Michigan Tech-Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
Because of its unique history of moving from a military outpost, to an overflow college for returning veterans, to an established branch of Michigan Tech, and finally to its present status as an independent four-year liberal arts college, Sault Tech has a large internet presence. A very good short history is by Tom Spicuzza. The 1963 and 1964 yearbooks (source of the seal, right) are available online. Newspaper coverage came from statewide Michigan newspapers such as the Lansing State Journal as well as U.P. newspapers such as the local Canadian Sault Daily Star.
The school commonly called Sault Tech was created at the end of World War II to accommodate hundreds of returning servicemen who had received the G.I. Bill. It opened as a branch of Michigan Tech, offering freshman year classes. Those classes began on October 28, 1946 for 260 students—all veterans.
The curriculum included chemical, civil, electrical. geological, mechanical and electrical engineering—in addition to physics, metal dressing, and mining. And while some students transferred to the Houghton campus to complete the engineering/mining course of studies, Sault Tech also began to serve as a two-year community college for the Sault Ste. Marie area, admitting its first female student in 1947.
The 1963 Obelisk shows that the curriculum now included divisions or departments of humanities, music, business administration, and physical education. Enrollment was around 525—including 57 females. Many Student organizations were discipline-based ones—especially those for engineering students. Religious/service organizations included Newman, Wesley, and Circle K. There was also a student council and the Obelisk staff. The music department sponsored a women’s chorus. The Winter Carnival, celebrated each year after New Year’s Day, was a long standing tradition.
In 1966 the school was renamed Lake Superior State College of Michigan Technological University. In 1970 it became an autonomous college, becoming Lake Superior State University in 1987.
Bricks and Mortar
The original Fort Brady was built in to protect American interests in Michigan against encroachment from the British in Canada. In 1893 the fort was moved away from the widened St. Mary’s River. New Fort Brady had 64 buildings on 73 acres. In 1944 the fort was decommissioned and in 1946 was given to the state for use as a college. Fourteen buildings are still in use as part of the L.S.S.U. campus. The buildings are red brick, and most are one- or two-story structures. Post Headquarters (1900), now called Brown Hall, houses the Education Department. The Infantry Barracks (1903), was originally two buildings with a connecting structure. One building burned in 1960, the other, called South Hall, houses the School of Business. The Post Office building (1920) was renovated in the 1940’s as the Administration Building. The Gymnasium (1930) became the gymnasium for Sault Tech and later L.S.S.C. Now called Fletcher Center, it houses Student Services and the Registrar. WAC’s Barracks (1938) is now called Brady Hall, a Men’s Dormitory.
New Fort Brady was placed on the National Register in 1972.
(Above)Library of Congress image of Fort Brady Infantry Barracks taken 1900-1910. (Below)The barracks today as South Hall of Lake Superior State University. Wikipedia image by Bobak Ha'Eri.
Team name: Hornets
School colors: In 1948 The Sebewaing Blade reported that the team had new gold and
The Star reported in November 21, 1946, less than a month after the school opened, that a basketball team had been organized to play an independent schedule against U.S. and Canadian teams. Basketball then became the signature sport of Sault Tech. In 1949 an Upper Peninsula College Conference was formed with Sault Tech joining Suomi College, Northland (WI) College, Gogebic Junior College, and Northern Michigan College of Education.
Sault Tech began football in the fall of 1948. By then a two-year school, it had a team composed mostly of freshmen. That team compiled wins over the Soo Rockets, Ferris Institute, Olivet College and the Central Michigan Freshmen. For the next two years the Hornets struggled in the U.P.C.C., with no conference wins, ending the 1950 season and football at Sault Tech by cancelling the last game against Northern Michigan.