WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of the Interior announced on Thursday, February 18th the designation of the SS Badger (Car Ferry) as a National Historic Landmark.
The SS Badger is the last remaining example of the Great Lakes rail/car ferry design that influenced the design of such ferries around the world and is the last Great Lakes car ferry to remain in operation. The first open-water crossing on which railcars were carried onboard occurred on Lake Michigan. For nearly a century, railroad car ferries extended rail lines across three of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan. During that period the difficulty of arranging trackage rights on roads, the distance around the southern end of the lake, and congestion in the rail yards at Chicago all made the transport of railcars across the lake a more efficient and economical alternative.
The National Historic Landmarks program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials, private property owners, and other partners interested in nominating properties for National Historic Landmark designation. Completed nominations are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If selected, property ownership remains intact but each site receives a plaque and technical preservation assistance.
Additional information on the program can be found at nps.gov/nhl.