front cover of Deckhand
Life on Freighters of the Great Lakes
Nelson "Mickey" Haydamacker with Alan D. Millar
University of Michigan Press, 2009

Long before popular television shows such as Dirty Jobs and The Deadliest Catch, everyday men and women---the unsung heroes of the job world---toiled in important but mostly anonymous jobs. One of those jobs was deckhand on the ore boats.

With numerous photographs and engaging stories, Deckhand offers an insider's view of both the mundane and the intriguing duties performed by deckhands on these gritty cargo vessels. Boisterous port saloons, monster ice jams, near drownings, and the daily drudgery of soogeying---cleaning dirt and grime off the ships---are just a few of the experiences Mickey Haydamacker had as a young deckhand working on freighters of the Great Lakes in the early 1960s. Haydamacker sailed five Interlake Steamship Company boats, from the modern Elton Hoyt 2nd to the ancient coal-powered Colonel James Pickands with its backbreaking tarp-covered hatches.

Deckhand will appeal to shipping buffs and to anyone interested in Great Lakes shipping and maritime history as it chronicles the adventures of living on the lakes from the seldom-seen view of a deckhand.

Mickey Haydamacker spent his youth as a deckhand sailing on the freighters of the Great Lakes. During the 1962 and '63 seasons Nelson sailed five different Interlake Steamship Company ore boats. He later went on to become an arson expert with the Michigan State Police, retiring with the rank of Detective Sergeant.

Alan D. Millar, to whom Haydamacker related his tale of deckhanding, spent his career as a gift store owner and often wrote copy for local newspaper, TV, and radio.


front cover of The Echoes of L'Arbre Croche
The Echoes of L'Arbre Croche
Donald A. Johnston
University of Michigan Press, 2009

The year is 1915, and Benjamin Corvet, founder of the ship-owning firm Corvet, Sherrill and Spearman, suddenly disappears, sparking events and questions that baffle even those who are close to him.

Constance Sherrill, an attractive, sheltered young woman, feels strangely responsible for what may have happened to him---her father's best friend and coworker. Alan Conrad arrives in Chicago searching for his identity and an unknown benefactor and is swept into a maelstrom of mystery and intrigue that tests his intelligence and athleticism to the fullest. Henry Spearman, the firm's junior partner, is the most eligible bachelor along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive as a result of his catapult from ships' ranks to successful owner.

When a ship sinks off the coast of Beaver Island in Michigan, the intertwining lives of these characters unlock the mystery of the disappearance of another ship twenty years earlier, in a riveting whodunit set on the stormy waters of the Great Lakes.

Donald A. Johnston was born and raised in Detroit, served in World War II as a U.S. Navy Reserve officer, and was decorated for service in the Philippines and in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His career includes forty years in the insurance business. An ardent sailing enthusiast, he has cruised the Great Lakes extensively and has sailed winners in class boats and in offshore competition.

Jacket photograph © Yuriz /


front cover of Evolution of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
Evolution of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
Lee Botts
Michigan State University Press, 2005

Water quality concerns are not new to the Great Lakes. They emerged early in the 20th century, in 1909, and matured in 1972 and 1978. They remain a prominent part of today’s conflicted politics and advancing industrial growth. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, became a model to the world for environmental management across an international boundary. Evolution of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement recounts this historic binational relationship, an agreement intended to protect the fragile Great Lakes.
     One strength of the agreement is its flexibility, which includes a requirement for periodic review that allows modification as problems are solved, conditions change, or scientific research reveals new problems. The first progress was made in the 1970s in the area of eutrophication, the process by which lakes gradually age, which normally takes thousands of years to progress, but is accelerated by modern water pollution. The binational agreement led to the successful lowering of phosphorus levels that saved Lake Erie and prevented accelerated eutrophication in the rest of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Another major success at the time was the identification and lowering of the levels of toxic contaminants that cause major threats to human and wildlife health, from accumulating PCBs and other persistent organic pollutants


front cover of Fishing the Great Lakes
Fishing the Great Lakes
An Environmental History, 1783–1933
Margaret Beattie Bogue
University of Wisconsin Press, 2000

