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Sault Ste Marie Historic Sites

Explore the area where the Great Lakes meet!

The Sault Historic Sites has a location for everyone in Sault Ste. Marie. Whether you’re interested in exploring a retired Great Lakes freighter, experiencing life during the days of the fur traders, or simply interested in taking in a beautiful vista, the Sault Historic Sites has a location to suit you.

Explore an actual Great Lakes Freighter!

The Museum Ship VALLEY CAMP offers more than just a tour of her deck. Housed inside her massive cargo holds is a 20,000 square foot museum with over 100 exhibits!


Edmund-smallOur EDMUND FITZGERALD exhibit holds the two lifeboats from the stricken vessel.  Torn away during the sinking, these lifeboats are two of very few major artifacts recovered after the tragic demise.  The exhibit also features an hour-long presentation about the events that occurred on November 10, 1975, which caused the tragic loss of one of the Great Lakes’ largest freighters.


aquariamsIn addition to the museum exhibits, the Museum Ship VALLEY CAMP displays four 1,200 gallon aquariums stocked with various species of fish from the Great Lakes region.  The fish are supplied by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and by the Michigan Wholesale Bait of Alanson, Michigan.


The VALLEY CAMP once housed a crew of 29 men in her cabins.  Visitors are able to view these cabins to witness firsthand the lifestyle of Great Lakes sailors.  From the nicely appointed Captain’s Quarters to the plain accommodations lived in by the Oilers and the Coal Passers, visitors are able to see how these sailors lived and worked aboard ship.

Tower of History

Tower of History, Sault Ste Marie MI

Soaring 210 feet above Sault Ste. Marie and the Soo Locks, the tower has observation platforms for visitors to get spectacular views and photos of the world’s busiest inland shipping channel. In the view below from the Tower of History, one can see several historic houses, and the Museum Ship Valley Camp.

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The View

Rising 210 feet above Sault Ste. Marie, the Tower of History gives visitors a 360-degree view of the entire Sault area from the Sault Locks and the St. Mary’s River to the Canadian wilderness.  An express elevator whisks visitors to the top for a panoramic view of up to 1,200 square miles, including the Sault Locks, the St. Mary’s River, and the Canadian wilderness.

Some History about the Tower

The Tower of History was built in 1968 by the Catholic Church as the Shrine of the Missionaries. The Shrine was meant to be part of a larger complex which would have featured exhibits about the early Missionaries such as Bishop Baraga. A community center and a new Church were also planned. The Church later cut the project in favor of other endeavors, and the Shrine of the Missionaries was donated to the Sault Historic Sites in 1980. It has been operated as the Tower of History ever since.

The Museum

Watch the fireworks from the Tower of History on the 4th of July!

Overlooking George Kemp Marina

The Tower of History remains true to its original mission of telling the tale of the early Missionaries, but its scope has been widened to include both local and Native American history. The Lower Level features museum exhibits as well as a video presentation; the Upper Level, in addition to the view, features descriptions of the surrounding area as well as its own exhibit space.

River Of History Museum

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The River of History Museum was opened by The Sault Ste. Marie Foundation for Culture and History in 1992, with the mission of preserving and promoting the history of the St. Mary’s River system.

Since July 1, 2009, a relocation project was successfully completed to move all exhibits and artifacts from the old Federal Building on Portage Avenue to its new location at 531 Ashmun Street, across from the Soo Theatre Arts Resource Studios (S.T.A.R.S.).  (See Map for location/driving directions)

This well appointed and modern museum will relate the complete history of the St. Mary’s River from its formation by the glaciers through the 20th Century.

Set up in chronological order, the Museum’s galleries are furnished with exhibits of local artifacts and information about the surrounding area. The galleries and exhibits are explained by a self-monitored audio presentation. You can listen to the tales of Native Americans, French fur traders, and others who helped to tame the St. Mary’s River.

Visit our Rates & Schedule page for more information!

Visit the River of History Museum’s website for additional information!

George Kemp Marina

logo_KempThe George Kemp Downtown Marina boasts modern facilities within walking distance to downtown restaurants and attractions.

Amenities include:

  • Wireless Internet connection and Fax available
  • Accommodate vessels up to 100’ in length
  • The average mean depth of basin 9’
  • 30 or 50 amp service
  • Dock lighting and fresh water at each slip
  • Premium Marine Grade gasoline, Diesel, pumpouts
  • ADA Accessible well maintained restrooms
  • Private Showers
  • Coin-operated laundry facility
  • Courtesy bicycles
  • Courtesy Weber gas grills
  • Complimentary coffee in the lounge each morning
  • Dog Run
  • Soft drinks, bag, and block ice
  • Located in the heart of the downtown district ]
  • Walking distance to many area attractions

For additional information, schedule, and rates, please contact the Harbor directly at 906-635-7670 or visit the website

Reservations for the Kemp Marina are available and can be made through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or by calling 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757)

Water Street Historic Block

Opening on Engineer’s Day – Friday, June 29th,2018

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft House

12:00 NOON TO 5:00 P.M.

The historic homes of the Historic Water Street Homes are operated through a cooperative effort between the Chippewa County Historical Society, the Sault Historic Sites, and the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Artifacts in the homes are from the collections of the Chippewa County Historical Society.  Many items on display were originally owned by the Johnston family.

Bishop Frederic Baraga House

The Johnston House and the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft office located on Water Street in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan give visitors a first-hand look into the lives of the early fur traders and settlers by providing a historically accurate portrayal of their homes and lives.

Visitors to the Historic Water Street Homes can tour the home of John Johnston, one of the first European settlers to the area.  The office of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the first Indian Agent to the area is also on display. Bishop Frederic Baraga’s house is presently under restoration.



Kemp Coal Company Office

The Kemp Coal Dock Office is a museum devoted to the industrial history of Sault Ste. Marie. It is located adjacent to the George Kemp Downtown Marina.

John Johnston, a native of Ireland, immigrated to Canada in 1785 and made a very successful living in the fur trade.  He was married in 1793 to Oshahguscodaywayquay, daughter of Waubojeeg, the leader of the Chippewa.  The couple moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1793 where they constructed a home, part of which is currently on display.

In addition to historic displays, the Historic Water Street Homes provides programming by performers and artisans.

For additional information, please contact the Sault Historic Sites Office:
906-632-3658 OR Toll-Free 1-888-744-7867