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Shining Big Sea Water

The Story of Lake Superior

Norman K. Risjord

Publication Year: 2008

In Shining Big Sea Water, historian Norman K. Risjord offers a grand tour of Lake Superior's remarkable history, taking readers through the centuries and into the lives of those who have traveled the lake and inhabited its shores. Through lively, informative chapters, Risjord begins with the lake's cataclysmic geological birth, then explores the lives of native peoples along the shore before European contact and during the fur trade, showing how Superior functioned as a "blue-water highway" for Indians, early explorers, industries, and settlers. He outlines the development of such cities as Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Two Harbors, Minnesota, and tells the fascinating histories of life-saving lighthouses and famous shipwrecks. In the final chapter, Risjord looks to the future, offering a clear-eyed account of the environmental and economic challenges faced by America's largest freshwater lake. Interspersed throughout the book are handy tips for travelers, highlighting historically significant sites that illustrate key pieces of Lake Superior's natural and human history, including national lakeshores in the United States and provincial parks in Canada.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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contents

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pp. vii-

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preface

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pp. xi-

"This book was a labor of love. In my childhood I spent many happy hours wading—never able to fully immerse myself—in the icy waters of Lake Superior on the beach at Ashland, my grandfather’s home. When our own sons were able, at the ages of four and six, to make their first camping trip (sleeping in the back of a station wagon), my wife, ..."

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Chapter One OF BEDROCK AND ICE

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pp. 3-18

"Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, displays its geological past to good effect. Its irregular shoreline of bays, inlets, and peninsulas; the colorful palisades of rock on Ontario’s north shore; and Michigan’s dramatic Au Sable Dunes are footprints from the march of time."

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Chapter Two LIFE ALONG THE SHORE

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pp. 19-34

"The settlements that France established along the St. Lawrence River in the early years of the seventeenth century had only one purpose—furthering the fur trade. The French government sent to the New World only traders and soldiers; the Catholic Church added a handful of missionaries. There were no women or children until the latter half ..."

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Chapter Three THE FUR TRADE UNDERTHREE FLAGS

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pp. 35-62

“Other Algonquian Tribes [are] still further away, who dwell on the shores of another lake larger than la mer douce [Lake Huron], into which it discharges by a very large and very rapid river; the latter before mingling its waters with those of our mer douce, rolls over a fall [sault] that gives its name to these peoples [Saulteurs], who come there during ..."

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Chapter Four PATH OF THE PADDLE AND OAR

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pp. 63-94

"Although the Territory of Michigan had been created in 1805, it was Indian country until the War of 1812. The only white habitations were Detroit, Michilimackinac, and Sault Ste. Marie, each thinly populated by retired voyageurs and their Indian wives. In 1813, following General William Henry Harrison’s victory over the British and their Indian allies ..."

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Chapter Five BLUE WATER HIGHWAY

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pp. 95-122

"In September 1844, while the Keweenew copper fush was gaining momentum, a team of federal surveyors was drawing township and section lines along the mountainous spine of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In the vicinity of Teal Lake, they noticed their compass needles moving crazily, pointing east sometimes, then ranging to the west or even due south. Realizing there must be iron nearby, William A. Burt told his ..."

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Chapter Six LIGHTHOUSES AND SHIPWRECKS

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pp. 123-146

"Since 1816, when the North West Company’s fur-trading schooner Invincible foundered in a gale on Whitefish Point, about 550 shipwrecks have been recorded on Lake Superior. The wrecks were not evenly distributed around the lake, however. The majority occurred in two famous 'graveyards': the Michigan shore from Whitefish Point west to Copper ..."

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Chapter Seven ICE AGE RELIC IN OUR TIME

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pp. 147-166

"Lake scientists estimate that it takes about four hundred years for a drop of water entering the western end of Lake Superior to reach the St. Marys River at its eastern end. Thus, some of the waters passing through the Soo locks today, though depleted by evaporation and supplemented by rain and snowfall, began their passage across the lake about the time ..."

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SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

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pp. 167-168

"The best introduction to the geological formulation of Lake Superior is Jack L. Hough, Geology of the Great Lakes (1958). Two recent studies in the field of anthropology throw a great deal of light on the Paleo-Indian people of the upper Great Lakes prior to the discovery of America: Robert A. Birmingham and Leslie E. Eisenberg, ..."

iNDEX

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pp. 169-176

PICTURE CREDITS

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pp. 177-178


E-ISBN-13: 9780873517515
E-ISBN-10: 0873517512
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873515900
Print-ISBN-10: 0873515900

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 50 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Superior, Lake, Region -- History.
  • Superior, Lake, Region -- Social life and customs.
  • Superior, Lake -- History.
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