The two longest locks in the world are part of this National Historic Site. The new Poe Lock is the largest lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the only lock which can handle the super freighters which are 1,000 ft long and 105 ft. wide. A colorful history surrounds the world famous Soo Locks which form a passage for deep draft ships around the rapids of the St. Mary's river.
Before white men came to the area, the Ojibway Indians who lived nearby portaged their canoes around the "Bawating" (rapids) to reach Lake Superior. The Soo Locks have been operating since 1855. By visiting Sault Ste. Marie you can view the tremendous St. Mary's Rapids, which are located next to the Soo Locks. The natural barrier of the rapids made necessary the construction of the Locks project knows as the St. Mary's Fall Canal. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, foreign flag vessels known to Great Lakes sailors as "salties" are now very much in evidence, giving the Soo Locks all the international flavor of its sister locks at the Panama Canal. The Visitor Viewing Area includes observation decks so close to the big ships that you feel you can touch them. For additional information contact Sault Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2650 I-75 Business Spur, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. Phone 906/632-3366, or 800/MI-SAULT.