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Shining Big Sea Water

Shining Big Sea Water

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The Story of Lake Superior

Author Norman K. Risjord

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 15, 2008)

A fascinating, fast-paced history of Lake Superior, from the time of the glaciers to the present, complemented by handy travelers’ tips for historic destinations.


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 an unusual “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.

Author information

Norman K. Risjord is the author of several books, including A Popular History of Minnesota and Wisconsin:The Story of the Badger State. He is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 224 pages
  • 50 b&w photos
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873515900

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