Belle Isle Ferry Dock, 1910

THE WAY IT WAS


Published:

1910

 

 

Years ago, while the Ste. Claire and Columbia carried passengers to Bob-lo, and the Tashmoo transported others to Tashmoo Park on Harsens Island, an additional group of steamers plied the Detroit River to spirit away pleasure-seekers to Belle Isle. Boarding at docks either at Woodward (pictured) or Third, Detroiters longing to get away from it all embarked on the Sappho, the Garland, and other boats destined for Detroit’s island park, where they might picnic, swim, play baseball, ride a canoe, or just enjoy the cool river breezes. Certainly, the island could be reached via car or bus across the Belle Isle (now MacArthur) Bridge, but what could be more leisurely or romantic than a ferry excursion? In their 1957 book Made in Detroit, Norman Beasley and George W. Stark described the singular allure of the steamers, which began service when Belle Isle opened in 1882: “All day long until late at night, the Belle Isle ferries traveled up and down the river. … The fare was ten cents, and if the passenger so chose he could ride all day long for his original dime. … In the dusk of evening, the ride back to the city was exhilarating. The lights in the scattered high towers gave dimensions to Detroit; the growing skyline gave a sense of growing importance.” The price was raised by a nickel in 1951, but the steamers wouldn’t last much longer. In 1957, the last two ferries, the Mascot and the Belle Isle, made their final voyages.


If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

Better Made Snack Foods, 1971

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Tracy Utech

With over 20 years of experience, Utech and her team have championed funds that have seen benefit outside of Wayne State’s campus.

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Karen Smithbauer

A career as a preschool teacher and battle with breast cancer, ground Smithbauer's philanthropic efforts

An Hour with ... Faith Duede

Founder, Rocky Horror Preservation Society
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  5. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  6. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  7. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  8. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  9. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...
  10. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission