Chippewa County Historical Society

Chippewa County Historical Society The Gift Shop at the front of the building is closed until June 2020. Office hours at back door by appointment only.
(33)

Office hours are Mondays and Fridays at the back of the building. Call for appt. Gift shop and displays at the front of the building are closed until May 15. (Access to the shop and displays is possible during office hours, by appt. and during event. You also order books through Paypal via cchsmi.com or email us at [email protected].

May 12 is Florence Nightingale's birthday, and the past week has been National Nurses' Week. We owe so much to our dedic...
05/14/2020

May 12 is Florence Nightingale's birthday, and the past week has been National Nurses' Week. We owe so much to our dedicated healthcare workers at all levels. Here is a picture of a group of nurses-in-training at the Sault Hospital that was located near the southwest corner of Bingham and Spruce Streets, before War Memorial Hospital was built. The date we have for the image is ca. 1910. If accurate, that would mean that these nurses-in-training would have been less than a decade into their careers when the Flu Pandemic of 1918 that we hear so much about these days was raging. That qualifies as a "trial by fire!" Photographer unknown image # 1630.1

So many of the pictures we have posted on Throwback Thursday were taken by Walter (on left) or Carl Materna. This pictur...
05/07/2020

So many of the pictures we have posted on Throwback Thursday were taken by Walter (on left) or Carl Materna. This picture was used in an ad for Materna Studios in the Evening News, June 18, 1955, which was a huge special edition celebrating the Centennial of the Soo Locks. There are ten cameras in the display. The largest one, on the right, used eight by ten inch negatives. The families of both men gave a large number of their pictures to the Historical Society....most of them as negatives, so we can obtain very good quality prints from them. In addition to all of the pictures that they themselves took, Walter helped preserve the visual legacy of our area by making copy negatives (carefully taking a picture of a picture) of photographs taken by previous generations of professional photographers. Many of those were provided to Walter by Gordon Daun, who was an avid and energetic collector of historical photographs. This image was given to us by Carl Materna. We don't know who took the photo!

Here's a zoomed-in view of the bridges shown in the next post below.  Since the "bridge island"  supporting the swing br...
04/30/2020

Here's a zoomed-in view of the bridges shown in the next post below. Since the "bridge island" supporting the swing bridge would not permit passage the much larger freighters on the drawing boards as the new Poe Lock was being planned, it had to be removed, and the swing bridge replaced by the lift bridge.

Last week we posted a photo from 1953 which showed, among other things, the railroad swing bridge above the locks. A com...
04/30/2020

Last week we posted a photo from 1953 which showed, among other things, the railroad swing bridge above the locks. A comment was made by a reader that he didn't realize that the lift bridge was not the original bridge at that spot, so we promised to post one showing BOTH the lift bridge and the swing bridge. The lift bridge had to be built while the swing bridge remained operational, so train traffic could continue. Gotta admire the engineers and contractor on a job like that. The note on the envelope holding this negative says "4/16/59 First boat" so apparently the locks opened later then than it does now. The swing bridge and the "island" on which it was pivoted were removed shortly after this photo was taken, so it's a rare view. Walter Materna Collection neg# 333

Here's an aerial view of the approaches above the locks taken March 29, 1953 looking west. Some things to note, besides ...
04/23/2020

Here's an aerial view of the approaches above the locks taken March 29, 1953 looking west. Some things to note, besides the ice in the canal approaches: the third and fourth locks were still in use; eight freighters have locked upbound through them, headed for Whitefish Bay, probably awaiting an escort by the Coast Guard ice breaker Mackinaw; the railroad swing bridge (to the left of the bascule bridge, and in the closed position) had not yet been replaced by the lift bridge in use today; in the far distance, smoke can be seen coming out of the huge stack at Northwestern Leather. The photo was likely taken by Carl Materna, and the pilot was probably banking the aircraft. Walter Materna Collection neg. #773

It's almost time to think about gardening! This picture in front of Weber's Greenhouse (near Tenth Avenue on Ashmun Hill...
04/16/2020

It's almost time to think about gardening! This picture in front of Weber's Greenhouse (near Tenth Avenue on Ashmun Hill) was taken in 1940. On the far right is Bud Weber, who was active in the Lions Club for many decades. On the far left, squatting and holding his hat, is Joe DePaul, long-time owner of the Soo Amusement Company. The man with the shovel is John Zabelka, who was editor of The Evening News, and who deserves the credit for the idea of converting Fort Brady into Soo Branch of Michigan College of Mining and Technology at the end of WWII. The Lions Club sign had apparently just been "planted." Walter Materna Collection, neg. #1476

Here's another photo that Walter Materna took from the second floor bay window of his studio. We see the Lion's Club Whi...
04/09/2020

Here's another photo that Walter Materna took from the second floor bay window of his studio. We see the Lion's Club White Elephant Store on the northeast corner of Ashmun and Maple ca. 1935. It's hard to tell if the elephant, which we think was made of paper mache, was being rolled out for the afternoon, or being put away. Quite a few folks are watching the operation, including a man in uniform....no doubt from Fort Brady. We can see part of the sign for "Taffy" Abel's Log Cabin Cafe, partly hidden by the sign for the Fountain Cafe.The sign on the telephone pole asks for a vote for Judge Fegan for Justice of the Peace. Walter Materna Collection neg. #584.1

This picture was taken in 1969. We don't know which anniversary the Hub was celebrating then, but it was at least their ...
04/02/2020

This picture was taken in 1969. We don't know which anniversary the Hub was celebrating then, but it was at least their 50th, maybe 60th. Just a tiny piece of Arfstrom's Drugs is showing at the right edge of the image, to put this in perspective. Jack Specht Realty was apparently on the second floor of the Hub building. For a few years in the early 2000's, the Chippewa County Historical Society rented the basement of the Hub....perhaps the longest staircase in town led down to our digs. Walter Materna Collection, neg.# 136

Stay safe out there.
03/27/2020

Stay safe out there.

As we keep all of our healthcare workers in our thoughts during this pandemic, here's a picture of a parade display for ...
03/26/2020

As we keep all of our healthcare workers in our thoughts during this pandemic, here's a picture of a parade display for the Fourth of July Parade in 1931....also a very stressful time in our history. Too bad we can't read the banner, but the last two letters of the last two lines are "AL," so we think this was a parade entry from War Memorial Hospital. There's a nurse, a hospital bed (hard to tell if somebody was in the bed) and a visitor in a rocking chair on the truck bed. We hope the driver gave them a smooth ride! Walter Materna Collection, neg. # 296.1

This picture was taken during a parade in 1950....probably the 4th of July Parade. There was a Build-A-Road Day on Sugar...
03/18/2020

This picture was taken during a parade in 1950....probably the 4th of July Parade. There was a Build-A-Road Day on Sugar Island coming up, when residents organized a massive effort to improve roads on the island. The Native American heritage on the island is on display here. The view is looking eastward across Ashmun from near the corner of Ashmun and Ridge. A sign on the truck says "Join the Atlantic Union." which was a favorite cause of Chase and Stellanova Osborn. Chase Osborn died the year before this parade occurred. Walter Materna Collection, neg. #679.1

A few weeks ago, we posted a picture of Art Booth’s bountiful ice-harvest, on trucks parked on West Spruce St. It genera...
03/12/2020

A few weeks ago, we posted a picture of Art Booth’s bountiful ice-harvest, on trucks parked on West Spruce St. It generated plenty of interest, and a comment from a reader, who said “Simply incredible how simple and difficult life was.” This picture reinforces that comment for sure.

