2018-08-17 / People

Porter to Conclude Summer Author Series


At left: Phil Porter will share his new book, “Soldiers of Fort Mackinac,” during a talk at the Mackinac Island Public Library Friday, August 24. At left: Phil Porter will share his new book, “Soldiers of Fort Mackinac,” during a talk at the Mackinac Island Public Library Friday, August 24. Rounding out Mackinac Island Public Library’s 21st Annual Summer Author Series, Mackinac State Historic Parks Director Phil Porter will discuss his book, “The Soldiers of Fort Mackinac: An Illustrated History,” Friday, August 24, at 4 p.m.

Mr. Porter’s book tells the story of Fort Mackinac through the actions and careers of its soldiers. He organized the book with an introductory essay covering the five major periods that make up Fort Mackinac’s history, followed by four illustrated sections detailing various soldiers’ lives and dwellings.

From 1780 to 1895, 4,500 British and American soldiers called Fort Mackinac their home. With illustrations that include more than 150 historic oil portraits, maps, short biographies, and photographs, Mr. Porter pieces together a narrative about the soldiers who participated in military functions, and even died, while serving on the Island. Controlling Great Lakes fur trade and maintaining relationships with local Native American tribal communities, the fort and its soldiers helped shape the history of the Island’s community. Its strategic value fluctuated through the years before it was turned into the headquarters for the country’s second national park in 1895.

Mr. Porter, who grew up in Grosse Point Woods and spent summers on the West Bluff, worked as a historic interpreter at Fort Mackinac while attending school. He joined the permanent staff at Mackinac State Historic Parks in 1976. He served as curator of collections, curator of interpretation, and chief curator before becoming the director in 2003.

His presentation is open to the public and there is no charge to attend it.

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