In 1844 Chester Mattson was granted a charter to build a state road connecting Madison and Baraboo. To cross the Wisconsin River he built a ferry at Merrimac. The road became known as "Matts Ferry Road". The ferry was not free then, but charged five cents for each passenger, 25 cents for each horse and 40 cents for a team of oxen. In 1877 W. P. Flanders purchased the ferry business for $700. In 1872 the railroad came to town and nearly ruined the ferry business. In 1877 it was abandoned. The ferry landing site was near the present day Merrimac Village Park. In 1883 John Brownrigg operated a ferry near the present site. It was hand powered using pike poles. In 1912 Arthur Brownrigg took over the operation of the ferry from his father . He installed a hand operated windlass with an overhead cable to propell the ferry. In 1915 Timothy Wells bought the business and attached a gasoline engine and underwater cable to power the ferry. The ferry could carry two vehicles and a few passengers . It cost 35 cents to cross with a vehicle and five cents afoot. This ferry operated until the dam at Praire du Sac was built creating Lake Wisconsin. In 1924 Columbia and Sauk Counties took over operation of a ferry - the Colsac I. It was a small wooden catamaran that could carry eight cars. Fares were 5 cents for pedestrians, 35 cents for cars, 75 cents for trucks and one dollar for tractors. In 1933 the State of Wisconsin assumed responsibility for the operation of the ferry and it became toll free. It operated until 1963 when it was replaced by the current ferry. The Colsac II ferry was built by the Marinette Marine Company and reassembled at its present site in April of 1963. It is a 37 x 80 foot steel craft with a capacity for 12 vehicles. It links Columbia and Sauk counties via highway 113 - hence its name. It carries approximately 200,000 vehicles a year - over 5 million in its 32 year history. The ColSac II is on the National Register of Historic Places.