac Island. Our second guest blogger, Brenda Horton, who writes her own blog, Bree's Connecting the Dots has graciously shared some of her favorite little secrets about the island with us. Thank you, Brenda!
Returning to Mackinac Island as a vacationer - instead of a home owner - happened to the Horton clan a couple of weeks ago for the first time in six years.
I found myself taking notes on what felt different about the trip, since we could no longer answer the oft-asked question, "Where are you staying on the island?" with "Oh, we have a condo here." It embarrasses me to admit I loved saying that and watching visitors' eyes widen with wistfulness; but I can say it without guilt because before we bought on the island, my eyes widened the same way when we'd meet someone who owned Mackinac property. I'd be - in turn - awed, wistful, and OK - downright jealous.
But . . .those days are gone, and we're slowly adjusting to our new normal (sigh). We are once again visitors/vacationers/fudgies/tourists (well, OK, we're not fudgies). We check in and out of wherever we're staying just like 95% of the other visitors to Mackinac. And that's fine because, after all, where you put your head down on the pillow at night is not what's important on Mackinac Island. What's important is that you "get it", and if you "get" Mackinac, it doesn't matter if you're there for a day trip, a week-long vacation, a month, or a season.
My husband Ted and I learned many years ago that to truly experience Mackinac you have to get off the two main streets and go up into the island. You need to get yourself a map from the Tourism Bureau and explore all the trails - even those with funny names - like Morning Snack,…Continue
UPDATED JULY 3RD: Fourth of July on Mackinac Island is day of celebration filled with events to keep you and your family busy until late in the evening. On this day, Mackinac Island is especially patriotic and feels like a step back to an earlier time in our country's history. American flags and red, white and blue bunting can be found throughout downtown and Fort Mackinac adding to the festive atmosphere.
Here are my recommendations for a fun-filled Independence Day on Mackinac Island.
July 3rd - 6:00PM – Attend the re-dedication ceremony of the newly restored Statue of Liberty replica near the marina and across the street from Marquette Park. Mackinac Island American Legion Post #299 raised over $50,000 in donations to restore Lady Liberty and place her in a more prominent location at the marina. https://www.facebook.com/AmericanLegion299
July 4th -10:00AM – Stone-skipping begins at Windermere Point with kid's stone-skipping, games and family activities. Be sure to wear your red, white and blue! A film crew will be on site recording the stone-skipping event this year! http://stoneskipping.com/
12Noon – The professionals of stone-skipping begin competition. The big names in stone-skipping, including last years champion will be in attendance. The Stone-Skipping Hall of Fame Trophy will also be on display! This is a fun, family event that always draws a crowd. You’ll be surprised how far those stones skip! http://stoneskipping.com/Continue
Win a box of Original Murdick’s Fudge in celebration of National Fudge Day on June 16th!
The daily winner will select five slices of fudge from Murdick’s Summer Selections of 17 sweet flavors. The fudge will be shipped directly from Murdick’s Mackinac Island fudge kitchen to any address in the USA!
There’s no better way to celebrate National Fudge Day than with Original Murdick’s Fudge. Murdick's makes their sweet fudge using only natural ingredients, including Michigan produced sugar, cream and maple sugar.
Watch Murdick's fudge maker Carnel as he creates a batch of chocolate fudge.
Original Murdick’s Fudge and Mackinac Island Blog celebrate National Fudge Day with Mackinac Island's sweetest treat!
RULES: No purchase required. Winners selected at random from members of the Mackinac Island Blog or from fans who have 'liked' our Mackinac Island Blog Facebook page. Daily prize value approximately $40, which includes shipping to addresses…Continue