    Fishing the Great Lakes is a sweeping history of the destruction of the once-abundant fisheries of the great "inland seas" that lie between the United States and Canada. Though lake trout, whitefish, freshwater herring, and sturgeon were still teeming as late as 1850, Margaret Bogue documents here how overfishing, pollution, political squabbling, poor public policies, and commercial exploitation combined to damage the fish populations even before the voracious sea lamprey invaded the lakes and decimated the lake trout population in the 1940s.
    From the earliest records of fishing by native peoples, through the era of European exploration and settlement, to the growth and collapse of the commercial fishing industry, Fishing the Great Lakes traces the changing relationships between the fish resources and the people of the Great Lakes region. Bogue focuses in particular on the period from 1783, when Great Britain and the United States first politically severed the geographic unity of the Great Lakes, through 1933, when the commercial fishing industry had passed from its heyday in the late nineteenth century into very serious decline. She shows how fishermen, entrepreneurial fish dealers, the monopolistic A. Booth and Company (which distributed and marketed much of the Great Lakes catch), and policy makers at all levels of government played their parts in the debacle. So, too, did underfunded scientists and early conservationists unable to spark the interest of an indifferent public. Concern with the quality of lake habitat and the abundance of fish increasingly took a backseat to the interests of agriculture, lumbering, mining, commerce, manufacturing, and urban development in the Great Lakes region. Offering more than a regional history, Bogue also places the problems of Great Lakes fishing in the context of past and current worldwide fishery concerns.


front cover of Five Bay Landscapes
Five Bay Landscapes
Curious Explorations of the Great Lakes Basin
Karen Lutsky and Sean Burkholder
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022

Threatened by issues of environmental health, climate change, population growth, and industrial demands, the coastal zone of the Great Lakes reflects an increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the people of the basin and the resources that support them. Perhaps no place is the physical manifestation of this struggle more evident than in the basin’s shallow bays. While many regional and local responses to these issues focus on methods of control, Five Bay Landscapes argues that responses should begin with critical, experiential, and pluralistic understandings of place. Through a series of five narratives, each located on a bay within the Great Lakes, the authors share their practice of curious site explorations. These explorations, both written and visual, consider the nuances and systems of these shorelines along with the lessons these findings might offer for future design and planning interventions. Using the Great Lakes as a context, Five Bay Landscapes illuminates a dynamic and robust landscape system and establishes a series of methods for understanding, analyzing, and intervening within the changing landscape.


front cover of Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes
Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes
A History of Passenger Steamships on the Inland Seas
Joel Stone
University of Michigan Press, 2015
Through much of the nineteenth century, steam-powered ships provided one of the most reliable and comfortable transportation options in the United States, becoming a critical partner in railroad expansion and the heart of a thriving recreation industry. The aesthetic, structural, and commercial peak of the steamboat era occurred on the Great Lakes, where palatial ships created memories and livelihoods for millions while carrying passengers between the region’s major industrial ports of Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Toronto. By the mid-twentieth century, the industry was in steep decline, and today North America’s rich and entertaining steamboat heritage has been largely forgotten. In Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes, Joel Stone revisits this important era of maritime history, packed with elegance and adventure, politics and wealth, triumph and tragedy. This story of Great Lakes travelers and the beautiful floating palaces they engendered will engage historians and history buffs alike, as well as genealogists, regionalists, and researchers.

front cover of Great Lakes Champions
Great Lakes Champions
Grassroots Efforts to Clean Up Polluted Watersheds
John H. Hartig
Michigan State University Press, 2022
The Great Lakes—containing one-fifth of the standing freshwater on earth, covering some 94,250 square miles with a combined 10,210 miles of shoreline—have suffered greatly from human use and abuse since the advent of the commercial fur trade in the late 1600s. Logging destroys or degrades habitats, urbanization and industrialization pour human and industrial wastes into the water, fertilizers flowing off farm fields feed algae that suffocate other creatures, and ships bring in exotic species that decimate the lakes’  biodiversity. In 1985 when the International Joint Commission identified more than forty pollution hotspots around the lakes, few people had faith the Areas of Concern would be  cleaned up in their lifetime. Indeed, aquatic ecosystem restoration is extremely difficult: only nine of these hotspots have been removed from the infamous list. But progress is being made, and at the helm are local champions, people with a profound love of the region who lead by example and build broad, diverse coalitions in order to realize a common vision. The stories of fourteen of these champions are told here to inspire necessary action to care for the place they call home, so it may be a home to many living creatures for ages yet to come.

front cover of Great Lakes Chronicle
Great Lakes Chronicle
Essays on Coastal Wisconsin
Wisconsin Coastal Management
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018
Lakes Superior and Michigan have long played a vital role in shaping our state’s history, culture and economy. For forty years, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program has collaborated with governments and nonprofit organizations to preserve and protect this crucial resource, and, since 2002, has promoted public awareness of issues affecting the lakes in its annual Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle. Great Lakes Chronicle: Essays on Coastal Wisconsin brings together more than one hundred articles by coastal management practitioners, providing a broad perspective on issues affecting Wisconsin’s Great Lakes shorelines, and advocating for the wise and balanced use of our coastal environment for the benefit of people now and in the future.

