When we traveled up to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan we stayed in the city of St. Ignace. It’s just across the Mackinac Bridge and has a lot of great places to visit, especially within town. One of the great attractions is Castle Rock and another is Chief Wawatam Park. Although the park is pretty much the same as any park on the great lakes, this one his now home to the Wawatam Lighthouse.
Chief Wawatam Park in St. Ignace
Wawatam Lighthouse was originally in Monroe, Michigan and is a newer lighthouse. In 2004, it was put up for relocation and in 2006 moved to St. Ignace, Michigan.
Wawatam Lighthouse takes its name from the late railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, which used this same dock from 1911 through the mid-1980?s. When you visit the lighthouse, you will pass right by the Chief’s old lift gate.
Wawatam Lighthouse’s beacon was first lit on August 20, 2006. Visible for more than 13 miles out over Lake Huron, it is now an official aid-to-navigation. The 250 millimeter Fresnel lens casts its light in a 152 degree arc.
Who was Wawatam?
Wawatam was an Odawa Chief, meaning he was a trader and in his case a trader of furs.
He is known through his rescue of and friendship with British fur trader Alexander Henry the elder from the Ojibwas following the capture of Fort Michilimackinac in June 1763 during the Pontiac War. Wawatam, the leader and patriarch of an extended family of Odawa, rescued Henry after he had initially become an Ojibwe possession as a spoil of war, and soon there after, again came to Henry’s rescue by hiding him in a Cave on nearby Mackinac Island. Henry became a member of Wawatam’s family. In this role Henry wintered with the Wawatam family in 1763-1764 in a hunting ground located near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.