BGSU Firelands Commemorates the Tragic History of the Great Lakes

Huron, Ohio – As fall descends on the Great Lakes, we are reminded of the turbulent and sometimes violent weather that can consume the lakes.  The summer heat that warmed Lake Erie’s waters will soon conflict with approaching cooler winter air and meteorological havoc will result.

The history of Great Lakes shipping is filled with stories of heroic rescue and tragic losses that resulted from this clash of natural forces.  Through a series of programs and a new collection at the College’s library, Bowling Green State University Firelands College will commemorate some of these events.

Sponsored by the BGSU Firelands Community Enrichment Series and ElderCollege events include “Lake Erie’s Perfect Storm” and “Shipwrecked: Reflections of a Sole Survivor.”  Both events are free and open to the public.

“Lake Erie’s Perfect Storm” is a presentation by Georgann and Mike Wachter which details the October 26, 1916 storm on Lake Erie which sank ships and claimed several lives.  The Wachters are authors of several books on shipwrecks and they are avid divers.  Combining their two joys, they have discovered or rediscovered 30 wreck sites on the Great Lakes.  Their program will also include a display of shipwreck artifacts.

The program is on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. in the Cedar Point Center of the BGSU Firelands campus.

“Shipwrecked: Reflections of a Sole Survivor” is a presentation by Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the sinking of the freighter SS Daniel J. Morrell which succumbed to a storm on Lake Huron in 1966.  The tragedy claimed the lives of 28 crewmen.

The program is on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. in the Cedar Point Center on the BGSU Firelands campus.

In addition to the programming, the BGSU Firelands library has established a Great Lakes Collection of library resources devoted to the study of the Great Lakes. Spanning history, science, technology, literature, art, and music, the collection serves as a foundation for Great Lakes studies for BGSU Firelands students and local researchers.

Housed at the Bowling Green campus library, the extensive Historical Collections of the Great Lakes can now be shared with local researchers through the BGSU Firelands library. The holdings of the Historical Collections can be searched online (http://www.bgsu.edu/library/cac/collections/hcgl.html) and many items can then be shuttled to the BGSU Firelands library for local researchers to view on site.

“BGSU Firelands has offered courses on the literature and culture of the Great Lakes for many years now, but this new library collection and the partnership with the BGSU Great Lakes Historical Collection will certainly enrich research opportunities for students, scholars, and members of our community” said BGSU Firelands Associate Professor Jacqueline Justice.

For more information about the events or the library collections, contact BGSU Firelands at 419.433.5560.