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Great Lakes Fisheries Policy and Management
A Binational Perspective
William W. Taylor
Michigan State University Press, 2012

To maintain thriving, sustainable fisheries in the Laurentian Great Lakes, an understanding of the numerous and complex ecological, societal, economic, management, and policy issues surrounding them is critical. This incisive study provides a collaborative, interjurisdictional, and multi-use perspective that is shaped by the United states and Canada together as part of their shared governance of these waters. This book offers an informed look at the Great Lakes fisheries and their ecosystems, as the contributors examine both the threats they have faced and the valuable opportunities they provide for basin citizens and industries. Divided into four sections—the Great Lakes region, Great Lakes Fisheries, Fisheries case studies, and outlook for the Future—this is a valuable and up-to-date tool for students, researchers, policymakers, and managers alike.


front cover of Great Lakes Sea Lamprey
Great Lakes Sea Lamprey
The 70 Year War on a Biological Invader
Cory Brant
University of Michigan Press, 2019
The stuff of nightmares in both their looks and the wounds inflicted on their victims, sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are perhaps the deadliest invasive species to ever enter the Great Lakes. At the invasion’s apex in the mid-20th century, harvests of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), the lampreys’ preferred host fish in the Great Lakes, plummeted from peak annual catches of 15 million pounds to just a few hundred thousand pounds per year—a drop of 98% in only a few decades.

Threatening the complete collapse of the fishery, the sea lamprey invasion triggered an environmental awakening in the region and prompted an international treaty that secured unprecedented cooperation across political boundaries to protect the Great Lakes. Fueled by a pioneering scientific spirit, the war on Great Lakes sea lampreys led to discoveries that are the backbone of the program that eventually brought the creature under control and still protects the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world to this day.

Great Lakes Sea Lamprey draws on extensive interviews with individuals who experienced the invasion firsthand as well as a trove of unexplored archival materials to tell the incredible story of sea lamprey in the Great Lakes—what started the invasion, how it was halted, and what this history can teach us about the response to biological invaders in the present and future. Richly illustrated with color and black & white photographs, the book will interest readers concerned with the health of the Great Lakes, the history of the conservation movement, and the ongoing threat of invasive species.

front cover of The Great Lakes Water Wars
The Great Lakes Water Wars
Peter Annin
Island Press, 2018
The Great Lakes are the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world and America’s greatest freshwater resource. For over a century they have been the target of controversial diversion schemes designed to sell, send, or ship water to thirsty communities, sometimes far from the source. In part to protect the Great Lakes from overzealous entrepreneurship, the Great Lakes Compact was signed in 2008. Although the Compact fulfills that promise and ensures that Great Lakes water stays within the Basin, some would say it has only shifted the controversy closer to home. Now water diversion controversies of a different kind are some of the most fought-over environmental issues in the region. Will the water wars ever be settled?

Journalist Peter Annin delves deeply into the fraught history of water use in the Great Lakes region and recaps the story of the Chicago River diversion, which reversed the flow of the river, fundamentally transforming the Great Lakes ecosystem. A century later it remains “the poster child of bad behavior in the Great Lakes.” Today, with growing communities and a warming climate, tensions over water use are high, and controversies on the perimeter of the Great Lakes Basin are on the rise. In this new and expanded edition of The Great Lakes Water Wars, Annin shares the stories of New Berlin and Waukesha, two Wisconsin communities straddling the Basin boundary whose recent legal battles have tested the legislative strength of the newly signed Compact. Annin devotes a new chapter to the volatile issue of the invasive Asian carp—a voracious species that reproduces at a disturbing rate—which is transforming the ecology of the river as it makes its way through the Chicago River diversion and ever closer to Lake Michigan.

