Historical Photos – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

This is a picture of a pair of unknown homesteaders near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Unknown homesteaders from near Sault Ste. Marie showing off their horses.

Two Homesteaders with Their Horses

Here are several historical pictures from the Sault Ste. Marie area, The first one is two homesteaders with their pair of prize horses. There are no names attached to this picture so we don’t know who this is. I do like the dog in front of the woman. Also, the front door seems to be covered with blankets or some kind of fabric. This is a great example of early homestead life.

Native Americans fishing on the St. Mary's River with canoes and nets.

Sault Ste. Marie Native Americans fishing in canoes in the St. Mary’s River.

Soo Native Americans Fishing St. Mary’s with Canoes

Taken from the Canadian side of the St. Mary’s River, these Soo native Americans are out fishing the Rapids. This was taken from an old stereoview. This was probably taken in the late 1800s. Though it is hard to tell, I think the Native on the left side is Jack Lapete, a well-known Lake Superior guide.

Years ago there was a railroad depot next to the locks at Sault Ste. Marie.

The train depot that used to be at the Soo Locks exchanging ship for rail passengers or vice-versa.

Sault Ste. Marie Train Depot at the Soo Locks

Back when trains were abundant, a railroad depot was located at the Soo Locks. This allowed passengers to embark and debark from train to ship in one location. The depot was located west of where the locks observation platform is now. From an old postcard image, with the car next to the ship, it shows three modes of transportation for the era, 1920s or 30s.

A Steamship called the Athabasca is captured by photographer Allan Fanjoy.

The ship Athabasca as it sails into the Soo Locks. Photo by Allan Fanjoy.

The Steamship Athabasca

Allan Fanjoy, a Sault Ste. Marie photographer captures the S.S. Athabasca as it heads down the St. Mary’s River. The Athabasca was built in Scotland in 1883 and then sent to America for passenger use on the Great Lakes. She sailed between Thunder Bay, Ontario on Lake Supeerior and Owen Sound on Lake Huron. It was one of three ships in a fleet that also included the Algoma and the Alberta.

Trout fishing along the river in Sault Ste. Marie.

A fisherman baits is line after pulling in a prize trout on the St. Mary’s River.

Trout Fishing on the St. Mary’s

Trout fishing has been a time honored tradition throughout the U.P. One of the reasons the Native Americans lived in the region was because of the abundance of fish. Even former governor Chase S. Osborn was known to enjoy pulling a big one out of the river. He even had a local guide come an get him if he had something special on the line and he would drop whatever he was doing and go pull in a big trout. The picture above shares a fishing tradition that continues to this day.

If you enjoyed these pictures you would probably enjoy my book – Faces, Places, and Days Gone By. 

Historical Photos – Early Great Lakes Ships

Historical Ships of the upper Great Lakes

Pictures courtesy of the Mikel Classen Collection of Historical Pictures

This is an early passenger steamer named “City of Traverse.” This view of the ship shows only ne lock and the river rapids can be seen beyond the ship.

Many old historical ship pictures were taken at the Soo Locks. The close-up vantage point for the bulky photo equipment made it a choice spot for ship photography in the early years.

Whalebacks in the Soo Locks with tugs.

Over the years there have been many kinds of ships that have sailed the Great Lakes. All of them served a valued purpose in their day, though some had some uniquely strange looks. Of course many of these at some point would wind up at the bottom of the lakes, casualties of unexpected storms.

This is a couple of schooners going through the Soo Locks.

From Sailing ships to coal fired steamers, a fascination remains of all of these different types of ships. To this day visitors flock to the Soo Locks for a glimpse of the great ships that still sail the lakes.

This early freighter is called the Zenith City. It would sink not long after this picture.

This is not a by-gone era but one that has evolved through the years. The lake ships of all kinds serve as vital a purpose now as they did in the past.

This picture is of an early wood fired side-wheeler. photos of these are few and far between.

While watching the ships of today, it is also fun to think about the ships of the past, smaller and more susceptible, battling the violent elements of the Great Lakes for their very survival. Some succeeded, many didn’t, ending in tragedy and a watery grave. Requiem for sailors of a different time and men with courage beyond most.

Lake Superior Transit Company – Luxury Cruises Lost To Time

The Lake Superior Transit Company – Luxury Cruising the Great Lakes

S.S. India. One of the cruise ships of the Lake Superior Transit Company, one of several.

These are a couple of old pictures I received for my historical pictures collection. Unfortunately, I have been able to find out very little about this company or these ships. In 1878, they were already in heavy operation across all of the Great Lakes as this lineup of ships from a travel brochure shows. “Lake Superior Transit Company Line of Steamers: India, China, Winslow, Atlantic, Idaho, Nyack, St. Louis, Arctic, Pacific, Japan. (those are ship names, not destinations.) From the Ports of Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Detroit, Port Huron, Sault St. Marie, Marquette, Houghton & Hancock (Portage Lake), Duluth.” They were part of a fleet of luxury cruise liners for “high society.” They sailed from the late 1800’s through to the early 1900’s. They consisted of fine dining, formal staff, and exquisite drinks. The picture below illustrates one of the luxury dining rooms on board of one of their ships. A passenger could sail from Detroit to Duluth for $25 or $40 round trip. The fare was good for three months for round trip. This was the way to see the Great Lakes in the height of fashion.

Lake Superior Transit Company Postcard from one of the ships.