The ice in the Sault harbor was still fairly thick in March, 1937, and folks were anxious to get the ferry between the two Saults operating for the season. The Booth Brothers’ experienced crew of ice-cutters were hired to cut a path through the ice for the ferry. According to a news article, the channel was 1850 feet long, and the ice was twelve to fourteen inches thick. More than once, in earlier seasons, DYNAMITE had been used to help open a channel through the ice. Those cross-border travelers were a DETERMINED bunch! Beyond the crew of cutters, a person can be seen walking toward Canada, and the ferry is also visible in the lane closer to the Canadian shore.
Walter Materna Collection, neg. # 1766.7

Here's a photo from 1949 that was given to us a while ago by Leitha Vollick. The "Soo Rockettes" women's hockey team is ...
03/05/2020

Here's a photo from 1949 that was given to us a while ago by Leitha Vollick. The "Soo Rockettes" women's hockey team is shown, along with their coach whose name (we think) was "Mac" McLean. The rink was somewhere in Algonquin, perhaps at the McKinley School. Besides Leitha, a few of the names of players on the team are: Gloria VanLuven, Darlene Beseau, Judy Hamilton and Lois Albon. Courtesy of Leitha Vollick Walter Materna Collection, Image # 100.11 and 100.13

Back when many folks had yet to acquire a refrigerator, February and March were big months for harvesting ice from the r...
02/27/2020

Back when many folks had yet to acquire a refrigerator, February and March were big months for harvesting ice from the river to supply area iceboxes. Here is a picture taken in 1932 on West Spruce Street. Notice the swayback bed of the second truck, from the weight of the ice, which would have come from just above the locks. Ken Weir, in his teens at the time, is the sixth man from the left, and the rightmost man is probably Art Booth, owner of the ice-harvesting outfit. Walter Materna Collection, neg. #469.1

A few weeks ago, we posted a picture that included the Sims Motors building, after the business had closed. There was a ...
02/20/2020

A few weeks ago, we posted a picture that included the Sims Motors building, after the business had closed. There was a request to see the business when it was open. This picture was taken in 1932. Sims was on the south side of Portage, east of Bingham. Note the curbside gas pumps. The sign says "DeSoto Does It Again", and a couple of cars can be seen through the display windows. Walter Materna Collection, neg. # 183

Our final Train Display Open House for this season will be held this coming Saturday, February 15th, from 12 Noon to 6 P...
02/13/2020

Our final Train Display Open House for this season will be held this coming Saturday, February 15th, from 12 Noon to 6 PM. Stop by at 115 Ashmun to see this amazing creation by Paul Duesing, Dennis Hank, and Gil Cymbalist. Today's Throwback photo shows the Union Depot on West Portage in 1920, with a couple of steam locomotives. We have several pictures of the exterior of the depot, but none that show its interior. If any reader has such a picture, we would love to hear from you. Photo by John Stradley, neg. #1859.4

Please join us for our last Winter 2020 Train Open House.  We look forward to seeing you soon!
02/12/2020

Please join us for our last Winter 2020 Train Open House. We look forward to seeing you soon!

We estimate that this photo of a very large snow-roller was taken ca. 1890, on Water Street. These were probably widely ...
02/06/2020

We estimate that this photo of a very large snow-roller was taken ca. 1890, on Water Street. These were probably widely used throughout Chippewa County through the first third of the 20th century. One was in use on Sugar Island as recently as 1937. The roads were plowed with a horse-drawn V-plow, and then the roller was used to roll the banks, which would lessen drifting. Note that there are five teams of horses pulling the roller. We are unsure whether such rollers were used regularly in the city….perhaps a reader can supply information on that. Judging by all of the people in the picture, this may have been some sort of special occasion. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Michigan.

