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August 21

1955

Detroit's Mayor Cobo urged the city council to sell 184 used Detroit street cars to Mexico City for one million dollars.

Information taken from the Historical Society of Michigan. http://www.hsofmich.org/

1984

The Chief Wawatam sails for the last time.

Since she first sailed the Straits of Mackinac between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan in 1911, the Chief Wawatam carried thousands of passengers, automobiles, and railcars. The last coal-burning vessel on the Great Lakes, the Chief Wawatam made a name for herself for reliable, efficient service across the often-treacherous waters of the Straits. It was often the Chief who would deliver food and fuel to other Great Lakes vessels who became stuck in the thick winter ice.

After the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957, the crossing time was slashed from nearly an hour by ferry to a matter of minutes by car. While other ferries ceased running almost immediately, the Chief Wawatam stayed in service for another twenty-seven years before finally retiring. Four years later, the boat was sold to a Canadian firm that cut the 338-foot ferry down to a deck barge.

For more information about the Chief Wawatam, see Chief Wawatam: The Story of a Hand-Bomber by Francis D. Burgtorf.