Soo Locks


In my perpetual belatedness, I’m still wading through digital photos of our June 17th mini-vacation. Today, I’ll share our visit to the Soo Locks, located at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  For those of you who are unfamiliar our state, here is your geography tidbit of the day:

Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced /ˌsuː seɪnt məˈriː/), often shortened to The Soo, is … at the eastern edge of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on the Canadian border, separated from its twin city of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario by the St. Marys River.


[*I’m cringing as I insert that reference from Wikipedia.  I know that Wikipedia proffers mostly undocumented information with an exorbitant margin of error.  But in this case, Wikipedia included the short description with pronunciation cues that I sought.  Please forgive me.]


We’d read an article reporting of Shipping Traffic Significantly Down At Soo Locks.  So, we were pleasantly surprised to see a cargo ship entering the locks as we arrived.


Here is the Sabina, a 419 ft. x 52 ft. cargo ship from Switzerland.  She was “upbound.”


From a designated viewing area we watched the lower gates shut.


Notice the men on the far side?  They look small from this vantage point, don’t they?  This MacArthur lock is 800 ft. long x 80 ft wide x 31 feet deep.  The Poe lock–not as easily seen from the viewing area, is larger in all dimensions!  Click here for an aerial photo of all the locks.

The Sabina gradually rose.

Here, the Sabina had risen fully to the level of Lake Superior–21 feet above Lake Huron.


The Sabina prepared to continue west.




I admire the architecture of this Soo Locks office building.


According to a display in the Soo Locks Visitor’s Center, the office building was completed in 1897. It appears, sadly, that the structure’s tower was modified in an unattractive fashion to accommodate technology. Do you see the difference?


You may visit the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) website to learn How Navigation Locks Operate and view an Animated Lock Demonstration.

By the way, visiting the Soo Locks is entirely FREE.  We highly recommend it.


2 thoughts on “Soo Locks

  1. Kristine says:

    Heather, looks like a super fun trip, especially for the kids (although I’d like it too!). Great pics too, very cool 🙂

  2. Cynthia says:

    Love the pictures of the locks. I’d love to take the boys to see this operation somewhere sometime.

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