As the weather warms up, you may be looking forward to a day of swimming or walking the beach of Lake Michigan. Beyond its picture-perfect coastline, our nearest inland seas are filled with untold history and shipwrecks just waiting to be discovered.
On Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. Central Time, we will host Great Storms of the Great Lakes presented by Ric Mixter. In this program, Ric will bring to life stories from Great Lakes history in an interactive and informative online format. If you have a curiosity about shipwreck history and lake lore, you will love this program. Registration is free and you can reserve your seat online or call our 3rd Floor Information Desk at 630.685.4176.
In his career as a documentary filmmaker, wreck diver and author, Ric has interviewed the oldest survivors of some of the last large-scale shipwrecks and has appeared in over 30 PBS shows, written articles in several magazines, including Michigan History, logged 14 hours of podcast time and has garnered over 4 million views on his videos.
This upcoming presentation is particularly timely, as the winter ice on the Great Lakes has melted and the cool water temperatures have kept algae from clouding the water, leaving the ghostly outlines of wrecks visible from the air. In 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard documented these visible wrecks from the air, and visitors to the lakes may be able to see some of these wrecks with a drone or while kayaking over the site.
One of the best-known wrecks is the immortal SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a fierce storm on November 10, 1975. The story of this wreck has lingered in our collective memory due largely in part to the namesake song written and performed by Gordon Lightfoot.
Funeral director and historian Caitlin Doughty filmed The Lake That Never Gives Up Her Dead—a great video about the Fitz—and interviewed her friend and ship crewmember relative Jon Huybrecht in January 2020. This video also includes a kayak session over a 1960s Lake Superior shipwreck.
Before attending our Great Storms of the Great Lakes, you may also want to check out Mysterious Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes from SideProjects on YouTube.
See you at the library!