Arguably the most iconic structure in the state of Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac to proudly connect Michigan’s two peninsulas.
And today, it turns 59.
Upon the conclusion of the Toledo War, the state was awarded the land comprising the Upper Peninsula—certainly a victory for Michigan. However, there was a problem—despite being only five miles across the straits from the Lower Peninsula, this new land was only accessible by boat, or taking the long way around through Wisconsin.
In the late 1800’s, Michiganders began dreaming of a bridge that could span the straits. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s, though, that feasibility analysis began for the project.
By 1950, the Mackinac Bridge Authority was formed and it hired David B. Steinman as head designer. The initial construction on the bridge began in May of 1954, and three and a half years later, on November 1, 1957, the bridge officially opened to the public. It wasn’t an easy construction period, though—in all, five men lost their lives while working on the bridge.
The four-lane bridge, which is part of I-75 running from Sault St. Marie all the way to Miami, Fla., stands 552 feet tall and is nearly five miles long (just short by 28 feet). To put that length into perspective, the famous Golden Gate Bridge in California is only 1.7 miles long.
According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, the Mighty Mack is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. It’s also, according to The Up North Reader, the most beautiful.