National Park Service Press Release

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2016
Jeremy Barnum,, 202-208-6843

Interior Department Designates SS Badger as National Historic Landmark

WASHINGTON - The Department of the Interior today announced the designation of the SS Badger (Car Ferry) as a National Historic Landmark. The designation recognizes the Badger’s exceptional value and quality in illustrating an aspect of American transportation technology in the mid-twentieth century. 

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. 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 SS Badger is a unique example of American ingenuity in transportation that has been crucial to our country’s economic development over the last century,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial anniversary, we look forward to a second century of helping preserve the more than 2,500 historic places and objects like the Badger that bear the distinction of being National Historic Landmarks."

National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are historic resources that illustrate the heritage of the United States. NHLs come in many forms: historic buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts. Each NHL represents an outstanding aspect of American history and culture.

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 

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