With three new chapters and significant revisions to existing chapters that bring the story up-to-date over the past decade, this is the definitive behind-the-scenes account of the people and stories behind hard-fought battles to protect this precious resource that makes the region so special for the millions who call it home.

front cover of The Great Lakes Water Wars
The Great Lakes Water Wars
Peter Annin
Island Press, 2009
The Great Lakes are the largest collection of fresh surface water on earth, and more than 40 million Americans and Canadians live in their basin. Will we divert water from the Great Lakes, causing them to end up like Central Asia's Aral Sea, which has lost 90 percent of its surface area and 75 percent of its volume since 1960? Or will we come to see that unregulated water withdrawals are ultimately catastrophic?
Peter Annin writes a fast-paced account of the people and stories behind these upcoming battles. Destined to be the definitive story for the general public as well as policymakers, The Great Lakes Water Wars is a balanced, comprehensive look behind the scenes at the conflicts and compromises that are the past-and future-of this unique resource.

front cover of Great Ships on the Great Lakes
Great Ships on the Great Lakes
A Maritime History
Bobbie Malone
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2013

In this highly accessible history of ships and shipping on the Great Lakes, upper elementary readers are taken on a rip-roaring journey through the waterways of the upper Midwest.

Great Ships on the Great Lakes explores the history of the region’s rivers, lakes, and inland seas—and the people and ships who navigated them. Read along as the first peoples paddle tributaries in birch bark canoes. Follow as European voyageurs pilot rivers and lakes to get beaver pelts back to the eastern market. Watch as settlers build towns and eventually cities on the shores of the Great Lakes. Listen to the stories of sailors, lighthouse keepers, and shipping agents whose livelihoods depended on the dangerous waters of Lake Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Give an ear to their stories of unexpected tragedy and miraculous rescue, and heed their tales of risk and reward on the low seas.

Great Ships also tells the story of sea battles and gunships, of the first vessels to travel beyond the Niagara, and of the treacherous storms and cold weather that caused thousands of ships to sink in the Great Lakes. Watch as underwater archaeologists solve the mysteries of Great Lakes shipwrecks today. And learn how the shift from sail to steam forever changed the history of shipping, as schooners made way for steamships and bulk freighters, and sailing became a recreation, not a hazardous way of life.

Designed for the upper elementary classroom with emphasis on Michigan and Wisconsin, Great Ships on the Great Lakes includes a timeline of events, on-page vocabulary, and a list of resources and places to visit. Over 20 maps highlight the region’s maritime history. The accompanying Teacher’s Guide includes 18 classroom activities, arranged by chapter, including lessons on exploring shipwrecks and learning how glaciers moved across the landscape.


front cover of The Heart of the Lakes
The Heart of the Lakes
Freshwater in the Past, Present and Future of Southeast Michigan
Dave Dempsey
Michigan State University Press, 2019
The water corridor that defines southeast Michigan sits at the heart of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, the Great Lakes. Over forty-three trillion gallons of water a year flow through the Detroit River, providing a natural conduit for everything from fish migration to the movement of cargo-bearing one thousand–foot freighters, and a defining sense of place.  But in both government policies and individual practices, the freshwater at the heart of the lakes was long neglected and sometimes abused. Today southeast Michigan enjoys an opportunity to learn from that history and put freshwater at the center of a prosperous and sustainable future. Joining this journey downriver in place and time, from Port Huron to Monroe, from the 1600s to the present, provides insight and hope for the region’s water-based renaissance.

front cover of A History of the Chicago Portage
A History of the Chicago Portage
The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America
Benjamin Sells
Northwestern University Press, 2021
Seven muddy miles transformed a region and a nation

This fascinating account explores the significance of the Chicago Portage, one of the most important—and neglected—sites in early US history. A seven-mile-long strip of marsh connecting the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers, the portage was inhabited by the earliest indigenous people in the Midwest and served as a major trade route for Native American tribes. A link between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Chicago Portage was a geopolitically significant resource that the French, British, and US governments jockeyed to control. Later, it became a template for some of the most significant waterways created in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The portage gave Chicago its name and spurred the city’s success—and is the reason why the metropolis is located in Illinois, not Wisconsin.
A History of the Chicago Portage: The Crossroads That Made Chicago and Helped Make America is the definitive story of a national landmark.

