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The Griffon

Ship Anchor

Griffon The French explorer LaSalle sought furs, copper and a water route to China from his base at Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario near present day Kingston, Ontario. He wished to explore further west, but had no way to sail a vessel beyond Niagara Falls. In 1679, LaSalle built the Griffon at the top of the Falls and successfully sailed across Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan. The Griffon was lost on the return voyage to Niagara (as LaSalle explored further south along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers) and remains one of the most sought after shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. The Griffon stands out in history as the first vessel to be built to overcome the changes in water level blocking westward exploration. The system of locks and canals available to us today make it much easier to meet these challenges.

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