Nicolet passed through the Straits in 1634 seeking a route to the Orient. Soon it became a crossroads where Indian, missionary, trapper and soldier met. From the 1600's through the War of 1812 first Frenchman and Englishman, then Briton and American fought to control this strategic waterway. In 1679 the Griffin was the first sailing vessel to ply these waters. The railroad reached the Straits in 1882. Until the Mackinac Bridge was opened in 1957, ferries linked the north and south.