front cover of Mastering the Inland Seas
Mastering the Inland Seas
How Lighthouses, Navigational Aids, and Harbors Transformed the Great Lakes and America
Theodore J. Karamanski
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Theodore J. Karamanski's sweeping maritime history demonstrates the far-ranging impact that the tools and infrastructure developed for navigating the Great Lakes had on the national economies, politics, and environment of continental North America. Synthesizing popular as well as original historical scholarship, Karamanski weaves a colorful narrative illustrating how disparate private and government interests transformed these vast and dangerous waters into the largest inland water transportation system in the world.
Karamanski explores both the navigational and sailing tools of First Nations peoples and the dismissive and foolhardy attitude of early European maritime sailors. He investigates the role played by commercial boats in the Underground Railroad, as well as how the federal development of crucial navigational resources exacerbated sectionalism in the antebellum United States. Ultimately Mastering the Inland Sea shows the undeniable environmental impact of technologies used by the modern commercial maritime industry. This expansive story illuminates the symbiotic relationship between infrastructure investment in the region's interconnected waterways and North America's lasting economic and political development.

front cover of On the Brink
On the Brink
The Great Lakes in the 21st Century
Dave Dempsey
Michigan State University Press, 2004

As one of the world’s great natural treasures, the Great Lakes have also served in recent decades as an early warning system for many emerging environmental problems. In the early twenty-first century, as the Lakes face unprecedented challenges, we need to revisit both the wonder of the Lakes and the perils plaguing them, and to take action to protect this majestic ecosystem. 
     Dave Dempsey weaves the natural character and phenomena of the Great Lakes and stories of the schemes, calamities, and unusual human residents of the Basin with the history of their environmental exploitation and recovery. Contrasting the incomparable beauty and complexity of the Lakes, and the poetry, folklore, and citizen action they have inspired, with the disasters that short-sighted human folly has inflicted on the ecosystem, Dempsey makes this history both engaging and relevant to today’s debates and decisions.
     Underlying the neglectful treatment of the Lakes are two irreconcilable and faulty human assumptions: that the Lakes are a system so big that human beings cannot do great harm to it, and that the Lakes are a resource that can be bent to the will of humankind. Dempsey finds evidence that, despite great changes in the laws governing the Lakes and public attitudes toward them in the last fifty years, government policy and institutions are still dominated by these dangerous attitudes.
     A central theme of On the Brink is that citizens, who have displayed an increasing sense of commitment to the Lakes and a growing sense of place, must challenge their leaders to reform Great Lakes institutions. While everything from large-scale water exports to global climate change looms in the future of the Lakes, single-purpose solutions do not suffice—no more than a Band- aid would on a gaping wound. Dempsey shows that it is necessary to create a governing system that reflects the realities of life “on the ground” in communities and that taps into the passion and determination of citizens to protect these treasures.


front cover of Pandora's Locks
Pandora's Locks
The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
Jeff Alexander
Michigan State University Press, 2009

The St. Lawrence Seaway was considered one of the world's greatest engineering achievements when it opened in 1959. The $1 billion project-a series of locks, canals, and dams that tamed the ferocious St. Lawrence River-opened the Great Lakes to the global shipping industry.
     Linking ports on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario to shipping hubs on the world's seven seas increased global trade in the Great Lakes region. But it came at an extraordinarily high price. Foreign species that immigrated into the lakes in ocean freighters' ballast water tanks unleashed a biological shift that reconfigured the world's largest freshwater ecosystems.
     Pandora's Locks is the story of politicians and engineers who, driven by hubris and handicapped by ignorance, demanded that the Seaway be built at any cost. It is the tragic tale of government agencies that could have prevented ocean freighters from laying waste to the Great Lakes ecosystems, but failed to act until it was too late. Blending science with compelling personal accounts, this book is the first comprehensive account of how inviting transoceanic freighters into North America's freshwater seas transformed these wondrous lakes.


front cover of Sail, Steam, and Diesel
Sail, Steam, and Diesel
Moving Cargo on the Great Lakes
Eric Hirsimaki
Michigan State University Press, 2024
Water transportation has played a key role in the Great Lakes region’s settlement and economic growth, from providing entry into the new lake states to offering cheap transportation for the goods they produced. There are numerous tales surrounding the Great Lakes shipping trade, but few storytellers have addressed the factors that influenced the use, design, and evolution of the ships that sailed the inland seas. Sail, Steam, and Diesel: Moving Cargo on the Great Lakes provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of Great Lakes ships over the centuries, from small birch-bark canoes originally used in the region to the massive thousand-footers of today. The author also looks at the economics of vessel operation in the context of the expanding scope of the shipping industry, which was crucial in catapulting America into becoming an industrial juggernaut. The captains of industry and the sailors whose labor propelled the trade populate this account, which also offers solemn acknowledgment of the high cost paid in both lost ships and lives. Although they might not realize it, millions of Americans have owed their livelihoods to the Great Lakes boats, and this volume is an excellent way to recognize the importance of this regional industry.

