Algoma Sailing Club
St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
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Local Sailing History:

The Algoma Sailing Club has its own "Club History" of building sailboats in past years. Mostly only known by those associated with the club. Club members built many sailboats designs and models both small and large in size such as the; Dinghies, Y-Flyers, Sabots, Lasers, and the larger 25' D-3 Sailboats. The club and its members in building their own boats simply repeated what was historically done in this community since from around the 1700's in building sailing boats.

Grammar Notes: When in searching for the following history information, on the internet some variations of commonly used words are: (Ste, St., or Saint), (Soo or Sault).

click on map to enlarge.
Click on map
to Expand.
The following, is a General Historical Timeline, of
"
Sailing Boats, Sailing Ships, and Sailing Crafts"
within our Sault Ste Marie / Algoma Community.
Also included are additional important related items that impacted sailing.

The Overall intent is to present the Significance and Importance of sailboats,
their construction, and the use of our waters and rivers, that we ourselves
continue to Sail upon, just like our forefathers did.

Complied by our Club's Sailing Fleet Captain.
 If you notice any errors or if you may have any additional info to add, please 
Email him.
Last Updated on Oct 22/2010.

Background
Info.

St Mary's River,
and
Sault Ste Marie.

The St. Mary's Rapids is located on the St. Mary's River, has a vertical drop of 21 feet. It separates the twin cities of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, United States of America. These Rapids were a natural barrier that inhibited all large boat traffic to/from Lake Superior. The St. Mary's River System overall is 80 miles (128.7 km) long from Isle Parisienne at it north end to the Detour Reef Lighthouse and flows from Lake Superior down to Lake Huron.

Historically Fishing in the St Mary's River has been documented for hundreds of years as well as Fur trapping. Many new companies believed that fishing Lake Superior would be profitable business when the Fur trapping started to decrease since the fish were plentiful and twice as large as those of the lower lakes. When fishing started to decrease, then lumber harvesting became the main export, and then mineral and mine exploration came into effect.

Background Info. Fur
Companies
In the early years, within the Sault Ste Marie areas, many Fur Companies became established such as; the American Fur Company, the American Northwest and the Hudson Bay Companies.
1669
Jesuits renaming
 The Jesuits (missionary priests) re-name this site "Sault Ste. Marie" The Rapids of St. Mary. Along the shore of the St. Mary's River, the Ojibway native communities, had many names for it such as; Baawitigong translated "place by the rapids", Bahweting, translated "the gathering place", and also Bawating. Historically, the area was quickly established as an important fishing and meeting place.
1734-35
Lake Superior's
First
Shipyard
at Point
Aux Pins

(III)-Louis Denis, Monsieur de LaRonde (1675-1741) established a ship building community at Point Aux Pins, 6 miles west of Sault Ste Marie, New France (Michigan/Ontario). The first wooden ship constructed and to sail on Lake Superior was built by Louis Denis Sieur de la Ronde at Pointe Aux Pins in 1734. It was a 25 ton, rigged with two sails.

Later Alexander Henry and Alexander Baxter, son of the Russian consul, continued building ships to explore and mine the area for copper mines (on the southern shore) and furs, establishing Pointe aux Pins as the shipbuilding centre for the region. Some of the ships names included: the Athabaska, the Otter, the Mink, the Perseverance, the Fur Trader, the Invincible and the Discovery. Besides these ships, there were nine schooners on the lake Superior in 1846.

