Tower of History – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Tower of History

Watch the ships come in on Michigan's 210 ft. high observation deck in Sault Ste. Marie. 


The Tower of History is an unusual for northern Michigan simply by virtue of its size.

In a region where few buildings rise above two or three stories, the Tower of History soars over twenty stories above the surrounding city. The tower was originally built by the Catholic Church in 1968 as a bell-tower and shrine. In 1980, the church ceased funding to the tower and donated it to the Sault Historic Sites, which converted into a museum and viewing deck.

For contemporary visitors, there are really two components. The ground floor is primarily a museum and gift shop providing information about area history and culture from the pre-Columbian era to present day. While the information is interesting, the somewhat-dated exhibits (in particular a movie shown on a regular loop) are noteworthy as historical curiosities in and of themselves.

The second attraction is the observation deck, which affords a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside, including Canada to the north, the Upper Peninsula to the south, and the world-famous Soo Locks, where ships transit between Lake Huron and mighty Lake Superior, which is 21 feet higher. Time your visit right, and you can get a bird’s eye view of such goliath, 1000 foot lake freighters that occasionally pass through.

Know Before You Go

This place is impossible to miss! Head east on Portage Ave from Ashmun Street in the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie, and look for the brutalist structure that towers over St. Mary's Church (and every other building in town). If you hit Johnston Street, you've gone too far.

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