Archive Dive: How one crossed the canal before the Aerial Bridge

Once the Duluth Ship Canal was cut in 1871, the lower half of Minnesota Point became an island—and for those living below the canal crossing  into the rest of Duluth was no easy task. The only bridge was a rickety wood-and-wire temporary bridge that stood from the end of the season’s navigation until Lake Superior opened up again in spring. While the canal was open, people and goods were transferred across by ferry boat, both rowboats and later steamers. Learn all about the ferry boats of the early Duluth Ship Canal here.

A rowboat ferry crosses the canal in the 1880s. [image: UMD Martin Library]