1770
Barge
and Sloop
at Point
Aux Pins
The Duke of Gloucester, Secretary Townsend, Samuel Tutchet, Henry Baxter, and four others, formed a company for mining copper on Lake Superior. In December they built at Point Aux Pins, a barge of 13 tons, and laid the keel for a sloop of forty tons burthen. Of the success Of this enterprise we are not informed but these vessels transported supplies to a short-lived copper mine developed by Henry and his associates near Point Mamainse. Subsequent to the above period very little was accomplished in the construction of craft for lake navigation, and the few that came into commission were used solely as traders, as were in fact, all those previously named.
1771
Blast
 Furnace
Point Aux Pins
A primitive blast furnace was in operation at the ship building at Point aux Pins, near Sault Ste Marie.
1785
Schooner
Beaver
In the early spring of May, The Schooner Beaver (34 feet keel, 13 feet beam, 4 feet draft built at Detroit in 1784), owned by the Northwest Fur Company arrived at Sault Ste Marie for the purpose of getting her up the falls and to be employed on Lake Superior. For reasons unknown it impossible to bring her over the portage. In 1784 the Northwest Fur Company successfully petitioned the military governor of Canada for permission to build their vessel at Detroit. The Beaver would carry as many as ninety-five tons, and that she made four or five trips to Grand Portage every season. A sawmill at the Sault was preparing lumber for her to transport, and a canal had been cut on the Canadian side so that loaded canoes might need no portage for conveying their freight to the vessel.
1789
Speedwell
The Hudson Bay Company owned a vessel on Lake Superior called the Speedwell.
1790
Schooner Nancy
The Schooner Nancy arrived at Grand Portage at Sault Ste. Marie with a full cargo load. It was built in 1789 at the British port of Detroit, 80 feet long, 22 feet wide beam, with a draft of 8 feet.
1971
North
West
Company
Post

Travellers on the canoe route to the West had to make a portage around the St. Mary's rapids. The North West Company established a fur-trading post south of the river by 1791. After the British abandoned their occupation of the American midwest, the company moved its post here in 1797. The depot eventually included storehouses, a canal and lock, a sawmill, and a portage road. Wharves were built at either end of the rapids for boats to unload supplies. An American invasion fleet razed the site in 1814, but the Nor'Westers rebuilt it almost immediately. It became a Hudson's Bay Company post following the union of the two rival fur trading companies in 1821.

1792
Logging
for Boats
The earliest mention of extensive logging operations was recorded this year by Sault pioneer John Johnstone. He noted that the best red and white pine timber in the Pointe aux Pins/Sault region had already been harvested by the North West Company to build boats. Another early lumber operation was started by Julius Austrian of the American Fur Company at Bayfield, Wisconsin, in 1840. Lumber became the region’s richest industry for a time, and had a vast impact on the forests
1793
Otter
At Pointe Aux Pins, the Otter was launched.
Shoot
the
Rapids
St Marys Rapids: Towing or Shooting. To get through the St Mary's Rapids which lower the waters from Lake Superior by 21 feet, the canoes and larger boats were towed through the rapids, sometimes by oxen until 1798. Other boats were emptied and ran down or shoot through the rapids, with their owners taking a chance that their craft would survive or remain intact, and many craft were lost in this way
1797-98
Canadian
Lock
The first bateau lock built, 38 feet long, 9 feet wide, was on the Canadian side of the river by the North West Fur Company in 1798. It was part of the first canal between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. A tow path extended from this lock west along the canal bank to the upper St. Mary's River. Now the Montreal sized Voyager Canoes didn't require to be unloaded, portaged, and then reloaded. Pervious to the lock being built canoes and larger boats were often towed through the rapids, sometimes by oxen. The lock was destroyed by American troops in 1814.
1798
Canadian
Land Portage
Boats that were too big to fit in the Canadian Lock were often portaged along the Portage Trail that was constructed of logs over the swampy area. There were large docks located at the upper and lower ends.
1800
Schooner Otter
The schooner or slope the Otter of 45v tons, was built was built at Pointe Aux Pins, and was sailed on Lake Superior. She was wrecked when shooting down the St. Mary's Rapids in 1823.
1800
Caribou herds
There were large herds of caribou around the Gros Cap area area (west, north and including of Point Aux Pins) in the 1800’s but for some unknown reason they moved out of the area at the end of the century to be replaced by deer.
1801
Schooner
Perseverance
The XY Fur Company  built the Perseverance at Sandwich and then dismantled it and transported it to Point aux Pins for completion. When the XY Fur Company and the North West Fur Company merged, the Perseverance replaced the Otter as the N.W.C. second ship on Lake Superior. 
1802
Schooner
Invincible
The Schooner Invincible of 20-100 tons was built at Point aux Pins and was owned by the Northwest Fur Company. In 1822 she was wrecked on Whitefish Point.
1803
Schooners
Henry & Otter
At Fort Kaministiquia, it was recorded that the vessel Alexander Henry (the younger) and the decrepit (broken down) Otter were built at Point aux Pins and owned by the North West Company.
1812
Schooner
Fur
Trader
The Fur Trader, a wooden schooner of 40 tons burden, was built at Pointe aux Pins (near Sault Ste Marie) on Lake Superior for the Northwest Fur Company and was owned by John Jacob Astor. She was built as a trade goods ship. The Fur Trader was lost when carrying a cargo of furs, when run down over the Sault rapids, but sustained such serious damage, making it to the foot of the rapids, as to render her useless never to sail again. She was the first craft that ever hazarded the attempt.
1812x?
Schooner Athabaska
This schooner was also built at Pointe aux Pins near Sault Ste Marie.
1812
Recovery
The Recovery was a 90 ton vessel built at "Point aux Pins" for the Northwest Fur Company and was broken up on the beach at Fort William.
1813
Schooner
Otter
The Schooner Otter of 45 tons, owned by the Northwest Fur Company, sank in a gale off Grand Sable Banks in 1828.
1812x?
Schooner
Mink
The Mink was built at Pointe aux Pins (near Sault Ste Marie) on Lake Superior, and while running down (shooting) the St Mary’s Rapids in the late fall she became logged upon the rocks. The following is an interesting story of how the Mink was freed.

The crew of the schooner Nancy (built in Detroit) regularly ferried supplies (for 26 years) to ports in our area (Fort St. Joseph, Fort Mackinac, and the Northwest Company’s Trading Posts). The Nancy was placed into Royal Navy Service during the war of 1812 and thus was permitted to be refitted. Thus after delivering supplies to the Sault Ste Marie Northwest Company’s Trading Post located just below the St Mary’s River, the crew of the Nancy refitting their ship during the winter lay over. They were asked in how to assist in getting the Mink ungrounded from the St Mary’s Rapids and the Nancy’s crew devised and built a small log diversion chute in the winter to direct more water flow under the Mink to help lift her off in the spring. The entire event was successful with the Nancy’s crew sailing the Mink over to the Trading Post Dock. The crew endured waters so cold while building the diversion chute that they could only endure mere seconds at a time while in the water.
1813
Schooner
Nancy
October 7 - The Schooner "Nancy", sailed and wintered in Sault Ste. Marie, to be refitted. Previously on October 5 in returning in the Nancy to the mouth of the St. Clair River, Captain Mackintosh found Detroit and Amherstburg in American hands, and two armed schooners and a gunboat lying in wait for him, the Nancy was under attack. Despite some damage from the battering, she survived to escape.
1814
Treaty of Ghent

Treaty of Ghent establishes the Canada - U.S. border, after a lot of fussing and some canal burning at Sault Ste. Marie (see 1855).

1814
Capture
of the US Schooners
 Tigress
and
Scorpion
Some 25 miles southwest of here lies the Detour Passage between Drummond Island and Michigan's upper peninsula. In August, 1814, it was occupied by the armed U.S. schooners "Tigress" and "Scorpion", whose intention it was to prevent supplies reaching the British garrison at Michilimackinac. On September 1 a British force of seamen, soldiers and Indians under Lieutenants Miller Worsley, R.N., and Andrew Bulger left Michilimackinac in small boats to attack the enemy. The "Tigress" was boarded on September 3 under cover of darkness. Two days later the "Scorpion" came to anchor nearby and, unaware of her sister ship's capture allowed her to come alongside. Taken by surprise, the "Scorpion" was captured after a sharp fight.
1816
NWC Canoes
St. Joseph Island
An inventory at Fort William at Thunder Bay showed that the North West Company had an inventory of 83 New North Canoes and 39 Old Canoes of various sizes. Built at the fort and from other canoe building operations such as the one located at St. Joseph's Island.
1820
Point
aux
Pins
"Point aux Pins, on the Canadian side of the river, six miles above the Sault," writes Schoolcraft in 1820, "was formerly noted as the site of a shipyard, and had a few buildings to accommodate the workmen, but only the vestiges of these remain. The width and depth of the river at this place must have rendered it a favourable spot for launching vessels. The current is very gentle, and the shore sandy and entirely free from rocks."
1820
USA Fort Brady
LSSU
Fort Brady was built on the site of the old French fort. In the 1890's Fort Brady was abandoned for the second time and was moved to Mr. Ryan's Hill, the sight that is famous today for being the home of Lake Superior State University.
1823
New
Recovery
The New Recovery a 133 ton schooner rigged vessel built at "Point aux Pins" for the Northwest Fur Company was moved into the lower lakes in 1828.
1823
USA/CAN
Boarder
The International USA/Canada boarder line from St. Lawrence to the foot of St. Mary's river was established in 1823 by joint commission under the Treaty of Ghent.
 