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Sailing into History
Great Lakes Bulk Carriers of the Twentieth Century and the Crews Who Sailed Them
Frank Boles
Michigan State University Press, 2017
The Great Lakes create a vast transportation network that supports a massive shipping industry. In this volume, seamanship, cargo, competition, cooperation, technology, engineering, business, unions, government decisions, and international agreements all come together to create a story of unrivaled interest about the Great Lakes ships and the crews that sailed them in the twentieth century. This complex and multifaceted tale begins in iron and coal mines, with the movement of the raw ingredients of industrial America across docks into ever larger ships using increasingly complicated tools and technology. The shipping industry was an expensive challenge, as it required huge investments of capital, caused bitter labor disputes, and needed direct government intervention to literally remake the lakes to accommodate the ships. It also demanded one of the most integrated international systems of regulation and navigation in the world to sail a ship from Duluth to upstate New York. Sailing into History describes the fascinating history of a century of achievements and setbacks, unimagined change mixed with surprising stability.

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The Salvager
The Life of Captain Tom Reid on the Great Lakes
Mary Frances Doner
University of Minnesota Press, 2017

First published in 1958, The Salvager is both a narrative history of Great Lakes shipping disasters of 1880–1950 and the life story of Captain Thomas Reid, who operated one of the region’s largest salvaging companies during that era. 

The treacherous shoals, unpredictable storms, and sub-zero temperatures of the Great Lakes have always posed special hazards to mariners—particularly before the advent of modern navigational technologies—and offered ample opportunity for an enterprising sailor to build a salvage business up from nothing. Designing much of his equipment himself and honing a keen eye for the risks and rewards of various catastrophes, Captain Reid rose from humble beginnings and developed salvaging into a science. Using the actual records of the Reid Wrecking and Towing Company as well as Reid’s personal logs and letters, Mary Frances Doner deftly tells the stories not only of the maritime disasters and the wrecking adventures that followed, but also of those waiting back on shore for their loved ones to return.


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Ship Captain's Daughter
Growing Up on the Great Lakes
Ann Michler Lewis
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2015

Ann Lewis's childhood was marked by an unusual rhythm. Each year the thawing and freezing of the Great Lakes signaled the beginning and end of the shipping season, months of waiting that were punctuated by brief trips to various ports to meet her father, the captain.

With lively storytelling and vivid details, Lewis captures the unusual life of shipping families whose days and weeks revolved around the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. She paints an intriguing and affectionate portrait of her father, a talented pianist whose summer job aboard an ore freighter led him to a life on the water. Working his way up from deckhand to ship captain, Willis Michler became the master of thirteen ships over a span of twenty-eight years. From the age of twelve, Ann accompanied the captain to the ports of Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo, and Cleveland on the lower Great Lakes. She describes sailing through stormy weather and starry nights, visiting the engine room, dining at the captain's table, and wheeling the block-long ship with her father in the pilot house. Through her mother's stories and remarks, Lewis also reveals insights into the trials and rewards of being a ship captain's wife. The book is enhanced by the author's vintage snapshots, depicting this bygone lifestyle.


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Ships and Shipwrecks
Stories from the Great Lakes
Richard Gebhart
Michigan State University Press, 2022
From the day that French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle launched the Griffin in 1679 to the 1975 sinking of the celebrated Edmund Fitzgerald, thousands of commercial ships have sailed on the vast and perilous waters of the Great Lakes. In a harbinger of things to come, on the return leg of its first trip in late summer 1679, the Griffin disappeared and has never been seen again. In the centuries since then, the records show that an alarming number of shipwrecks have occurred on the Great Lakes. If vessels that wrecked but were later repaired and returned to service are included, the number certainly swells into the thousands. Most did not mysteriously vanish like the Griffin. Instead, they suffered the occupational hazards of every lake boat: collisions, groundings, strands, fires, boiler explosions, and capsizes. Many of these disasters took the lives of crews and passengers. The fearsome wrath of the storms that brew over the Great Lakes has challenged and defeated some of the staunchest vessels constructed in the shipyards of port cities along the U.S. and Canadian lakeshores. Here Richard Gebhart tells the tales of some of these ships and their captains and crews, from their launches to their sad demises—or sometimes, their celebrated retirements. This volume is a must-read for anyone intrigued by the maritime history of the Great Lakes.

