kids encyclopedia robot

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
City of Sault Ste. Marie
View of Sault Ste. Marie from the Canadian side of the St. Marys River
View of Sault Ste. Marie from the Canadian side of the St. Marys River
Flag of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Official seal of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
The Sault (The Soo)
Location within Chippewa County
Location within Chippewa County
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is located in Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is located in the United States
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Michigan
County Chippewa
Founded 1668
Incorporated 1879 (village)
1887 (city)
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 20.02 sq mi (51.86 km2)
 • Land 14.76 sq mi (38.22 km2)
 • Water 5.27 sq mi (13.64 km2)  26.74%
617 ft (188 m)
 • Total 14,144
 • Estimate 
 • Density 909.40/sq mi (351.12/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 906
FIPS code 26-71740
GNIS feature ID 637276

Sault Ste. Marie ( SOO-seint-MA-ree) is the only city in, and county seat of, Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. With a population of 14,144 at the 2010 census, it is the second-most populated city in the Upper Peninsula after Marquette. It is the central city of the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Chippewa County and had a population of 38,520 at the 2010 census.

Sault Ste. Marie was settled as early as 1668, which makes it Michigan's oldest city and among the oldest cities in the United States. Located at the northeastern edge of the Upper Peninsula, it is separated by the St. Marys River from the much-larger city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The two are connected by the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, which represents the northern terminus of Interstate 75. This portion of the river also contains the Soo Locks, as well as a swinging railroad bridge. The city is also home to Lake Superior State University.


Tourism is a major industry in the area. The Soo Locks and nearby Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center—which is owned by the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians—are the major draws, as well as the forests, inland lakes, and Lake Superior shoreline. Sault Ste. Marie is also a gateway to Lake Superior's scenic north shore through its twin city Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The two cities are connected by the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, a steel truss arch bridge with suspended deck passing over the St. Marys River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 596
1880 1,947
1890 5,760 195.8%
1900 10,538 83.0%
1910 12,615 19.7%
1920 12,096 −4.1%
1930 13,755 13.7%
1940 15,847 15.2%
1950 17,912 13.0%
1960 18,722 4.5%
1970 15,136 −19.2%
1980 14,448 −4.5%
1990 14,689 1.7%
2000 14,324 −2.5%
2010 14,144 −1.3%
2019 (est.) 13,420 −5.1%

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 14,144 people, 5,995 households, and 3,265 families residing in the city. The population density was 957.6 inhabitants per square mile (369.7/km2). There were 6,534 housing units at an average density of 442.4 per square mile (170.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.8% White, 0.7% African American, 17.7% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 5,995 households, of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.5% were non-families. 35.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 33.8 years. 21.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 17.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.8% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.


LSSU's campus was originally Fort Brady.


Sault Ste. Marie is home to Lake Superior State University (LSSU), founded in 1946 as an extension campus of Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University); the campus was originally Fort Brady. LSSU is home to the LSSU Lakers (D1 Hockey (WCHA), D2 all other sports (GLIAC). LSSU has around 2500 students, making it Michigan's smallest public university.

High schools

The Sault's primary public high school is Sault Area High School (SAHS). "Sault High" is one of the few high schools in the state with attached career center. The school's mascot is the Blue Devil. "Sault High" houses a variety of successful varsity sports teams, such as hockey, wrestling, baseball, and basketball. Altogether, the school provides 24 competitive sports teams for both boys and girls at all levels.

The school district also operates Malcolm High School as an alternative high school.

Middle schools

Sault Ste. Marie has two middle schools, one in the Sault Ste. Marie School System known as Sault Area Middle School. Before the 6th grade annex was added in the late 1980s, the school was referred to as Sault Area Junior High School. The Second Middle School is a part of Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting School, a Native American-affiliated Public School Academy.

St. Mary's Catholic School serves students in grades K–8.

Elementary schools

There are two elementary schools in Sault Ste. Marie, Lincoln Elementary and Washington Elementary. There is also a Public School Academy, Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting School, and the St. Mary's Catholic School. Jefferson Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Bruce Township Elementary, and Soo Township Elementary (converted into an Alternative High School) have closed because of declining enrollment in the school system.

Private schools

  • St. Mary's Catholic School
  • Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe School


Sault Ste. Marie at night from the International Space Station in 2016. North is slightly above horizontal, to the left..

The city is home to the northern terminus of I-75, which connects with the Mackinac Bridge at St. Ignace approximately 50 miles (80 km) to the south, and continues south to Miami. M-129 also has its northern terminus in the city. M-129 was at one time a part of the Dixie Highway system, which was intended to connect the northern industrial states with the southern agricultural states. Until 1984 the city was the eastern terminus of the western segment of US 2. County Highway H-63 (or Mackinac Trail) also has its northern terminus in the city and extends south to St. Ignace and follows a route very similar to I-75. The city is joined to its Canadian counterpart by the International Bridge, which connects Interstate 75 (I-75) in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Huron Street in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Commercial airline service is provided to the city by the Chippewa County International Airport in Kinross, about 20 miles (32 km) south of the city. Smaller general aviation aircraft also use the Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Airport about one 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of downtown.