1829
Schooner
Discovery
The Schooner Discovery of 20-100 tons was owned by the Northwest Fur Company sank in an attempt to run the St Mary's Rapids.
1835
Brig
John
Jacob
Astor
The "JOHN JACOB ASTOR", built on May 17, a wooden brig of 78 foot long, 22 feet wide, with a draft of 8 feet, weighing 113 tons, built of white oak, was assembled above the rapids at Pointe Aux Pins, but was pre-cut at Lorain or the Black River area of Ohio. She was owned by Astor’s American Fur Company and was captained by Benjamin Standard. The John Jacob Astor was reportedly by the first American sailing ship or commercial vessel on Lake Superior. She was carrying furs and trade goods when she struck a reef and foundered near Copper Harbor, Michigan on September 21, 1844. Her Wreckage was still visible in the early 1860’s and her Anchor was recovered in 1970. She was sometimes referred to as a schooner.
1835
Shooner William Brewster
In 1835, the timbers and gear of both these ships were shipped to the Sault Ste. Marie for assembling on the shores of Lake Superior. In the fall of 1838 she was sent over the falls to work the lower lakes.
1837
Fishing
Madeline
The "Madeline" a fishing vessel, owned by American Fur Company which was the second ship to be sent over or around the St Mary's rapids.
1837
Schooner
Siskawit
The 40 ton Siskawit was also hauled past St. Marys Rapids in 1837 to Lake Superior to engage in trading and in fishing of white fish.
1838
William Brewster
The "William Brewster", 73 ton, owned by American Fur Company, was sent over the falls during the fall to work the lower lakes.
 
1839
Copper and Iron.
The new demands of iron and copper mining created a demand for vessels on Lake Superior and created a rush so great in size, that it could be compared to the well known Gold rush that happen in the northern Yukon.
1839
Schooner
Algonquin
The first American schooner to arrive on Lake Superior was the Algonquin which had been portaged around the St Mary's rapids. A more few vessels were portaged around the St Mary's Rapids, and a few were built above the city Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.
1839
Siskawit
The Siskawit, 40 tons was hauled past St. Mary's rapids to Lake Superior in addition to the Algonquin, where they both engaged in either trading or fishing and White Fish.
1840
American
Land Portage
During 1840-1855, Acille Cadotte's technique was further used to move many more ships that were cribbed up in timbers and dragged down what is now known as Portage Street in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, until the completion of the American Locks.

An example of this well known land portage was in 1840, Acille Cadotte accomplished am amazing feat by being the first to move overland a large decked schooner called the ALGONQUIN (Cleveland North Western Lake Company, built in Loraine Ohio, 55 feet long, 56 tons), that was cribbed up in timbers and hauled on rollers by a horse and capstan, with Achilles shouting orders in the frosty winter. The portage of the schooner took more than three months and the boat was dragged five boat lengths each day air. The Algonquin was moved almost two miles overland to be launched in Lake Superior.

Year, Schooner, tonnage, Owner
1845, Chippewa, 20, Thos. Clark
1845, Florence, 20, Antrim & Keith
1845, Swallow, 80, Jas. Bendix
1845, Merchant, 80, Capt. Robt. Brown
1845, Uncle Tom, 110, Capt. John Angus
1845, Free Trader, 90, Capt. Colin Ripley

