SS Badger: the last of Lake Michigan’s car ferries

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The ferry had to address environmental challenges over its coal ash discharge, and just last year, had to overcome its Manitowoc dock being heavily damaged by a storm less than a month before the ship’s first scheduled spring arrival. It remains an icon on our coastline, and an astonishing sight to visitors.

It’s remarkable in a number of ways. The Badger is a registered historical site in two states, is a National Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its propulsion system was designated a mechanical engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Its large deck space allows it to not only ferry passengers and cars, but also tractor trailers and large commercial loads including wind turbine components. And it officially serves as US 10, connecting the highway between Michigan and Wisconsin.