Sault Ste. Marie was the namesake of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway, now the Soo Line Railroad, the U.S. arm of the Canadian Pacific Railway. This railroad had a bridge parallel to the International Bridge crossing the St. Marys River. The Soo Line has since, through a series of acquisitions and mergers of portions of the system, been split between Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway (CN). Canadian national operates the rail lines and the bridge in the Sault Ste. Marie area that were part of the Soo Line.

The Sugar Island Ferry provides automobile and passenger access between Sault Ste. Marie and Sugar Island, formerly a center of maple sugaring. The short route that the ferry travels crosses the shipping channel. Despite the high volume of freighter traffic through the locks, freighters typically do not dock in the Sault. However, the city hosts tugs, a tourist passenger ferry service, and a Coast Guard station along the shoreline on the lower (east) side of the Soo Locks. The United States Postal Service operates a "Marine Post Office", situated within the locks, to service ships as they pass through.

Shipping traffic in the Great Lakes system bypasses the rapids in the St. Marys River via the American Soo Locks. Locally, it is often claimed to be the world's busiest canal in terms of tonnage passing through it. The largest ships are 1,000 feet (300 m) long by 105 feet (32 m) wide. These are domestic carriers (called lakers). Smaller recreational and tour boats use the Canadian Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The lakers, being too large to transit the Welland Canal that bypasses Niagara Falls, are therefore land-locked. Foreign ships (termed salties) are smaller and can exit the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Notable landmarks

  • Pullar Stadium was constructed starting in 1937 and opened in 1939. It is used as an ice arena where the Soo Eagles play.
  • The Ramada Plaza Hotel Ojiway opened on December 31, 1927. The first owners were Beatrice and Leon Daglman. The building is 85 years old. The 27th Governor of Michigan Chase S. Osborn donated the site and $50,000. It was his dream to build a nice elegant hotel. Overall, it cost $250,000 to build it. On the day of its opening it had 91 rooms, 33 of which included bath tubs, 13 with showers, 34 with toilet and washbowls, and 11 just had a washbowl. This hotel was made for all the tourist who came to the town. Governor Chase S. Osborn and his family lived on the sixth floor for a while and so did Beatrice and Leon Daglman. The hotel contains 100 guestrooms, dining room, checkroom, barbershop and beauty parlor. Its decorated as an Art Deco architectural design, décor, detailed amenities and exceptional service gained national interest and attracted many famous guests including Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and more recently President George H.W. Bush in 1992
  • The Soo Theatre has been a part of Sault Ste. Marie for over 80 years and has provided entertainment of live plays, movies, and musicals. The Theatre opened in March 1930 and for 40 years was used for films and live performances. In May 1974 the theater was divided into red and blue cinemas, where a cement wall divided the once open auditorium. The building was then closed in 1998 and was put up for sale. In March 2003 the Soo Theatre Project Inc. purchased it for $85,000. After that the theater began restoration so plays and other types of entertainment could be put on once again.
  • Holy Name of Mary Pro-Cathedral (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) was begun by Jesuits in 1668. There are only two other parishes, one in St. Augustine, Florida and the other in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that are older in the United States.[3] On January 9, 1857 Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie[4] and St. Mary's was named the cathedral church for the new diocese. The present church, the fifth for the parish, was built in 1881. It was designed by Canadian architect Joseph Connolly in the Gothic Revival style. The church was extensively remodeled in three phases from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. In 1968 the parish built the Tower of History as a shrine to the Catholic missionaries who served the community.[5] It was designed to be a part of a larger complex that was to include a community center and a new church. Parish priorities changed and the structure was sold to Sault Historic Sites in 1980, who continues to operate it. Proceeds from the Tower of History still benefit the church.
  • The Soo Locks are a set of parallel locks which enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. They are on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, between the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. They bypass the rapids of the river, where the water falls 21 feet (7 m). The locks pass an average of 10,000 ships per year,[4] despite being closed during the winter from January through March, when ice shuts down shipping on the Great Lakes. The winter closure period is used to inspect and maintain the locks. The locks share a name (usually shortened and anglicized as Soo) with the two cities named Sault Ste. Marie, in Ontario and in Michigan, on either side of the St. Marys River. The Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge between the United States and Canada permits vehicular traffic to pass over the locks. A railroad bridge crosses the St. Marys River just upstream of the highway bridge.
  • Taffy Abel Arena is the home of Lake Superior State University's Division 1 hockey team. The 4,000-seat arena is part of the Norris Center athletic complex on LSSU's campus. It was renovated in 1995 and is named after Clarence "Taffy" Abel. Abel was the first American born player to become an NHL regular and was born in the Soo.
  • Lake Superior State University sits on the former site of U.S. Army Fort Brady. The University has converted most of the buildings to serve housing and administrative needs for its students, faculty, guests and employees. The 115-acre campus includes several buildings which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The University has an enrollment of around 2500 students.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sault Ste. Marie (Míchigan) para niños

kids search engine
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.