Today in Michigan History

August 21, 1984

The Chief Wawatam sailed for the last time.

After years of transporting passengers, automobiles and railcars across the Straits of Mackinac, the Chief Wawatam ended service. Built for the Mackinac Transportation Company for service between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, the Chief Wawatam arrived at St. Ignace on October 18, 1911.

In 1988, the Chief Wawatam—the last coal-burning vessel on the Great Lakes—was sold to a Canadian firm that cut the 338-foot car ferry down to a deck barge.

Thank you Michigan History Magazine for this glimpse into our past.  See more at