350 years of history

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Well before the state of Michigan was established, Sault Ste. Marie was home to various industries and was a known commercial hub for the region. With direct access to the St. Marys River and the Great Lakes, and many years later the formation of the Soo Locks, it has passed the test of time and has remained one of Michigan’s most important cities.

This year the city of Sault Ste. Marie reached a tremendous milestone. The beautiful Upper Peninsula town is the oldest in the state and 2018 marks the city’s 350th anniversary.

Since January, residents have been celebrating the town’s 350th birthday with special events. Locals and tourists alike have been able to witness yet another seasonal opening of the Soo Locks, along with numerous parades, events and other family festivities honoring the anniversary.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a number of festivities at the 350th Festival as we came together to honor this momentous occasion.

The 350th festival featured fantastic food, games, educational activities for children and teens, military appreciation, cultural festivities, parades and countless other family events. Several events and games featured a great deal of historical information about the area. It was quite refreshing to see both kids and young adults have such a strong interest in their city’s formation and the numerous historical events that have occurred over the last 350 years.

One of the most interesting events for me was the revelation of a time capsule from 1968. The time capsule was recently discovered on the current Lake Superior State University Campus and the contents were laid out on display at the opening ceremony of the festival.

It was quite interesting to get a chance to look into the past and see various items from 50 years ago and how things have changed. A new time capsule to be opened in 2068, when the Soo turns 400, will take its place. The new capsule will be kept in the city hall for safe keeping.

I was happy to see that the gloomy weather did not prevent folks from coming out and enjoying their community’s history. I look forward to continuing the celebration of Sault Ste. Marie’s contributions to our state’s fascinating history and look forward to any more anniversaries to come.

Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, represents the 37th state Senate District, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac counties.