This photo was probably taken about 1935.  The Montgomery Ward Store will be familiar to any who were “of age” during th...
01/30/2020

This photo was probably taken about 1935. The Montgomery Ward Store will be familiar to any who were “of age” during the middle third of the twentieth century in the Sault. To its immediate right is Anton Materna’s Tailor Shop. Next on right is the Quality Barber Shop. In the 1935 Polk City Directory, there were twenty barbershops listed in town! The 2007 directory listed only 2 barbershops. Next to the right is the Karmelkorn Shop, which later on was about a block further south on Ashmun. The sign just above sidewalk level right of the door says “Pies Cakes Elite Pastry Shoppe” Anton Materna was the father of Sault photographers Walter and Carl Materna. Walter Materna Collection, neg.# 1034

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 1!
01/29/2020

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 1!

01/23/2020
This photo was taken in the mid to late 1930s. It shows part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Raco. Mich...
01/23/2020

This photo was taken in the mid to late 1930s. It shows part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Raco. Michigan. Here is a description of the camp, as found on a U.S.D.A Forest Service website for Hiawatha National Forest:
Camp Raco - South of M-28 at junction with FR- 3154 - Known originally as the "Lone Pine Camp," Camp Raco was the first CCC camp in the Upper Peninsula. It was home to Company 667, which was organized in April, 1933 with 200 enrollees from Detroit and Hamtramck. Official designation as Camp Raco F-5 occurred in summer, 1933. Work by enrollees at Camp Raco included tree planting, truck trail construction, telephone construction, stream improvement, campground construction, fish planting and fire presuppression. By 1942, when Raco was the only camp left on the district, its fire protection area covered 151,140 acres. After the camp closed, the facilities were used during World War II as a German prisoner of war camp.
Walter Materna Collection, neg. #711.5

This slush-filled scene was taken looking southeast from near the corner of Bingham and Portage sometime in the 1980s. O...
01/16/2020

This slush-filled scene was taken looking southeast from near the corner of Bingham and Portage sometime in the 1980s. One of the more spectacular fires in the last fifty years totally destroyed the Soo Supply and Equipment Company building (the one with the "Northland Associate Grocers" sign on it), probably not many years after this picture was taken. The building next to Ye Olde Corner Store was once the home of Sims Motors....dealer, we think we remember, in DeSoto automobiles. Walter Materna Collection, neg. #853.1

This aerial photo (looking north) was taken by Andrew E. Young….we think in 1923. It is the earliest aerial photo of the...
01/02/2020

This aerial photo (looking north) was taken by Andrew E. Young….we think in 1923. It is the earliest aerial photo of the Sault that we have. Just right of and slightly below the center of the image is the corner of Ryan and Easterday. Notice the large municipal water tower. Much of Fort Brady can be seen in the image. The large, light-colored fields near the intersection were apparently still being farmed. If the (second) Washington School had existed then, it would appear in the very right lower corner of the picture. The wind must have been from the east when Young shot the picture, since dust from the Carbide plant can be seen at the top of the image.

12/28/2019

Our last Model train Open House in 2019. Come join us from 10am to 4pm today!

This picture shows a second grade class at Lincoln School in 1926. If any of these children are still alive, they are pr...
12/26/2019

This picture shows a second grade class at Lincoln School in 1926. If any of these children are still alive, they are probably celebrating their 100th birthday this year. They were clearly told to fold their hands for the picture, and they all obeyed. The little girl in the middle of the row in the foreground was distracted, and turned her head at just the wrong time. I’m guessing that the boy a few rows behind her, who seems to be looking at her and smiling, probably got her attention. There are forty-three children in the image. Walter Materna Collection neg # 1084.

12/21/2019

Model train Open House 10am to 4pm today. Hope to see you soon!

This Christmas Pageant took place in Ritchie Auditorium of the former Sault High School at Johnston and Spruce. We don't...
12/19/2019

This Christmas Pageant took place in Ritchie Auditorium of the former Sault High School at Johnston and Spruce. We don't have an exact date, but think it was late 1930s or early 1940s.Those who attended Sault HIgh in the years from about 1920 through the late 1970s will remember the one thousand-seat auditorium....there was a large statue of a former president on the floor to the left and right of the stage. I think it was Teddy Roosevelt on the left, and you can barely see about half of him on the left edge of the image. Walter Materna Collection, neg. # 1511.1

Merry Christmas to All!

