Tunnels aren't something that immediately comes to mind when you think of Michigan travel. Boring through the earth and coming out the other side of a mountain seems more like a southern thing but, it turns out that Michigan's longest tunnel is also the 1st to cross international borders.

Related: America's Oldest, Still-Operating Train Station is in Jackson, Michigan

If you're thinking to yourself, "That's obvious, it's the Detroit Windsor Tunnel", cue the buzzer, you're wrong.

Michigan's Longest Tunnel and World's 1st International Tunnel Border Crossing


Kind of like pork, this is the other tunnel that goes from Detroit to Windsor. You've more than likely never gone through it unless you were on a train.

Shipping items across the Detroit River to Canada made the city of Detroit a boom town in the late 1800s and early 1900s. More and more goods were making their way back and forth, which created a need for a faster mode of transportation than ferrying the cargo on a boat back and forth.

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In 1906, the Detroit River Tunnel Company began construction of what would become the first immersed tube system for transport traffic. Large sections of the tunnel were made on land, floated over a pre-dug drench on the river bottom, and sunken into place.

Divers would be deployed to attach the sections together and to fix any leaks that may have sprung up during transport. All in all 8.5 million dollars was invested in the project that spans 1.6 miles.

Related: Inside the Michigan Central Railroad Shops: Jackson, Michigan

The Michigan Central Railroad Tunnel entrance sits at Rosa Park's Blvd, south of Vermont and Porter Streets. When it was first opened in 1910, it was considered an engineering marvel.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad now owns and operates the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel and it is still used for shipping today despite the construction of the Detroit-Winsor Tunnel, Ambassador Bridge, and international highway systems.

Making of the Michigan Central Railroad Tunnel Detroit, 1906-1920

Between 1906 and 1910, thousands of Michiganders went to work creating a faster, more affordable way to ship goods across the Detroit River to the City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Using preconstructed sections of tunnel, floating them onto the river above a trench on the bottom of the river. Here are some photos of the construction courtesy of the Detroit Public Library's Burton Historical Collection.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow