.....The BiKeWriTeR

Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s – Exploring Sault Ste. Marie, MI


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.

Courtesy Chippewa County Historical Society

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.”

Photo courtesy Chippewa County Historical Society

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.

Courtesy Chippewa County Historical Society

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.”

Courtesy Chippewa County Historical Society
Toured the Valley Camp which logged over 3,000,000 miles on the great lakes and is estimated to have carried 16,000,000 tons of cargo during her 50 years of service.
By 1966 the ship could no longer compete economically with the larger more modern ships on the great lakes and in the fall of 1966 she made her final trip from Milwaukee to Superior, Wisconsin.
On the lower level of the Valley Camp rests a display of the Edmund Fitzgerald including two of the heavily-damaged life rafts.
More than 10,000 people watched as the $8.4 million  vessel slid into the water Saturday, June 7, 1958.  The boat was christened by Mrs. Edmund Fitzgerald, wife of the president of the Borthwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee.
Big Fitz was labeled the pride of the American flag.
On a side note:
– Even through the sign entering I75 says otherwise, bicyclists can cross the International Bridge between Sioux Ste. Marie, MI and Ontario.  It’ll cost $1.75
– Rev. Sebastian Kavumkal from Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Sault Ste. Marie, MI provides a safe space for me Sunday night. Rev. Kavumkal is from India and I found him outdoors watering and taking pictures of his rich red roses. “I’ve lost so many over the years to the cold,” he said.
– There was some interesting art out front of the historic Chippewa County Courthouse.
The crane of the Sault dedicated June 8, 1985 as a  gift of Stella be Osborne in memory of Chase Osborne.
Ralph Wolffe is the artist and the statue depicts the Chippewa legend of two young brothers who flee their wicked mother who is pursuing them with the intent to kill them.
When they reach the north shore of the St. Mary’s Rapids they are met by a crane who after hearing their story carries them to the South Shore of the rapids.
The crane than meets the mother on the North Shore and agrees to transport her to the other side.
Instead the crane drops the mother in the rapids and as she hits the stones below the mother’s skull cracked open and her brains become the whitefish that inhabit the rapids.
The crane adopts the boys and one of them remains in the area To marry the daughter of the crane.
 Mrs. Osborne commissioned the statue and gave the monument to the citizens of the Sault area as a reminder they are citizens of an ancient city with a rich and wonderful history and legend.

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