Water Street Historic Block

Water Street Historic Block, Sault Ste. Marie: Address, Phone Number, Water Street Historic Block Reviews: 4.5/5

Water Street Historic Block

Water Street Historic Block
The area

31 reviews
Very good

Marco Island, FL192 contributions
History Preserved
Aug. 2019 • Solo
Please read “William L’s” review posted 10/19/2017. He says it all.. except Bishop Baraga’s home is now completed. Docent Annie was at the the “Snowshoe Priest” residence when I visited on Sunday. She was dressed in period costume and is a historical wealth of information, especially the Chippewa Indian. The 4 homes are fascinating and cost a mere $3.50 to see their interiors. The Historic Block contains an Indian cemetery, signage, view of the St Mary’s River and an occasional freighter. Interesting and would make a great place to make history come alive for children! The Sault is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Many thanks to the volunteers and the City for preserving this area. It is worthwhile and will be a memorable part of your vacation..as it was for mine.
Written August 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Burleson, TX291 contributions
Nice historical houses
Sep. 2018
Each of the 4 houses is very different. The guide was very informative., Parking is available,on the street.
Written September 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Wisconsin163 contributions
Wonderful history
Aug. 2018 • Solo
Great place to walk around and learn some history. There are historic buildings and an Indian cemetery. My favorite was the Baraga house since I've read a lot about him and it was really special to see a house he lived in. This is a great place to take a little walk and learn some of the history of early Sault St. Marie.
Written August 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Geralyn M
Grayling, MI141 contributions
Learned about some history on Sunday !!
Aug. 2018 • Couples
Loved going thru these old buildings, especially Venerable Bishop Baraga's home. The Docents were very knowledgeable in history. A great Sunday afternoon treat.
Written August 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Frankenmuth, MI1,356 contributions
If you’re in the area, stop for a quick visit
Aug. 2018 • Family
Definitely wouldn’t go out of our way but we were in the area and love history. Well kept, Historical houses with signs telling their story. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a big freighter enter the locks. Since the main Soo Locks Park is off limits to let’s and we travel with our dog, Brady Park connects to Water Street and is a nice place to sit and watch the freighters with your pet.
Written August 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sault Ste. Marie, MI75 contributions
Historical Water Street
Jul. 2017 • Friends
A walk along Water St. allows you to enjoy the large freighters pass by, walk through the historic houses and enjoy the beautiful park.
Across the street there are restaurants, and gift shops and a brewery.
Written January 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sault Ste. Marie, MI26 contributions
Ok but not necessary to visit
Jun. 2017 • Family
The plaques that tell the history of the town are interesting. The homes are slightly less so. Intriguing stories behind them and their owners, but not worth paying as much as is charged for admission, in my opinion.
Written December 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

William L
64 contributions
Lots of History here, this is what makes it interesting.
Nov. 2016 • Couples
Here's some information that might help bring these buildings to life.

There is a collection of historic homes and buildings on Water Street east of the Soo locks and the Downtown Business District that is operated jointly between the Chippewa County Historical Society, the Sault Historic Sites, and The City of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The items and artifacts in the homes and buildings are from the collections of the Chippewa County Historical Society.
A lot of the items on display at the Johnston House were originally owned by the Johnston family.
The Johnston House and the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft office gives you information about the life of the early fur traders and settlers in the region by providing an accurate portrayal of their homes and lives.
You can tour the home of John Johnston, one of the areas first European settlers, the home is the second oldest house in Michigan, constructed in 1796
John Johnston was an Irish fur trader and his Ojibwe wife, Ozhaguscodaywayquay or Susan Johnston, Susan was the daughter of  Ojibwe chief, Waubojeeg, and his wife.
Both of the Johnston's were of people of status; they had eight children together, their cultured, wealthy family was well known in the area.
Their daughter Jane, was known in Ojibwe as Bamewawagezhikaquay
Which means : "Woman of the Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky".

The Johnston's established their home and business in Sault Ste. Marie in 1793. John built a substantial log home facing the St. Marys River at the lower end of the rapids.
John furnished his home with the luxurious comforts he had known back in his homeland of Ireland, the dwelling became a favorite stop for important people who were traveling through the region. The Johnston's prospered for next twenty years.
John, was an English loyalist, while he was away from home defending Fort Mackinac against the Americans. American troops attacked Johnston's property at the Sault, destroying his home and confiscating his trade goods.
A new, smaller home was hastily built on the site of the old which is what is on display.
In 1822 Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who became the newly assigned territorial Indian agent, came to Sault Sainte Marie with Colonel Hugh Brady and his American troops. The Johnston family befriended Schoolcraft, and in 1823 Schoolcraft married the Johnston's eldest daughter, Jane. That same year, an addition was built onto the Johnston home for the newlyweds. The 1823 addition is the only part of the home that has survived.

