Welcome to the Historic Water Street Homes and the Kemp Industrial Museum





An Irish-born British fur trader, John Johnston and his Chippewa wife, O-Zhaw-Guscoday-

Way-Qua (also known as Susan or Neengay) settled in the Sault on this site in fall 1792. He set

up his fur trade operation on this location along the St. Marys River. Johnston was well-known

for his hospitality to the many visitors passing through and visiting the Sault during his lifetime.

The portion of their home that remains was built in 1823 as an addition to the original log home.

Built of cedar logs, both buildings were built in the French tradition of “piece on piece.”

During your visit to the Johnston House, you will learn about the fur trade, French log building

construction, information about the Johnston family and aspects of early life in the Sault.




The Henry Rowe Schoolcraft House was built in 1827 as the home of Mr. Schoolcraft and his wife,

Jane, the daughter of John Johnston. The west dependency also served as the Indian Agency

headquarters. In 1822 Henry Rowe Schoolcraft became the first Indian Agent appointed to the

Sault. Obed Wait, the architect, built the house in the Federal Style. The Schoolcraft family lived in

the house until 1833 when the Indian Agency office was moved to Mackinac Island.

Other notable figures who lived in the house were Charles T. Harvey, who was responsible for the

building of the State Locks in 1855 and later Peter Barbeau a prominent businessman who started

out in the fur trade



The Baraga House was built for Bishop Frederic Baraga in 1864, as an addition to the front of an

older home. The original building had been owned by Pierre Tardiff, who listed himself as a

voyageur in the 1850 Census. Tardiff donated his house to the diocese. The house soon became

known as Baraga’s “Palace.”

Bishop Baraga was consecrated Bishop of the new diocese that included Sault Ste. Marie as its

seat in 1853. Bishop Baraga is best known for his missionary work amongst the many Native

American people and early settlers, located in the Upper Peninsula and Ontario, Canada.

Baraga later moved the seat of the diocese to Marquette in 1866. After his departure the building

was used as a school and convent until 1884 when it was moved to make way for a new parochial

school. From 1884 to 1898 it was used primarily as a convent




The Kemp Coal Dock Office building was built in 1904 by Sault businessman George Kemp.

He operated both a thriving shipping company on the St. Marys River and a successful coal

business. George Kemp owned all of the waterfront property between the Edison power house and

the Coast Guard station. In 1917 Kemp turned his coal business over to his sons and the building

became the office for Kemp Brothers Coal Company, which operated in the Sault until 1959.

In 1960 the property was given to the City of Sault Ste. Marie and developed for a variety of

tourist-related businesses.

In 2007 the Coal Company office building was opened as the Kemp Industrial Museum, to tell

the story of the many industries that were attracted to the Sault area in the 1900s. Drawn by the

natural resources of the region, and access to transportation and energy, the Union Carbide,

Northwestern Leather Company, Soo Woolen Mill and Cadillac-Soo Lumber Company became

the major employers of the Sault. As local natural resources became scarce and the business

economy changed, these businesses began to close. By the early 1960’s, all of the businesses

had shut down greatly effecting the economy of the Sault. It is these industries that are remembered

in the Kemp Industrial Museum.


Rates & Schedule

The Historic Water Street Homes and Kemp Industrial Museum are operated through a cooperative effort between the Chippewa County Historical Society, Sault Historic Sites, and the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.


Open Seven Days a Week

12 Noon – 5 p.m.

From Engineer’s Day (last Friday in June) until Labor Day


2019 Rates

Admission:   $3 per Adult, $2 per Child (5 Years & Under Free),

$8 per Family

Combination Tickets – Multi-Site Savings

Museum Ship Valley Camp, Tower of History,

River of History Museum & Historic Homes

(Available from Engineers Day – Labor Day Weekend only.)


All rates subject to change without notice

Water Street Brochure

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft House
Bishop Frederic Baraga House
Kemp Coal Dock Office Building
Joh Johnston House