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Sault Locks Monument

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Sault Locks Monument

Sault Locks, MichiganSault Ste. Marie, Michigan, lies along the Sault Ship Canal on the Canadian border. Sault Locks is one of the nation's largest complexes of locks, conducting commercial shipping through the St. Mary's River from from Lake Superior eastward to smaller Lake George and Lake Nicolet, en route to Lake Huron.

The earliest locks, completed in 1855, represented a significant engineering achievement in its day, as the river's rapids drop 21 feet from west to east. The 45-foot, 60-ton monument, located in Brady Park with a view of the Locks, was commemorated by Governor ___ in 1905 for the 50th Anniversary of the "Soo Locks", as it came to be called.

The Sault Locks monument stands on the site of the original Fort Brady, where in 1822 Colonel Hugh Brady established United States authority over the northern great lakes region. Designed by famed New York Architects McKim, Mead and White, this Beaux Arts pink granite marvel embodied the hope and exuberance of the city's turn-of-the-century boom optimism. The obelisk, at the time, was the largest single shaft of stone ever shipped by rail in the United States, making the Railroad history books as well during its northwestward voyage from the Norcross Brothers quarry in Stony Creek, Connecticut on July 16, 1907. Transported by the Shore Line division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, the enormous obelisk was transferred to the Star Union line and arrived in Sault Ste. Marie on August 7th, a 22-day voyage.

Gate, Ironworks and Obelisk at Brady ParkThis site for hundreds of years was also an ancient Anishinaabek (Ojibwe) burial ground along the St. Marys River, Wadjiwong. On the even of the Soo Locks 150th anniversary celebration ins 2005, a steel fence was donated by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Area Engineer Stan Jacek, and was erected to protect the burial ground from the festivities.

According to Sault Tribe Cultural Repatriation Specialist Cecil Pavlat, "History didn’t start in 1668 when Sault Ste. Marie became incorporated or in 1641 when the first Jesuit missionary came here." 

From the waterfront park today can be seen over 10,000 ships per year "locking through". Ship aficionados who want to identify the boats navigating the locks can obtain "the boat-watchers bible", Know Your Ships (www.knowyourships.com).

Related Avenues of Investigation:
Chase Osborn, Commissioner of Railroads was later elected Michigan's Governor, from 1911 to 1913. He also ran for Vice President under Al Landon, who was defeated by FDR.

(This article is a work inprogress and will be expanded throughout the semester -- Prof. Leone)

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soo_Locks http://hunts-upguide.com/sault_ste__marie__michigan_riverfront_walk_along_water_street_and_brady_park.html

Know Your Ships

Cooperation to protect City,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and tribes work in favor of ancient Anishinaabek burial ground http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/greatlakes/50469902.html


A nearby "Survey Monument" (not yet located by this author) commemorates the northern terminus of Michigan's "Prime Meridian" established in 1815. The survey was completed in 1840.

Obelisk of hammered pegmatitic biotite granite gneiss ("Branford Red Granite") from the Norcross Quarry at Stony Creek, from The Granites of Connecticut, Bulletin 484, by T. Nelson Dale and Herbert E. Gregory, Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1911. (from Quarries and Beyond)

Sault Area Arts Council


Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:33  


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