• UNIT-Local History Component
    Title: The Military Presence
    Focus:  There was a large military presence at Sault Ste. Marie for many years.
    Connection: Remember when we talked about the first Fort Brady.  Today we are going to talk about the continued military presence in Sault Ste. Marie.
    Teaching Point:
    1.  New Fort Brady was built on the hill (1892).
    2. Camp Lucas was built (1950).
    3. Kincheloe AFB was located 20 miles south of the Sault.
    4. The large industries closed down (1950s and 1960s).
    5. By 1977, Camp Lucas and Kincheloe AFB had closed.
    Resource Material for Teachers:  
    The movement of Fort Brady from its site on the riverbank in downtown Sault Ste. Marie to a spot up on the hill overlooking the upper river was not accomplished without a U.S. Supreme Court decision!  The 80-acre site selected was the property of Thomas Ryan, who wanted $40,000 for his land, and the local Chamber of Commerce supported his cause. The Supreme Court decided for the government, however, and Ryan apparently received substantially less than his asking price. The federal government took possession of the land in 1890, and the new fort opened two years later. For the first fifty years of its existence at the new site, the garrison was not large, although during the Great Depression, the fort served as the administrative center for about 30 CCC camps located in the Upper Peninsula.

                Because of the strategic importance of the Sault Locks during WWII (about 90% of the steel used to build the ships, tanks, artillery, jeeps and other military equipment during the war was made from Lake Superior iron ore!), the area was one of the most heavily defended in the continental United States. At the peak, there were upwards of 7,300 soldiers stationed at or near the Sault in 1942-43. This number fell rapidly by the end of 1943, as the tide of the war changed in Europe, and the United States Army needed the defenders at Fort Brady for the offensive effort against Nazi Germany. The fort closed in 1945.

                See City of the Rapids, chapter 10, for much more detail about the defense of the Sault during WWII, and also for information on the Korean War era Camp Lucas, and the early Cold War era Kincheloe Air Force Base. It should be noted that the Sault is still home to the United States Coast Guard, and so the military presence survives, fittingly, as the river transportation past the Sault remains as important as ever.


    Active Engagement:  Color Pages with descriptive text 44-45student pages.

    Share: Students make a timeline showing the first American military presence continuing until today.  Show beginning and ending dates of different service branches.

Last Modified on February 14, 2018