The McGulpin House on Mackinac Island has been long believed to be one of the  - if not the – oldest private homes in Michigan.

Past records stated that the house was probably constructed in the 1780s, but new research seems to have conclusive proof it was built in 1790-1791. What research, you might ask? According to Mackinac Parks, “an analysis of the home's structural timbers indicates that they were hand-sawn with a pit saw, which indicates that the timbers were cut prior to the construction of the Mill Creek sawmill in or about 1790.”

As far as the home's original dwellers, there are two theories:
1) A family residence
2) Before it got moved to its present location, it had been located on the east end of town near Ste. Anne's Church; it very well may have built specifically for the church's priest.

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Another interesting tidbit: the house very well could have been built in Mackinaw City (then called the “Michilimackinac Community”). When the Mackinac Straits froze during the winter, some homes were taken apart and transported over to Mackinac Island in 1780, where they were re-assembled. This has been thought a possibility for the McGulpin House, but the dates don't seem to match up, since latest research says it was built ten years later.

In 1819 the house was purchased by William McGulpin, an employee of the American Fur Company, who baked bread for the organization; McGulpin moved into the house with his wife and slew of children. Over the last couple of centuries, the house became known as a perfect example of a working-class home from that era.

In 1982, the house was re-located to its current site, just across the road west of Fort Mackinac, located on the corner of Fort & Market Streets. So until future research shows some other structure as Michigan's oldest family residence, I guess this is it for now.

By the way, this is the oldest residence – not to be confused with Michigan's Oldest, Still-Surviving Building or even Michigan's Oldest Public Building...check out those two links, too.

The Oldest Private Residence/Family Home in Michigan


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