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Transportation & Infrastructure

Before bridges and tunnels, commuters took the Windsor-Detroit ferry

Image of the Britannia, c. 1915. A ferry on the Detroit River.
From the General Photo Collection, Archives of Michigan
An image from 1915 of the Britannia, one of the ferries that served the route between Detriot and Windsor.

With ground breaking this week on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, it seems like the perfect time to mark the 80th anniversary of the last passenger ferry to cross the Detroit River. 

Mickey Lyons, a Detroit historian and blogger, and Mark Harvey, state archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about the ferries that used to connect Michigan and Canada.

Listen above to hear how early ferry services were set up, how popular the ferries were in their "golden age," their importance during prohibition, and how another bridge played a part in the demise of the practice.

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