Mackinac Island’s ‘Lover’s Leap’…Did Anyone Really Take the Plunge?
There are Lover’s Lanes, Lover’s Rocks…and Lover’s Leaps all across America.
Lover’s Lanes are for romantic walks thru a wooded or flowery trail.
Lover’s Rocks are for meeting and wooing, whether near the sounds of gently lapping waves or a babbling brook…
And then there are Lover’s Leaps…for killing yourself.
Jilted lovers, those whose loved ones disappeared and never returned, or others whose romantic partners passed away prematurely…..these are the classic reasons of despondent lovers doing away with themselves by throwing themselves off a mountain or high cliff…..”lover’s leaps”.
The Lover’s Leap on Mackinac Island is one of the most classic.
It’s a 145-foot tall pillar of limestone, that seems difficult for anyone to reach the top and leap to their death…but that’s what the story says exactly happened many years ago to a young island girl.
A young warrior had gone off with his tribe to join them in battle. His lover climbed to the top of the stone pillar to scan the Great Lake in search of her young brave’s return. One day, she saw the tribe’s canoes returning to the island after the battle. Straining to hear, she could detect the other tribe members chanting as they approached the island. As they got closer, the chant was easier to hear…and she realized they were singing a death chant. Her young lover had been killed in battle.
With her heart broken, her grief was too overwhelming and she jumped off the stone tower to her own demise, anticipating the two would be reunited in death.
An early name for the stone tower was “Little Rock” - the earliest mention of this name found on maps from the 1830s. Then later that century, the name “Lover’s Leap” was connected to it.
Unfortunately, when visiting Mackinac Island during summer, the trees cloak the stone tower and you can’t see it. You can’t go to the top without permission either, because now it is on private property. That is why there’s the photo gallery below…you can see what it looks like now, and some great vintage photos showing what it looked like as far back as the 1870s.
But again, my question: did anyone really take the plunge off the pillar?
Lover's Leap, Mackinac Island
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