History

For centuries, the Great Lakes have served as an important food source and trade route for people living along their shore. Today, that rich history is a draw for tourists as well as divers interested in the lakes' thousands of shipwrecks. 

Ways to Connect

Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

When you think of a summer home, you probably think of a big house right on the beach, overlooking the ocean. But some people dream of a less conventional place to spend the summer…like a Lake Erie lighthouse.

Here's more about our visit to Sheila Consaul's lighthouse. 

The Erie Canal's 200 years old. Strike up the band.

Jul 3, 2017
Gary David Gold

The first shovels to dig the Erie Canal went into the ground on July 4th, 1817. When it was completed in 1825, the canal transformed the nation’s economy, allowing goods to move from the Hudson River to cities along the Great Lakes.

To mark the occasion, David Alan Miller, the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s music director, dreamed up the plan to commission and perform original works at seven stops along the route.

This Fourth of July, New York is not only celebrating the nation's independence, but a 363-mile waterway that helped bring economic independence to Buffalo and other cities across the state. Begun on July 4, 1817, the Erie Canal opened in its entirety in 1825 - and a variety of events are planned over the next several years to celebrate this engineering marvel. WBFO's Marian Hetherly got into the bicentennial spirit by sitting down with Erie Canal historian and teaching artist Dave Ruch


W.W. Norton & Company

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan has covered Great Lakes issues for 15 years.  This month, he released his first bookThe Death and Life of the Great Lakes, an in-depth biography of the lakes – from the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway to the current issues with harmful algae blooms and invasive species.


A new book by Michigan poet Cindy Hunter Morgan breathes life into shipwrecks that dot the floor of the Great Lakes.

"Harborless" is her re-imagining of tragic moments when the Philadelphia, Chicora and other ships were lost. 

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