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Something Spectacular
My Great Lakes Salmon Story
Howard A. Tanner
Michigan State University Press, 2018
As the new chief of the Michigan Department of Conservation’s Fish Division in 1964, Howard A. Tanner was challenged to “do something . . . spectacular.” He met that challenge by leading the successful introduction of coho salmon into the Michigan waters of the Great Lakes. This volume illustrates how Tanner was able to accomplish this feat: from a detailed account of his personal and professional background that provided a foundation for success; the historical and contemporary context in which the Fish Division undertook this bold step to reorient the state’s fishery from commercial to sport; the challenges, such as resistance from existing government institutions and finding funding, that he and his colleagues faced; the risks they took by introducing a nonnative species; the surprises they experienced in the first season’s catch; to, finally, the success they achieved in establishing a world-renowned, biologically and financially beneficial sport fishery in the Great Lakes. Tanner provides an engaging history of successfully introducing Pacific salmon into the lakes from the perspective of an ultimate insider.

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Stories from the Wreckage
A Great Lakes Maritime History Inspired by Shipwrecks
John Odin Jensen
Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2019
Every shipwreck has a story that extends far beyond its tragic end. The dramatic tales of disaster, heroism, and folly become even more compelling when viewed as junction points in history—connecting to stories about the frontier, the environment, immigration, politics, technology, and industry. In Stories from the Wreckage, John Odin Jensen examines a selection of Great Lakes shipwrecks of the wooden age for a deeper dive into this transformative chapter of maritime history. He mines the archeological evidence and historic record to show how their tragic ends fit in with the larger narrative of Midwestern history. Featuring the underwater photography of maritime archeologist Tamara Thomsen, this vibrant volume is a must-have for shipping enthusiasts as well as anyone interested in the power of water to shape history.

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Too Much Sea for Their Decks
Shipwrecks of Minnesota's North Shore and Isle Royale
Michael Schumacher
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

Shipwreck stories from along Minnesota’s north shore of Lake Superior and Isle Royale

Against the backdrop of the extraordinary history of Great Lakes shipping, Too Much Sea for Their Decks chronicles shipwrecked schooners, wooden freighters, early steel-hulled steamers, whalebacks, and bulk carriers—some well-known, some unknown or forgotten—all lost in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Included are compelling accounts of vessels destined for infamy, such as that of the Stranger, a slender wooden schooner swallowed by the lake in 1875, the sailors’ bodies never recovered nor the wreckage ever found; an account of the whaleback Wilson, rammed by a large commercial freighter in broad daylight and in calm seas, sinking before many on board could escape; and the mysterious loss of the Kamloops, a package freighter that went down in a storm and whose sailors were found on the Isle Royale the following spring, having escaped the wreck only to die of exposure on the island. Then there is the ill-fated Steinbrenner, plagued by bad luck from the time of her construction, when she was nearly destroyed by fire, to her eventual (and tragic) sinking in 1953. These tales and more represent loss of life and property—and are haunting stories of brave and heroic crews.

Arranged chronologically and presented in three sections covering Minnesota's North Shore, Isle Royale, and the three biggest storms in Minnesota’s Great Lakes history (the 1905 Mataafa storm, the 1913 hurricane on the lakes, and the 1940 Armistice Day storm), each shipwreck documented within these pages provides a piece to the history of shipping on Lake Superior.


front cover of Tragedy and Triumph on the Great Lakes
Tragedy and Triumph on the Great Lakes
Richard Gebhart
Michigan State University Press, 2024
Richard Gebhart traces little-known voyages of Great Lakes ships that sailed the Atlantic beginning in the 1850s. They bore cargoes to and from the lakes and as far as Constantinople. Gebhart recovers the voices of long-ago ship captains, along with their cargo manifests and itineraries. Drawing on deep research in old newspapers and maritime archives, he traces the construction of new ships and shipyards, and the comings and goings and travails of the lakes’ workhorses. Included is a mournful visit to a boneyard where many ships’ lives ended. Among many other lost tales, Gebhart brings to light the rise of oil tankers, marking the great twentieth-century energy transition in shipping. A must-read for Great Lakes shipping fans.