1840 - 1850
Ship Fires
In ten years, over 1,000 lives were lost on the Great Lakes fighting Fires on ships. Many wooden sailing boats were being converted to over steam to ensure their use. The new use of steam to propel ships caused many fires, as boiler technology was new and many exploded, in addition to the continuous sparks emitting from the smokestacks from the fires needed to boil water.
1847
Schooner
Merchant
In July the Schooner Merchant left Sault Ste Marie, bound for Portage and was never seen again. She perished with a general cargo and a crew of 14.
1849
Lighthouses
The Copper Harbor and Whitefish Point, Michigan, lighthouses are built. These earliest two lighthouses were needed to open the lake to true shipping fame. The light at Whitefish Point was the first one built and still to this day is the oldest one working on Superior. Whitefish Point is home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the area around it is know as the "Graveyard of the Great Lakes."
1850x?
Steam Ferry
Dime
The Dime, was the first Steam Ferry fired with wood, to run between the two Sault Ste Marie Cities. When the St. Mary's River froze over in the winter, the ice was tested for depth and when considered safe, a road was made across with a sort of fence of evergreens planted in the snow on either side to mark it. People could walk across or drive their sleighs as they chose. Exciting races were held if the ice was good.
1853
Steamer
Independence
On November 22, The steamer Independence boilers exploded and she sank one mile above the rapids in the St Mary's Rapids. 119 feet in length, 26 feet beam, 10 feet depth, 262 tons. In the winter of 1944-45 she was portaged over the rapids to Sault Ste Marie.
1858
Indiana
A vessel that foundered near Whitefish Point.
1853-55
State Lock
USA
1st Lock
The first American ship canal and locks was built. The State of Michigan opens the State Lock that was built by Charles T. Harvey. There were two tandem locks built on masonry, with each lock being 35 feet long by 70 feet wide, having a lift of about 9 feet each. The canal and State lock was destroyed in 1888 by workers making way for newer locks. The steamship Illinois was the first to lock through.
1863-73
Storms:
Sailor Deaths & Shipwreaks
Storms, gales, high waves, and winds on the Great Lakes are not be ignored as the Great Lakes are also referred to as Inland Seas or even Oceans. Due to the large size of the Great Lakes caused so many ships to be lost that within a 10 year span a total of 1,178 sailors went to their deaths. Storms in the fall are far more violent than those of the spring. History has recorded over all of the years of navigating the Great Lakes there are more than 10,000 shipwrecks and many books have been witten.
1870
Ontonagon
A sailing Vessel that sank near Sault Ste Marie.
1871
Dean
Richard
On October 29 the Dean Richard, a sailing vessel that burned and sank near Sault Ste Marie with the loss of one life.
1872
Schooner
Saturn
On November 27, the Schooner Saturn was lost in a severe storm near Deer Park and was forced ashore near Whitefish Point with 8 of her crew drowned with a loss of $13,000 carrying iron ore.
1872
Schooner
W.O.Brown
On November 28, the Schooner W. O. Brown down bound from Duluth sank in Whitefish Bay, near Gros Cap. with the loss of 8 lives.
1886
Schooner Eureka
The Eureka a 330 ton schooner (converted into a tow barge) that foundered after breaking her two line west of Whitefish Point. Her cargo was iron ore and the vessel was valued at $10,000 with the lives of her 6 crew were lost.
1878 - 1978
Goulais River
Captain Tilley

On its Centennial, the Community of Goulais River commemorates the gift of the land for this Cemetery by Captain Frederick Tilley and his wife Sarah in 1889. The first white settlers in this area, the Tilleys arrived here by sailboat from Kincardine, Ontario in May 1878 and established their homestead near this site. To their memory and that of the courageous Pioneers of the past 100 years we dedicate this plaque.

1870
Chicora
The Chicora, carrying troops to the Red River uprising, was denied passage through the American Lock prompting the construction of a Canadian lock.
1877
City of
Sault Ste
Marie
Sault Ste. Marie was incorporated as a town, William Brown being its first mayor.