With the Christmas season approaching, we thought of this image from the past….the recent past in this case. The picture...
12/12/2019

With the Christmas season approaching, we thought of this image from the past….the recent past in this case. The picture shows Mr. Ken Weir with Salvation Army Captain Shanais Strissel, at the S.A. Citadel on West Spruce, in 2007. The large painting, entitled "The Compassionate One," hangs behind the pulpit at the Citadel Chapel. It was created by Mr. Royce Caron ca. 1935, to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the construction of the Citadel. Ken Weir told me the story of the painting; he knew Royce Caron, and helped to move the large painting (it is seven by eleven feet) to the Citadel from Caron’s studio. Mr. Caron was born in Sault Ste. Marie, and became a commercial artist. He played a large role in the development of the first “paint by numbers” kits that were popular in the 1950s and beyond.
Photo by Bernie Arbic

12/07/2019

Another wonderful day of trains. Come join us during our December Saturdays Open House. Hours are 10am to 4pm. Hope to see you soon!

This picture from 1947 shows a steam locomotive passing "The Tannery," (Northwestern Leather Company) on West Fourth Ave...
12/05/2019

This picture from 1947 shows a steam locomotive passing "The Tannery," (Northwestern Leather Company) on West Fourth Avenue. The railroad crossing indicated by the sign is the one that thousands of Sault kids crossed on their way to Sherman Park. Trains were very important to the tannery, since the hides which were used to make leather arrived in railroad cars, and perhaps the leather was shipped to market that way as well.

The Historical Society's Annual Model Train Open Houses take place from 10 AM until 4 PM each Saturday in December. Stop in at 115 Ashmun and see the wonderful display created by Gil Cymbalist, Dennis Hank, and Paul Deusing, complete with a power canal, and many Sault buildings you will recognize.
Walter Materna Collection neg. #1008.5

11/30/2019

The trains are here! Today from 10am to 4pm and every Saturday in December. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

This advertisement was published in the Wednesday before Thanksgiving edition of the Evening News in 1944…the last full ...
11/28/2019

This advertisement was published in the Wednesday before Thanksgiving edition of the Evening News in 1944…the last full year of fighting during WWII. The end of the war is anticipated by the inclusion of the statement “Let us give thanks for the PEACE ahead.” There are sixty-two sponsors of this ad from 75 years ago; 58 businesses, plus Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Bowating Club, and Knights of Pythias. In case you are unable to blow the image up enough to be able to read the names, we note that the Ojibway Hotel, the Evening News, and Pingatore Cleaners are the only three businesses we spotted that exist today. Many, many changes, but we have so much to be thankful for today as well.

Address

115 Ashmun Street, PO Box 342
Sault Ste. Marie, MI
49783

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Chippewa County Historical Society posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Chippewa County Historical Society:

Videos

Nearby museums


Comments

feeling curious, do you have any Baycliff Health Camp Pics since that's a michigan camp or no?
Thank you 😊
Thank you 😊
Would it be nice if someone could turn the old pump station at Sherman Park into something unique.
I've only been home twice in the last about 30 years, so this is away I can stay connected 💞
Thank you, very proud to be Soo born💞
any info on the park hotel? it was across from the ojib way...thinking it burned but can't remember for sure
Anyone remember the park hotel and what happened to it?
This is a Raspberry Jam Crock from PS Church Sugar Island MICHIGAN Anyone has any idea where it was made? 1850 - 1889?
I have a question I'm hoping someone on here will be able to answer. It's about steere Island. I'm assuming it was named after Joseph steere. And if so is the old building you can see on the island something he built or did he live there perhaps?
A little reading material. Anyone remember Arbuckles drug store?