2018-06-09 / News

Historic Downtown Mackinac Open for Season

The four downtown state park museums will open for the summer Saturday, June 9.

McGulpin House on Fort Street dates to at least 1780 and is a rare example of early French Canadian domestic architecture. The house is preserved as an architectural artifact, with a program that highlights the historic architecture of Mackinac Island.

The American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum, around the corner on Market Street, used to be a store that sold a variety of general merchandise. It was here, June 6, 1822, that French Canadian voyageur Alexis St. Martin was accidentally shot in the stomach. Fort Mackinac surgeon William Beaumont kept Mr. St. Martin alive, but the hole in his stomach never completely closed. Through this hole, Dr. Beaumont conducted experiments, observed the workings of the human stomach, and discovered much about the digestive process.

The museum is staffed by a costumed interpreter and features a period setting of what the store looked like in the 1820s with a gallery exhibit on Dr. Beaumont.

The Biddle House on Market Street was originally constructed about 1780 and has been restored to its 1830s appearance. Edward and Agatha Biddle purchased the home in 1831 and reared their family there. Mr. Biddle was an independent fur trader, businessman, and held offices in the community. Today, costumed interpreters at this house demonstrate the domestic life of Mackinac’s fur trade era.

Next door is Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, originally built in the 1880s and operated until the 1960s. The Benjamins fixed carriage wheels and showed horses in the early days and repaired lawnmowers and maintained yacht motors in later years. Today, visitors can witness a blacksmith demonstrate and explain traditional blacksmithing techniques. Entrance is through the Biddle House.

All four sites, operated by Mackinac State Historic Parks, can be entered with the same ticket used for Fort Mackinac. They will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

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