Mackinac Transportation Company Records

Identifier: GLMS-0085

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of financial records of the Mackinac Transportation Company. Materials mainly consist of paid bills, checks, and a ledger of account. These records provide insight into the day-to-day logistics of running a shipping company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The paid bills and checks cover 1889-1899, while the ledger covers 1918-1923. There is no coverage for 1900-1917. A small amount of correspondence and accounts payable for 1890-1893 are also present.


  • 1889-1923


.75 Cubic Feet (1 volume and 1 half legal manuscript box)

Company History

In 1881 three ralroad companies, the Michigan Central Railroad; Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad; and Detroit, Mackinac, and Marquette Railroad formed the Mackinac Transportation Company to run railcar ferries across the Straits of Mackinac. The area soon became popular with tourists, resulting in a high seasonal population. To capitalize on this newforund popularity and to encourage it further, the three railroads partnered with the Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company to build the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in 1887. The advent of mass automobile ownership and infrastructure in the 1940s-1950s, especially opening of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957, caused a sharp drop in ferry traffic. The decline continued until 1984 when the Mackinac Transportation Company went out of business.

Conditions Governing Access

No known access restictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Pail bills arranged alphabetically by payee.

Related Materials

For additional materials related to the Mackinac Transportation Company, contact the Mackinac State Historic Parks.

Processing Information

Processing of the collection was conducted by Archivist Mark Sprang in May 2019.

Guide to the Mackinac Transportation Company records
Mark Sprang
May 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note