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Wilderness, Water, and Rust
A Journey toward Great Lakes Resilience
Jane Elder
Michigan State University Press, 2024
Wilderness, Water, and Rust: A Journey toward Great Lakes Resilience asks us to consider what we value about life in the Great Lakes region and how caring for its remarkable ecosystems might help us imagine new, whole futures. Weaving together memories from her life in the upper Midwest with nearly fifty years of environmental policy advocacy work, Jane Elder provides a uniquely moving insider’s perspective into the quest to protect the Great Lakes and surrounding public lands, from past battles to protect Michigan wilderness and shape early management strategies for the national lakeshores to present fights against toxic pollution and climate change. She argues that endless cycles of resource exploitation and boom and bust created a ‘rust belt’ legacy that still threatens our capacity for resilience. The author lays out the challenges that lie ahead and invites us to imagine bold new strategies through which we might thrive.

front cover of The Windward Shore
The Windward Shore
A Winter on the Great Lakes
Jerry Dennis
University of Michigan Press, 2012

"Our country is lucky to have Jerry Dennis. A conservationist with the soul of a poet whose beat is Wild Michigan, Dennis is a kindred spirit of Aldo Leopold and Sigurd Olson. The Windward Shore---his newest effort---is a beautifully written and elegiac memoir of outdoor discovery. Highly recommended!"
---Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
"Come for a journey; stay for an awakening. Jerry Dennis loves the Great Lakes, the swell of every wave, the curve of every rock. He wants you to love them too before our collective trashing of them wipes out all traces of their original character. Through his eyes, you will treasure the hidden secrets that reveal themselves only to those who linger and long. Elegant and sad at the same time, The Windward Shore is a love song for the Great Lakes and a gentle call to action to save them."
---Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

"In prose as clear as the lines in a Dürer etching, Jerry Dennis maps his home ground, which ranges outward from the back door of his farmhouse to encompass the region of vast inland seas at the heart of our continent. Along the way, inspired by the company of water in all its guises---ice, snow, frost, clouds, rain, shore-lapping waves---he meditates on the ancient questions about mind and matter, time and attention, wildness and wonder. As in the best American nature writing---a tradition that Dennis knows well---here the place and the explorer come together in brilliant conversation."
---Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto

If you have been enchanted by Jerry Dennis’s earlier work on sailing the Great Lakes, canoeing, angling, and the natural wonders of water and sky—or you have not yet been lucky enough to enjoy his engaging prose—you will want to immerse yourself in his powerful and insightful new book on winter in Great Lakes country.

Grounded by a knee injury, Dennis learns to live at a slower pace while staying in houses ranging from a log cabin on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula to a $20 million mansion on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. While walking on beaches and exploring nearby woods and villages, he muses on the nature of time, weather, waves, agates, books, words for snow and ice, our complex relationship with nature, and much more.

From the introduction: “I wanted to present a true picture of a complex region, part of my continuing project to learn at least one place on earth reasonably well, and trusted that it would appear gradually and accumulatively—and not as a conventional portrait, but as a mosaic that included the sounds and scents and textures of the place and some of the plants, animals, and its inhabitants. Bolstered by the notion that a book is a journey that author and reader walk together, I would search for promising trails and follow them as far as my reconstructed knee would allow.”


front cover of Zooplankton of the Great Lakes
Zooplankton of the Great Lakes
A Guide to the Identification and Ecology of the Common Crustacean Species
Mary D. Balcer, Nancy L. Korda, and Stanely I. Dodson
University of Wisconsin Press, 1984

Researchers, instructors, and students will appreciate this compilation of detailed information on the crustacean zooplankton of the Great Lakes. The authors have gathered data from more than three hundred sources and organized into a useful laboratory manual. The taxonomic keys are easy to use, suitable for both classroom and laboratory identifications. Detailed line drawings are provided to help confirm the identification of the major species. Zoologists, limnologists, hydrobiologists, fish ecologists, and those who study or monitor water quality will welcome this dependable new identification tool.
    A concise summary of pertinent information on the ecology of these zooplankton is provided in the main body of the text. A check-list of all species reported from each of the Great Lakes and notes on the distribution and abundance of more than a hundred species were compiled from an extensive search of existing literature. In addition, the authors collected samples from several locations on Lake Superior, in order to provide information on the abundance and life histories of the major crustacean species.


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