What do you do these days if you decide you want to go visit Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan? Obviously, the answer is to head across the bridge and (unfortunately) head through customs, a simple enough process that probably won't take much time. But what if that bridge wasn't there? As discussed before on this blog, the International Bridge was only constructed by the early 1960s.
Well, if you had some business in Michigan before then your only option was to take the local ferry, which regularly moved people, vehicles and even some animals between the twin cities. The service in general was around for even longer than the bridge has been today, so it has quite a bit of history to it we can explore. And should, as it is far more fascinating than you might think a few boats can be.
Written by: Justin Brett
One landmark of old Sault Ste. Marie that is unfortunately no longer seen in the city is the International Hotel. It was constructed in 1888 by N.M Neald and J.C. Meagher, two local businessman, and as the title suggests it was an attempt to court the business of people traveling to or through Sault Ste. Marie. To that end it was well-equipped for its time, boasting 255 rooms, a dining room that could seat up to 400 people, and all the modern conveniences of the time, such as hot water for guests and electricity running throughout the building. It was even built directly facing the river and had its own dock for guests.
The International Hotel seems to have been very successful despite numerous competing hotels in the area, including the Algonquin Hotel which wasn't far away. It even held some banquets for major Canadian names, such as Francis Hector Clergue. All this would come to an end in 1916, however.