Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fort Mackinac - A trip back (further) in time.....

Not long after setting foot back on solid ground, and walking around a bit (bark chapel etc) we decided to visit Fort Mackinac.

This fort was built by the British in 1780 - and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and the odd fight ended up occupied by the Americans. In the 1800's it didn't do much as from a military standpoint - being a place for reserves, and acting as a prison for a while.
It became a National Park towards the end of the 1800's and, as such, housed US Army soldiers. It has since became part of the Mackinac State Park.

The fort now houses not soldiers, but State employees dressed in period garb - as seen above. They eagerly fire off their 45-70 Springfields - and frightened the kids.

Above - a pic of a pic of the main building in the fort in 1890, and below, a pic of it now. You can see they try to do a good job in keeping it as it was.

Above, the well dug out by the british, which bore through 150 feet of rock!!!

We got to watch the cannon demo, and our little girl got to help cleaning it out. Quite a bang!

Above is a view of the front of the fort. Weather-wise, it was dreary and foggy early in the morning.

A kitchen in one of the residences inside the walls of the fort

The soldiers who called this place home were often bored, and what better thing to do when bored than drink beer. Now, with a town so close and plenty bars, they often wandered down there, drank heavily, got into fights and caused all sorts of problems. So, fair play to the Army - they came up with a genius solution. Instead of banning drinking, they opened a bar inside the fort. Below is what it looked like.
The beer was the 'best', 'Shlitz, Milwaukee'. Hey, at least it wasn'y Budweiser.
And you could even have a game of pool.

Just to the left of the entrance was the guard house. Which also had a cell. What had been covered up sometime during the American period was the Black Hole you see below.
Looking at the state of it, it was a bit more of a crime deterrent than the cell. Particularity if the ball and chain in the pic below was used.

Of course, you can't beat a good flogging.

Above and below - the Post Bathhouse, where the soldiers were expected to take a bath once a week.

We were treated to some Military music, singing, dancing, and a court martial while there. It's a very cool place to visit - there is the hospital (with information on Dr. Beaumont), a school, the old corner sentry posts, stores and much more.

Even with two kids, we spent about 3 hours there. Very much worth the $32 total admission price.

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