Great Lakes Museum presents exhibit on pre-Revolutionary disaster

On October 18, 1764, a British colonel named John Bradstreet was sailing Lake Erie with 60 boats and 9 canoes, returning from an effort to reinforce Fort Detroit. Finding the nighttime sailing too treacherous, the flotilla traveled to a swale near Rocky River. A sudden surge wave caused serious damage to 25 of the boats, meaning the group had to camp for three days to repair, and some of the party would be forced to travel the remaining way by land. The incident has since been given the name Bradstreet’s Disaster.

This dubious bit of British naval history is the focus of a new micro-exhibit at the National Museum of the Great Lakes at 1701 Front St. “Bradstreet’s Disaster” not only gathers artifacts related to the incident, but gives visitors a window into a part of our area’s history that predates even the Revolutionary War.

Pieces such as a swivel gun and other accessories will be on display. The museum will also host a presentation on the exhibit on Wednesday, November 10 at 7pm, giving visitors further historical context on the event and the artifacts present.

“Bradstreet’s Disaster” is scheduled to run at the National Museum of the Great Lakes through the winter of 2022, and is included with the price of admission to the museum. For more information, visit


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