In the 1630s, the first European set foot on Mackinac Island.

In 1715, the French built Fort Michilimackinac on the tip of what is now Mackinaw City.

In 1780, after the British took control of the fort away from the French, they re-located it to Mackinac Island as Fort Mackinac.

By the late 1800s, tourists began visiting Mackinac Island and it became one of THE places to be. The military significance on the island was pushed to second place, with tourism taking over, which it remains as its #1 focus.

Victorian, 1800s-type homes and cottages sprang up along with unique hotels and boarding houses that appealed to visitors who wanted to stay a few nights on the island.

The making of fudge began in 1887 with Murdick’s Fudge, still there making fudge, with a good handful of other fudgemakers following Murdick’s lead.

The banning of automobiles and other vehicle traffic began in the 1890s and continues.

That was a very brief encapsulation of Mackinac Island’s past. Now take a look below to see what the island looked like over 100 years ago, as far back as 1866!

(Photos are available at



Vintage Photos of Mackinaw City

Deserted Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse

Les Cheneaux Islands

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