Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Poe Lock turns 50

Sault Ste Marie Conventions and Visitor Bureau
Philip R. Clarke in the Poe Lock

Today (June 26th) visitors in the Soo are celebrating the Poe Locks birthday. Officials said the lock is turning 50 years old this year.


The Poe Lock was originally built in 1896. But the one visitors see today was built in 1969. Officials said the lock was built larger and deeper to start moving modern freighters through the Great Lakes.


Currently, the Poe Lock sees almost all of the ships that pass through the Soo. Officials said the lock was rebuilt to be larger and deeper to move modern freighters through the Great Lakes.


Sault Ste Marie Conventions and Visitor Bureau Information Specialist, Nick Nolan, said 89% of all boats that pass through the Soo travel through using the Poe Lock. 


“On a local level as well as a national level it (the Poe Lock) is pretty vital. It is a driving force for the U.S. Corps of Engineers here. It is where they put most of their time and effort because it is the only lock here that is capable of carrying freighters that are over 730 foot.”


Nolan said almost all of the iron ore used in America has passed through the Poe Lock


He said he is happy to see the Poe last this long and hopes they will be able to start celebrating a new lock. 


Currently, the Soo Locks are working to build a new lock as large as the Poe. 


Nolan said he “would like to have a 100th birthday for the Poe Lock and a 50th birthday for the new one coming in here.” He said he hopes he will be around in 50 years to celebrate the locks 100th birthday.