Once I figured out how to spell the name of this city I then became curious as to how it got its name. The oldest town in the state, Sault Ste. Marie, was established in 1668 by fathers Jacques Marquette and Claude Dablon in 1668. They named the town in honor of the Virgin Mary. The French word "sault" means rapids or waterfalls. The town lies along the St.Marys River whose rapids proved to be a natural barrier to vessel navigation. The river is the only water connection between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. It falls 21-feet from the level of Lake Superior to the level of the lower lakes. The early settlers soon found it a difficult process to portage around the falls. The first locks for the river, on the U.S. side of the river, were built in 1853. This became known as the St.Marys Falls Ship Canal, or the Soo. We were fortunate that on the day we were in Sault Ste.Marie the buildings and grounds of the locks were opened to the public, a day designated as "Engineer's Day". The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were available to answer any questions regarding the locks. We also were able to walk close to a couple of the locks, unfortunately no large ships were coming through at the time we were there. I will speak more regarding the ship canal in my next posting. We took a boat tour of the town's harbor in the afternoon.