The office of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was moved to its present site and its exterior restored to its original appearance in 1979.
Only the west wing of the house was the Indian Agency Office is open to the public.
The office exhibit contains items related to Schoolcraft’s work and his many interests.
Schoolcraft's wife Jane's maternal heritage helped aid Schoolcraft, form part of the source material for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem The Song of Hiawatha.
Schoolcraft spent his adult life working on behalf of the Ojibwe people documenting their origins, customs, legends, language, and manners. 
He spent many years in Michigan’s Northern wilderness, some of Schoolcraft’s other contributions to the growth of the state include serving as a member of the first Board of Regents for the University of Michigan, serving on the State Legislature, and his interest in providing public education would benefit both the Indians and the rest of the growing population of Michigan.
Schoolcraft arrived in Sault Sainte Marie two years before, the government had built Fort Brady and wanted to establish an official presence to stop any renewed British threat during the aftermath of the War of 1812. The government tried to make sure the British didn't agitate of the Ojibwe.

The Schoolcraft home "Elmwood,”
was built down the St Mary's River from the Johnston home in 1826-27.
It is a federal style home features a two story
main structure with two symmetrical wings.
The west wing was Schoolcraft’s Indian agency office.
The Schoolcraft's lived at Elmwood until 1833,
when the Indian agency headquarters was moved
from the Sault Sainte Marie to Mackinac Island. Elmwood was later rented by Charles Harvey, who built the first navigation locks at the Sault Sainte Marie, and even later, it became the home of prominent Sault Sainte Marie merchant Peter Barbeau.

Bishop Frederic Baraga's house in presently under restoration, following Baraga’s departure from Sault Sainte Marie to Marquette, the building was used as a Catholic school and later as a residence for church and school employees. For a time it housed a museum. It was moved to its present location in 1986 and opened to the public in 2014.

Bishop Frederick Baraga was known as "The Snowshoe Priest"
He was man of the forests, the swamps, the lakes, rivers, the sun, snow, and ice.
He established his office in the third oldest mission village in America, Sault Ste. Marie.
To reach people Father Baraga made use of a pair of snowshoes. Having made himself accustomed to these shoes he used them for the rest of his missionary life in traversing hundreds of miles every year over the snowy terrain of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin. 
He was the only priest working in this vast territory, for several years, as a lone missionary he endured the incredible hardships that go with traversing land on mostly on foot or sled over the frozen wilderness of Northern Michigan and crossing Lakes Superior and Michigan by canoe in spring summer and fall, and during severe winters by sled when the lakes totally freeze over.

The faithful called him “snowshoe priest” & then later “snowshoe bishop.”
He wrote a book on the life of the American Indians, he also had a book on the Life of Christ printed, which he had translated into French, German, Odawa (Ottawa) and Ojibwe (Chippewa) languages. He presented Pope Pius IX with a copy of one of these books when he was received in a papal audience.
He wrote the first and only pastoral letter ever written in a native American language.
He also completed a grammar book and dictionary of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) language, which was an essential aid for the missionaries who succeeded him.
In addition to the grammar and dictionary, Baraga also wrote commentaries in the Odawa (Ottawa) language.
Father Baraga, was a skilled lawyer, he defended the rights of the native tribes, which earned him the scurge of the federal Indian agent in southern Michigan when he defended the Odawa (Ottawa) when they negotiated with the government at the Grand River Mission near present-day Grand Rapids, sadly the Bishop of Detroit, decided to appease the government and so ordered Father Baraga to leave Grand River Mission.
He regularly confronted the authorities to prevent the relocation of area's the native people.
Baraga was responsible for the building of many churches and schools throughout the Upper Peninsula also a large part of the Lower Peninsula, to Northern Wisconsin, and to the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota and Ontario.

There is also The Kemp Coal Dock Office the building
It's now a museum devoted to the industrial history of Sault Ste. Marie.
The Kemp Coal Dock Office was built in 1904 by
Sault businessman George Kemp. He owned all of
the waterfront property between the Edison power
house and the Coast Guard station. In 1917 Kemp
turned his coal business over to his sons and the
building became the office for Kemp Brothers Coal Company, which operated in the Sault until 1959.
In 1960 the property was given to the City of Sault
Sainte Marie and developed for a variety of tourist related
businesses. In 2007 the Coal Company
office building was opened as the Kemp Industrial
The industries drawn to the region by the natural resources, and access to transportation and large amounts of cheap hydro-electricity have all left the by the early 1960's. These industries included Union Carbide, Northwestern Leather Company, Soo Woolen Mill and Cadillac-Soo Lumber Company
They became the major employers of the Sault Sainte Marie.
As local natural resources grew scarce and
processing and product demands changed, the
Sault Sainte Marie's major industries were no longer viable.
These industries that are remembered in the Kemp Industrial Museum.
It is located adjacent to the kemp George Kemp Downtown marina & museum ship, the SS Valley Camp and near the Edison Sault Hydroelectric Generating Plant (the 1/4 Mile long stone building to the east).
Written October 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Donna M
Wolcottville, IN63 contributions
Worth taking a walk on
Oct. 2017 • Friends
There is a history of the town on this street. Plaques tell you how the town started and the importance of this street in its beginning. Very interesting. Glad we took time to walk the street. It was just by accident that we landed on it!
Written October 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kansas6,404 contributions
Several interesting buildings
Sep. 2017 • Couples
The Water Street Historic Block is only open from last June until Labor Day. The most interesting structures are the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft House amd the Baraga House. Parking is free.
Written September 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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