CLS: Great Lakes Lore

From ladies of the lights to sunken ships, this week’s expertise will shed light on the stories of the Great Lakes.


10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday, July 11, Orchestra Hall | “Ladies of the Lights

More than 60 women defied the social pressures of their time to succeed in a rough-and-tumble field historically reserved for men: lighthouse keeping on the Great Lakes. The first, Rachel Wolcott, rose to prominence at Ohio’s Marblehead light in 1832. The last, Michigan’s Frances Johnson, retired in 1954. In between were Eliza Truckey, who safely guided ships into Marquette harbor to retrieve raw materials for the Civil War effort; Georgia Stebbins, who rescued shipwrecked sailors at Wisconsin’s North Point light; Milwaukee’s mother-daughter keeper team of Lorinda and Emma Merrill; and Harriet Colfax, keeper at the Michigan City, Indiana light, who holds the women’s record for Great Lakes service at 43 years. Presenter Patricia Majher, who has published a book on Michigan’s female lighthouse keepers, brings the trials and triumphs of these and other Ladies of the Lights to life, helping them receive the notoriety they so richly deserve.


3:30-5 p.m., Monday, July 11, Orchestra Hall | “Ladies of the Lights

Discovered by CLUE member Tom Kowalczk on August 28, 2015, the fuel barge Argo quickly made national news when it was announced by the U.S. Coast Guard to be leaking oil and was considered by NOAA to be the Great Lakes’ top environmental threat.  This is the story of how an east coast barge sank in Lake Erie in 1937 while carrying a hazardous cargo, how it was discovered by accident, and how it was eventually made safe by the efforts of the USCG.

Kevin Magee is the co-founder of CLUE and was certified for scuba in 1984. After moving to Cleveland in 1993, he discovered shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes. He enthusiastically practices diving shipwrecks in Lake Erie as well as the other Great Lakes. He was trimix certified in 1999 and has visited many of the pristine deep water wrecks that technical diving allows. Kevin has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He is a Senior Mechanical Engineer for ZIN Technologies, Inc., and is a contract engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Magee designs, builds, tests, and operates fluids and combustion experiments for the Space Shuttle, sounding rockets, and International Space Station. He is a member of the Great Lakes Historical Society (GLHS) and several local scuba clubs and maintains his own web site on diving Great Lakes shipwrecks.


10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, Orchestra Hall | “Armored Warriors of the Deep”

Early hard hat divers called their diving suits “dive armor.” This program tells the story of these early diving pioneers in the Great Lakes. As we tell their tales of salvage and treasure we will see some of this commercial equipment demonstrated and hear a harrowing story of the survival of one lucky professional underwater “warrior”.

3:30-5 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, Orchestra Hall | “Collision of the Morning Star and Cortland”

In June of 1868 the sidewheel steamer Morning Star and the bark Cortland collided in the middle of Lake Erie with tragic results. The investigation into the loss of both vessels lead to the navigational light rules used today. We will explore the immense machinery of the Morning Star underwater and learn of the 19th century salvage efforts to recover the ship and her cargo.

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, Orchestra Hall | “Erie Lights and Lighthouse Lore

Lighthouses…what stories can they tell? Some are haunted. Others have some been silent sentinels witnessing tragedy. All are beacons full of romance. We will take a video tour of one light and hear the story of the nearby Marblehead light. We will focus on both US and Canadian towers looking at how the lights operate, their various construction methods and how a popular hymn was inspired by a lighthouse tragedy.

Mike and Georgann Wachter are well known as the authors of Erie Wrecks and Lights, Erie Wrecks East, and Erie Wrecks West. In addition to their books, Mike and Georgann have published a Lake Erie shipwreck map listing over 350 GPS wreck coordinates for divers.

They have been diving around the world since the mid 1970’s but particularly enjoy the pristine and perfectly preserved shipwrecks that lie in the fresh waters of the Great Lakes. This has resulted in the discovery of over 50 wreck sites. Each year they create a least one new program for presentations to educate divers and historians in venues as far away as Canada and Florida. They have written numerous magazine articles and have a passion for creating diver access to and preserving Great Lakes maritime history.  Both have been active in the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST) where Mike is past president and Georgann has been treasurer. Under Mike’s tenure 6 shipwrecks in Ohio waters were moored for divers.  They are active members of Lake Erie Wreck Divers and Bay Area Divers scuba clubs. They co-chair the annual Bay Area Shipwrecks & Scuba symposium.

Georgann was inducted into the international Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2013 for documenting over 300 Great Lakes shipwrecks with her writing, research and marine artwork. Mike is a retired management consultant who now devotes his time to finding, exploring and telling tales of Great Lakes shipwrecks and lighthouses. He hosts a database on wrecks at . The collaboration of Georgann’s love of research and Mike’s love of storytelling provides the fuel for the Erie Wrecks series.



10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Thursday, July 14, Orchestra Hall | “Lakeside’s Historic Dock and Waterfront”

Before the land was purchased by the newly-formed Lakeside Company, the first 300 feet of dock was constructed in 1873 so steamers could land at this tiny new resort west of Marblehead. The first picture of Lakeside (circa 1876) shows a small shed just west of the dock and a windmill for pumping water just east of the dock. Dave Glick will tell the story of the development of the dock and the structures and parks along the lakefront between Kenton Row and Erie Beach Road as Lakeside developed into the community we know today. Presented in collaboration with the Lakeside Heritage Society.

David Glick is a treasure trove of information based on his 92 summers in Lakeside. His accumulated documents about Lakeside, including an extensive collection about boats that stopped at the dock, formed a major portion of the LHS Archives when the organization was formed in 1968. He has written over 90 entries for the history feature in the LHS newsletter, given numerous lectures including ten in the last ten years, and led countless tours on these grounds. No other single person has such an extensive “lived history” of Lakeside.



10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Friday, July 15, Orchestra Hall | “The Matthews Family 1906 Voyage: 9,000 Miles Onboard the ONWARD”

View the documentary film “Maiden Voyage of the ONWARD” followed by Q&A with Bob Reynolds of Port Clinton. Mr. Reynolds is the grandson of Scott Matthews who founded the Matthews Boat Company and cane to Hotel Lakeside for his honeymoon in 1897. Using original photographs and written accounts, this documentary chronicles the adventures of Scott Matthews’ 70-foot yacht, the ONWARD, as it traversed the eastern half of the United States and completed what is now known as the “Great Loop” in 1906. The first private yacht to make this 9,000-mile trip, the ONWARD’s success resulted in the relocation of Matthews Boat Company to Port Clinton. Presented in collaboration with the Lakeside Heritage Society.

The event is finished.


Jul 11 - 15, 2022

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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jul 11 - 15, 2022


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