GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — We’re taking you back in time with this vintage “On The Michigan Road” report about efforts to protect a former St. Ignace mainstay.

The SS Chief Wawatam was a coal-fired rail ferry that operated between ports in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City for decades until it was decommissioned in the 1980s.

In this May 1987 report, Dick Evans examines the effort to restore the ferry.

=== Watch the May 1987 report above. ===

Ultimately the push to protect the Wawatam failed. The ferry was eventually turned into a barge and then scrapped completely.

Between 1971 and 1991, Evans filed his popular “On The Michigan Road” reports from all over the state. They featured everything from county fairs to people with offbeat hobbies and collections to some of Michigan’s most iconic locations. He died in October 1991 at the age of 66 after more than 40 years in broadcasting.

You can find more throwback reports in the “On The Michigan Road” section on