Riverfront walk along Water Street and Brady Park
It's easy to visit the locks and remain unaware that there's a most attractive walk and park along Water Street. One end is behind the six-story Ojibway Hotel that marks the end of Soo Locks Park. Another end is at the foot of Ashmun, downtown's main street.
It's on part of the site of the first Fort Brady, built in 1823. Interestingly, though the British had been defeated in the War of 1812, they did not quit this area until forced to by Michigan's territorial governor, Lewis Cass, in 1820. Cass claimed the Sault for the United States "with reckless courage that almost precipitated a massacre by pro-British Indians," according to historian Willis Dunbar in Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State.
Between the street and the river is a history walkway of flower gardens and interesting markers, new and old, that illuminate further aspects of the Soo's rich history. A bust and bas-reliefs of scenes from Sault history commemorates the outdoors-loving Chase Osborn, onetime publisher of the Sault Evening News. He was one of Michigan's more interesting governors and the only governor from the Upper Peninsula. A progressive Republican, he believed in using government to benefit society and its less fortunate members. He was Michigan's chief game and fish warden and then, from 1899 to 1903, Michigan commissioner of railroads. As governor from 1911 to 1912 he worked to enact Michigan's first workmen's compensation and successfully lobbied nationally for the free trade in the Reciprocity Agreement of 1911 with Canada, over the opposition of U.P. lumber, pulp, and farm lobbies. (He never won later bids for governor or for U.S. senator.) Later he became a militant prohibitionist.
The core of Brady Park is on a knoll capped by an red granite obelisk monument. In 1905 it commemorated the 50th anniversary of opening the locks. The designer was no less than Charles McKim of McKim, Mead and White, the New York architecture firm that was the most prestigious of its time. The obelisk is an impressive Beaux Art touch from the turn-of-the-century era, when the citizens of the Soo aspired to greatness. Between the obelisk and the river is a palisade of wood stakes constructed on a small part of the original line of Fort Brady when it was here.
Overlooking the park are several impressive old homes. The site of Father Marquette's mission is commemorated by a marker across Water Street from the park at the corner of Bingham.
Return to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
POINTS OF INTEREST
Riverfront walk along Water Street and Brady Park. See upbound boats waiting at the locks at beautiful Brady Park, site of the 19th c. fort. See interesting historic monuments from Sault Ste. Marie's aspiring years, including idiosyncratic Chase Osborn, the only U.P. governor. ... more
Mission Point, Aune Osborn Park & Sugar Island Ferry. It's been called the #1 place anywhere to see Great Lakes freighters in motion ... more
Sault Ste. Marie Wi-fi Hotspots. Bayliss Public Library has public computers. 541 Library Drive. Take last US exit on I-75, turn right on Easterday, turn left at traffic light onto Ashland St. to Library Drive. • Lake Superior State University campus is a wi-fi hotspot. 650 W. Easterday. ... more