 
1877
Rail Bridge
The International Rail Bridge was constructed.
1880
Whaleback
Steamships
In 1880, a new ship design entered construction as 43 Whaleback ships with rounded hulls to shed waves were built. They were designed by Alexandar McDougal and were often referred to as Pigboats. 41 of them served on the great lakes with 15 whale backs being built as steamships and 26 were built as barges to be towed. Due to the small hatches on deck, it took more time to load and unload them. One whaleback was built as a passenger vessel called the Christopher Clumbus, was 362 feet long, and was constructed in 1892. She carried 5,000 passengers and became well known and quite famous.
1881
Schooner
Davis Dows
5 mast
The Schooner Davis Dows built in 1881 was 265 (278) foot long was the only 5 masted schooner to be built on the Great Lakes. She carried 70,000 yards of canvas and was hard to handle and difficult to manoeuvre. She was involved in two collisions with other ships. She often navigated the St Mary's River and went through the Sault locks system. In 1883 her topmasts were removed and she was converted into a barge due, (steamboats were now towing schooners as barges). In 1889 the Davis Dows sank about seven miles from Chicago during a storm and has been a popular diving wreak since 1950.
1881
Weitzel
USA
2nd Lock
On September 4, a new single lock, located south of the state locks, was constructed that was 515 feet long. The inside chamber was 80 feet wide, and 60 feet wide at the gate to allow for two boats to fit within (side by side) and the depth over the sills was deeper at 17 feet. Some new features were one lift of 20 feet and the lock filled and emptied from pipes under the floor of the lock. On September 4, 1881 the Lock opened with the steamer City of Cleveland to be the first to use the new lock. In 1896 the New Lock was renamed to the Weitzel Lock in honour of U.S. Army General Godfrey Wietzel who had supervised construction of the lock.
1886
Poe
USA
3rd Lock
A new lock was to be built on the site of the State Locks being; 800 feet long between the gates, 100 feet wide, 21 feet depth at the stills, and would have more openings to faster fill and lower the water level within the lock. In 1988 the state locks was removed, in 1893 the turbine power plant was constructed, and on August 3, 1896 the lock opened. It was named The Poe Lock, after General Poe who was the chief engineer who overseen its construction.
1887
Schooner Niagara
On September 7,  the schooner Niagara of 765 tons was lost near Whitefish Point. Her cargo was iron ore and the vessel was valued at $30,00. The crew of 9 were lost.
1887-1895
2nd
Canadian
Lock
The Second Canadian Lock was built through the red sandstone rocks of the St. Mary's Island on the north side of the St. Mary's Rapids. The lock canal is 7,294 feet (2,223.4 meters) long, or about 1.4 miles (2.2km) from end to end of the upper and lower piers. When the lock was built it was 900 feet long (274.3 meters) the longest in the world at that time. The canal depth was 22 feet deep a four foot advantage over the American locks. In 1987 part of the lock wall collapsed and the lock was closed then in 1998 it was reopened after a smaller lock was built inside the old lock chamber. The locks are now operated by Parks Canada. All of the Historical buildings on site were built from the red sandstone during the original clock construction, administration building, superintendents residence, the canalmen's shelter, powerhouse and the stores / blacksmith shop. The St. Mary's River once covered the entire area of Bay Street before the Canadian Lock was built.
1887
International Railway
Bridge
International Railway Bridge was built in 1887 by the Minneapolis, St Paul and Sault Ste Marie Railway, to carry flour from Minneapolis to the eastern seaboard through Sault Ste Marie and Montreal via the Canadian Pacific Railway. A swing bridge 5,400 feet long was built to cross both the American canal and later next year another swing bridge was built to cross the Canadian Canal. In June 1913, when a new lock canal was built on the American Side a double bascule jack knife bridge of 336 feet was built. In 1959 the American swing bridge was replaced by a lift bridge.
1890
New
Hay Lake Channel
now
known as
 Lake Nicolet
River traffic had increased dramatically with the lock systems, and ship accidents were occurring more in the narrow channels. As all vessels had to navigate through Lake George and Little Lake George (by Echo Bay, Ontario) on the east side of Sugar Island and on the east of Nebbish Island. There were also rapids in the east Nebbish Island channel and at Little Rapids, and there were Sand Bars in Lake George to navigate around. There were about 70 vessels a day navigating this route.

