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boblo island

a still from a stop animated film about Sarah Elizabeth Ray
A still from "Sarah Elizabeth Ray: The Rosa Parks of SS Columbia," a video by Aaron Schillinger, with animation by Bec Sloane.

For many Michiganders, summer used to mean a stop at Boblo Island. Trips to the amusement park island on the Canadian side of the Detroit River ended in the early 1990s, but folks still talk about carefree days on Boblo, or riding one of the two ferries that took you to the island: the Columbia and the Ste. Clair. Those boats are the subject of a documentary underway, Boblo Boats: A Tale of Two Sisters. Within that documentary is the story of Sarah Elizabeth Ray, a woman hailed as “Detroit’s other Rosa Parks” for her experience on the Boblo Boats. 

Boblo boat the SS Ste. Claire
flickr user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

For 81 years, the majestic steamers the SS Columbia and the SS Ste. Claire took generations of Michiganders up and down the Detroit River to Boblo Island.

The hour-long river cruise to the amusement park was pure magic.