Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was built by German-born John Peter Schmitt and his crew in 1892. For a period of 66 years the faithful light and its keepers kept watch over the ships passing through the Straits of Mackinac. John Campbell was the last keeper when the lighthouse was closed in December 1957. The closing coincided with the completion and opening of the Mackinac Bridge in November of 1957.
The highly illuminated bridge served as a navigation tool, which rendered the light obsolete. In 1960, the property was acquired by the Mackinac State Historic Parks and operated as a maritime museum from 1972 through 1988.
As lighthouses have garnered more attention in recent years, plans to restore this venerated old beauty have arisen. The Mackinac State Historical Parks is the driving force behind raising funds for the restoration. To help with the fundraising, the Fog Signal House at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has been opened as a Lighthouse Museum and Gift Shop.
Funds for restoration are also being raised through tours of the lighthouse. Tours begin May 15 and run through October 8, 2006. The lighthouse always opens at 9 a.m., but the closing times range from 4 to 5 p.m. throughout the season.
Adult admission is $6 and children (ages 6-17) are $3.50. If you are staying in the Mackinaw City area for a few days you could purchase Three 1-day passes to either Fort Mackinac, Colonial Michilimackinac, Historic Mill Creek, or Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse for $20 for adults and $12.50 for children (ages 6-17).
The Lighthouse Museum Store will also be open in 2006 from May 15 â€“ October 8 from 9 a.m. to no later than 5:30 p.m.