This new channel to be 11 miles shorter was created in Lake Hayes (Nicolet) by dreging the waters north east of Neebish Island to become the Middle Neebish Channel, dreging Hay Lake, and creating the Little Rapids Cut at Little Rapids by cutting through the 3 small Islands, where the Sugar Island Ferry now is located. Once created, all vessels quickly used this new route.
1891
Schooner -
Barge
Frank Perew
On September 29. the Frank Perew a schooner barge of 525 tons that foundered midway between Whitefish Point and Coppermine Point. The value of the vessel and its cargo was $16,000. She sank with the loss of 6 lives.
1893
Anne Laurie
The ship Anne Laurie burned at Sault Ste Marie.
1900
Schooner-Barge
A. C.
Keating
 
On November the schooner-barge A. C. Keating, in the tow of the steamer New York, broke her towline 20 miles west of Whitefish Point during a heavy gale. The New York was low on fuel and ran for shelter at Sault Ste Marie leaving the Keating unattended. The Keating was blown hard aground near Coppermine Point where the crew reached shore safety. The storm soon pounded the wooden vessel to pieces and was considered to be a total loss. Built in 1874 and was 138 feet in length, 26 feet in bean and 11 feet in depth. She was owned by Thomas Curry of Port Huron and carried a cargo of pulpwood.
1900
$4 Canadian Bill
The Canadian Government was so proud of having the longest Lock in the world at Sault Ste Marie that they printed a photo of the lock on the $4.00 Canadian bill, too bad the photo was of the American Lock and and wasn't corrected until 1902.
1901
Steamer
Arabian
On November 10, Canadian Steamer Arabian, was driven ashore 8 miles west of Whitefish Point. The crew was safety removed by lifesavers. A small wooden steamer of 770 tons, she was 178 feet in length and 31 feet in beam.
1901
Whaleback
SS Sagamore
The SS Sagamore built in 1892 sunk in 45 feet of water in the shipping lane near the Soo Locks when she was rammed by the steel steamer Northern Queen in one of Whitefish Bay's notorious fogs. Her wreck is the best preserved of the whalebacks wrecks on the great lakes.
1901
Steamer
Avon
On June 30, the steamer Avon down bound from Duluth to Buffalo burned off Point Aux Pins, near Sault Ste Marie. She sank with a full cargo of flour and general merchandise and was considered to be a $30,000 loss. Built in 1877, she was 1,702 tons, 25 feet in length, 35 feet in beam, 15 feet in depth.
1907
Steamer
R.A. Packer
On June 26, the 647 ton wooden steamer burned at Sault Ste Marie was 209 feet in length and insured for $28,000. She was later rebuilt.
1908
Barge
Bennington
On September 5-6 the 250 ton wreaking barge, built in 1891, perished with the loss of two men off Whitefish Point.
1913
Wooden Steamer
On November 12, a wooden steamer sprung a leak and sank 30 miles off Whitefish Point.
1908-14
Davis
USA
4th Lock
The 4th American Lock was built. "The United States Davis Lock", named after Col. Charles E.L.B. Davis being 1,350 feet long between the inner gates, 80 feet wide, and 23 feet deep over the sills.
1913-19
Sabin
USA
5th Lock
The 5th American United States Lock was built. "The United States Sabin Lock", 1,350 feet long between inner gates, 80 feet wide and 23 feet deep over the sills.
1939
Lamprey
sighting

A fisherman near Marquette, Michigan, nets a lake trout with an ominous attachment: the first sea lamprey sighting in Lake Superior.

1939
World War 2
Defence
Its a little known fact that during the war this area was the most heavily defended spot on the continent to protect both the American and Canadian locks, St Mary's River dams, international train bridge, and steel plant. As "Steel and Iron" was the way to victory, and the link between Lakes Superior and Huron were to be protected at all costs.
1942-43
Poe
USA
6th Lock
The 6th American Lock was built. "The United States Poe Lock", named after Col. Orlando M. Poe, being 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide, and 32 feet over the sills. The maximum size of vessels that use the lock is 1,100 feet long and 105 feet wide. It was rebuilt on the same site as the old Poe lock built in 1886.
1950
Steamship
MS Norgoma
The MS Norgoma, was built in 1950 at the Collingwood shipyards travelled the North Channel route between Sault Ste Marie and her home port in Owen Sound, including stops at Thessalon, Hilton, Richards Landing, and Whitefish Bay. In 1963 she was converted to diesel and in 1964 was used as a car ferry at Tobermory until 1974. The MS Norgoma has become a museum ship, open to the public, located in Sault Ste Marie.
1960
Hwy 17
The Trans-Canada Highway 17 completes the overland circle of Lake Superior from Sault Ste Marie to Wawa.
1961-68
MacArther
USA
7th Lock
The 7th American Lock was constructed. "The United States MacArther Lock", named after World War II General Douglas MacArthur, being 800 feet long between inner gates, 80 feet wide, and 31 feet deep over the sills. The maximum size of vessels that use the lock is 730 feet long and 76 feet wide.
1964
Algoma
Sailing Club
Formed.

