Construction of the Mackinac
Bridge began on May 7, 1954 and although construction continued into the
last half of 1958, the bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1957. The
Bridge Dedication Festival took 4 days in June of 1958. Although the
celebration centered on the communities of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City,
Michigan, there were also activities in Sault Ste Marie and Cheboygan.
Among other activities, there was a release of a new Mackinac
Bridge United States postage stamp, two nights of fireworks in both
Mackinaw City & St. Ignace, a ribbon cutting ceremony on the bridge,
and major parades in both St. Ignace & Mackinaw City.
The Oldsmobile Company provided
103 white convertibles, which were used to transport dignitaries, Miss
Michigan, and other beauty queens, including queens representing each of
Michigan's 83 counties.
The Straits of Mackinac was hit
by high winds on June 26 which damaged several of the floats and flattened
an army exhibit in Mackinaw City, but the everything went smoothly on.
There were 140 units in the parades
and all of those entries crossed the Mackinac Bridge between the events.
There were color guards from the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air
Force, Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol. There were also many military
vehicles and bands, including the 5th Army Band & Chrysler Imperial
Highlanders - a bagpipe band which represented the Chrysler Corporation
at special events around the United States.
The images on these pages are from
slides taken by the late Lester Stokes.
The first few of the 103 white 1958 Oldsmobile Convertibles at the
beginning of the parade along Mackinaw City's Central Avenue
Chrysler Highlanders pipe band
Mackinaw City High School Comets Marching Band
Convertible carrying Bridget Paquet, who was born on May 7, 1954, the
day of the ground breaking for the Mackinac Bridge -
for many years, the Mackinac Bridge float represented Mackinaw City
at parades across Michigan
Parade staging area on West Central Avenue
Detroit Mounted Police patrol
Page 2 of Bridge Dedication
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