Sunday, November 15, 2009

Upper Peninsula Upventure: Mackinac Bridge

As I explained in my Brief History of Copper Mining post, had it not been for a border dispute between Ohio and Michigan, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan probably would have ended up as part of Wisconsin. For the first 119 years of statehood, ferry service across the five mile wide Straits of Mackinac was the only way to travel from lower Michigan to the U.P.

The Mackinac Bridge, connected the two peninsulas in 1957. It's the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, and a real beauty to gaze at. "Mighty Mac" is the only toll bridge on Interstate 75.

Near the bridge on Lake Huron is Mackinac Island, a popular resort where automobiles are banned. I spent a night in St. Ignace, which overlooks the island. I had a great talk with the owner of the hotel where I stayed, he told me that some tourists travel no farther than Mackinaw City--which is on the southern end of the bridge. "They're afraid to cross the bridge," he explained.

That's a shame.

Next: Father Marquette

Related post:

Upper Peninsula Upventure: A brief history of copper mining

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