RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

St Marys Falls Canal, Soo Locks, MI.

                 Saturday 8/24/2013

Our 2nd day in Sault Ste. Marie, we drove to the Soo Locks which was about a mile away.

The construction of the lock project is know as the St. Mary's Falls Ship Canal. A private company built the locks in 1853. In 1855 they were handed over to the state of Michigan.  In 1881, the locks were transferred to the US government. The Corp operates the locks toll free to any vessel wishing to pass through.

When we arrived within the gates, we saw a freighter was already in the locks.
We went up the stairs to the Observatory Platform to see it leave the locks.
The 63 mile St. Mary's River drops 21 feet from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, with most of the drop at the St. Mary's Rapids.
The US side of the St. Mary's River has 2 canals with 4 locks. Canada also has a lock on the other side of the river. This picture shows the 4 US locks.

After the freighter left, we went inside the visitor center to wait for another ship to go by. Behind the staff desk of the visitor center, there is a daily log of what ship or boats passed through, with the time and direction they were going. We also found out that you can go to www. boatnerd.com to get information of what freighters have gone through or headed toward the locks.

After a short period in the visitor center we went back to the Observation Platform to watch another freighter go through the Soo Locks. This time the ship was going to go through the Davis Lock because it is the largest lock at 1350 feet, 80 feet wide and 23.1 feet deep, and the freighter needed the extra room.

We also got to watch a tour boat go through while waiting for the big ship go through.

The ship going through the locks was the Walter J. McCarthy Jr carrying coal from Duluth.

In this picture you can see both the tour boat and the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., sitting low before the locks are filled with water. The big freighter barely fit in length wise to get the locks to close.

It didn't take long to fill the locks and the water raise the boat/ship up high enough to open the Lake Superior lock door.

While the boats are going through the locks, the visitor center gives the information over a loud speaker of the boats size, tonnage, cargo, destination, national origin, and arrival time.

More than 11,000 vessels carrying up to 90 tons of cargo pass through the Soo Locks annually, making one of the busiest locks in the world.

This diagram in the visitor center shows the depths and route from Atlantic to Lake Superior. A fact I learned in the visitor center is if you took all the water in the Great Lakes and filled up the US, the water would be 9.5 feet deep verse 5 feet deep with just Lake Superior water! Also Lake Superior is the 2nd largest lake in the world, and the largest fresh water lake in the world by surface area.

After we left the locks, we walked about 4 to 5 blocks toward the Historic Tower. You can also see the Holy Name Of Mary Catholic Church next to the tower.

The Holy Name Of Mary is the oldest catholic church in Michigan. In 1857 Fredrich Baraga  was named bishop of the new diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, MI. (We first heard of Bishop Baraga in L'Anse, where he later traveled to and did missionary work in snowshoes). In 1881 the present day Gothic Revival- style church was erected.

Tower of History is a museum with a lookout tower. The museum was free, but the tower was $7 a person. Joe didn't want to go up in the tower because of the cost and he dislikes heights.

You can take the elevator up or climb the 200+ stairs.

I took the express elevator to the top. Looking west toward the International Bridge and Soo Locks.
 This is a view looking east up the St. Mary's River. Our campground, was just a couple blocks up the road.
 You can also see the Historic Cloverland Hydro-electric plant from this shot. The plant was open in 1902, and built with sandstone by Italian masons. The stones that were excavated from the 2 1/4 mile power canal was used to build the power plant.
A close up of the entrance of the Soo Locks. I walked down the stairs to Joe because I didn't like the way the express elevator shook going up!
On the way back to our car, we walked along Historic Water Street. If you have time and the desire, there is a lots of history reading that can be done along the street.

There is also some of the historic homes.

After we got back to our car, we drove a few blocks to the south to get a picture of the Chippewa County Court House that we could see while on our walk.

This statue is the "Wolf Of The Romans", which is a legend about a wolf who adopted and raised two boys. There is a Chippewa legend about a crane who raised two boys, so because of the similarities, this statue was gifted to the city from a student of history and legend.

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