July 9, 2018 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI – The Chippewa County Historical Society has well documented Sault Ste. Marie.
Photos and and a timetable are laid it out in storyboard fashion along Historic Water Street overlooking the gateway to Lake Superior.
Commerce surrounding the shipping canal is a huge part of the start of the community and construction of the locks in 1853 put 1,600 men to work; the population of the Sault was temporarily doubled.
The canal contained a pair of locks in tandem each providing a lift of about 10 feet to an upbound ship.
The canal opened in June 1855 and tonnage in the first year was 14,503 but by 1860 the tonnage increased to 284,350; almost 20 times that of nine years earlier.
Defense efforts during wartime
The barrage balloon (above) is ready for deployment at Brady Park. The balloons typically floated up to 2,000 feet with cables suspended from them while flying.
Airplanes threatening the locks would have to avoid gauntlet of the cables
Frank’s Place is a must for eats in Sault Ste. Marie, MI
There were families at Frank’s and food enough to tide you over through lunch. Veggie omelet, homemade raisin toast and coffee for under $9.
A place as remote as the moon
French explorers visited Sault Ste. Marie around 1620 but the area remained isolated from the US population centers.
In the mid 19th century Senator Henry Clay called the upper Peninsula “remote as the moon.”
In the 1880 with no railroad connection mail arrived by schooner but when the ice closed the shipping, native Americans used dog teams to run the mail between the Sault and Saginaw or Marquette.
A trip to Saginaw took from 10 days to over three weeks depending on ice conditions.
Men averaged almost 30 miles per day and usually slept out in the elements.
A unique method of fishing the rapids teeming with whitefish attracted the Anishinaabeg people centuries before the first European explorers arrived.
A first-hand description of the fishing technique was written in 1669 by the Jesuit missionary Rev. Claude Dablon
“Dexterity and strength are needed for this kind of fishing for one must stand upright in a bark canoe and there among the whirlpools, with muscles tense, thrust deep into the water a rod at the end of which is fastened a net made in the form of a pocket into which the fish are made to enter.
One must look for them as they glide between the rocks pursue them and when they have been made to enter the net raise them with a sudden strong pull into the canoe.”