• UNIT-Local History Component
    Title: The Railroad Comes to the Sault
    Focus: The Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad reached the Sault in January 1888.
    Connection: Remember when we talked about the need for moving Natural Resources.  Today we are going to talk about the benefits of the railroad coming toSault Ste.Marie.
    Teaching Point:
    1. The railroad was built across the U.P. from Minnesota.
    2. The railroad was built to transport flour to Eastern cities.
    3. The railroad also transported lumber and provided passenger service.
    Resource Material for Teachers:

                As mining development blossomed in the western Upper Peninsula, small railroad “stubs” were built, connecting mines to ore docks; then in 1864, Negaunee and Escanaba were linked by a line. In 1872, Marquette was connected with the “outside world” as the Chicago and Northwestern line was completed between Chicago and Marquette. It was 16 more years before the Sault was served by a railroad. Despite the fact that the Sault had a huge head start as a settled area over Marquette, the commercial interests of the mineral country easily determined where investments would be made.

                The flour mills of Minnesota provided the impetus for getting railroad service through the Sault. The millers felt that they were being overcharged for freight on their flour headed to the east coast via Chicago or Milwaukee. They determined to set up an alternate route, and Sault Ste. Marie was the key point on the shortest way to get to the Atlantic seaboard staying north of the Chicago/Milwaukee complex. The plan involved a link with the Canadian Pacific Railway, which could be extended to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, relatively easily — a bridge across the St. Marys River would then complete the path from Minneapolis to the seaboard.

                Work started in 1884, heading east out of Minneapolis, and, remarkably, on January 8, 1888, the first “flour train” reached the Sault and crossed into Canada. See pp. 165-169 of City of the Rapids.

    Active Engagement: Color Book with descriptive text found on pages 34-35student pages.

    Share: Students with a partner discuss the need for the railroad and how it became named the "Soo Line". 

Last Modified on February 14, 2018