Building
Y-Fliers

The Algoma Sailing Club was formed. An ad was placed in the Sault Star Newspaper inviting interested individuals to meet and discuss, building one design dinghies. A large number attended  decided to begin research of a suitable dinghy that could be home built and would provide good competition. The Y-Flyer was selected and eventually the initial group constructed 10. The Y-Flyers were built in a warehouse on Bay Street where the Roberta Bondar Place is now located. Individual members prefabricated the boat parts at home and then assembled them, taking turns on a common jig. Building these boats began in the summer of 1964 and were completed in the spring of 1965 just in time to begin racing on the beaches of Haviland Bay, north of Sault Ste Marie.
1960-61
International
Bridge
 The International Bridge (2.8 miles long) was built linking the twin cities of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, with the bridge crossing over the St Mary's Rapids. Construction of the bridge started in 1961 and was open to traffic on October 31, 1962. The international bridge is a steel truss arch bridge with a suspended deck that has a double arch crossing over the four American locks and a single arch over the Canadian lock.
Algoma
Sailing Club
1st Clubhouse.

Building Sabots & Lasers
As the Algoma Sailing Club expanded with more members, the need for a clubhouse arose. The  Club's first clubhouse was a floating clubhouse located at Bellevue Park which sailors enjoyed.
Also new sailboats were introduced such as the Sabots which were built by club members for the club’s junior sailing program. Next came the Lasers, as the graduates of the junior sailing program wanted a more exciting boat.
Algoma
Sailing Club
2nd Clubhouse.

Building
D3-sailboats

Algoma Sailing Club’s floating club house became too small and the Club built a second and larger permanent club house at Bellevue Park in Sault Ste Marie, were it stands today. Club members also built 10 larger sailboats, the 23 foot, spooned hull, D-3 sailboats, that became known as a fast sailboat with cruising abilities. CL16 sailboats were also introduced for the junior sailing program.
Diving at
Pointe
Aux Pins
& St Mary's River
Pointe Aux Pins is famous for being the first shipyard on Lake Superior, used by early explorers and settlers from 1730 to 1836. Divers have been known for drift diving from Pointe Louise to Furkey’s Marina in searching for old bottles and ship relics. Since boating traffic is heavy, use of a dive flag is strongly recommended. Note: Removal of artifacts from some shipwrecks may violate protected CAN/USA laws for underwater museums.
1975
500
Wrecks

An estimated 500 vessels to date have been wrecked while traversing the waters of Lake Superior, but the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29-member crew in November of this year focused international attention on the lake and its sometimes pitiless power.

2010-?
6th USA
Lock
The new 6th American Lock is to be constructed soon, in the space of the American Davis and Sabin Locks. New name is yet unknown.


Some of the sources for the above information came from newspapers, libraries, historical records, websites and books. Some of the sources are listed to help further you in your own searches and discoveries. When ever you can, help support these volunteer organizations and authors when possible by purchasing items (books and videos) from them to create your own personal collections.

  • Google Search Results
  • Ontario Heritage Foundation
  • City of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
  • Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario
  • Sault Scuba
  • Soo Storm, History of the twin Cities of Sault Ste Marie
  • History of the settlement of upper Canada (Ontario)
  • Canadian Genealogy
  • Know Your Ships
  • Wasaga Beach Park
  • Old Algonquin
  • Maritime History of the Great Lakes
  • Great Wrecks of the Great Lakes
  • Lake Superior
  • Great Lakes History
  • Great Lakes Shipping
  • Upbound Downbound, The Story of the Soo Locks
  • Algoma Sailing Club
  • The Lake Captain 1812 by Ron Burgess.
  • The Great Lakes by Pierre Berton.
  • Superiors Rendezvous Place, Fort William in the Canadian Fur Trade by Jean Morrison.

Website hosted by Stoney Creek Solutions June 1, 2007
Last Update: Updated October 09, 2010