2021 GLSHS Keynote Speaker: Ric Mixter, Award-Winning Historian/Author

Posted on September 23rd, 2021

Ric Mixter has spent most of his life searching out maritime stories, finding key eyewitnesses to landmark events like the “King of Storms” in 1913, the Armistice Day Storm of 1940 and modern disasters like the Cedarvillle, Bradley, Morrell and Edmund Fitzgerald.

In that quest he has dove over 100 wrecks (including the Fitz) and has brought to light details that surprise his fellow researchers, including long-lost footage of storms and an interview with the Coast Guardsman who survived the explosion at the nation’s most remote lighthouse.

Ric’s work is unsurpassed on television, with 30 programs airing on PBS, the Outdoor Channel and footage on the History and Discovery Channels. He’s also shared shipwreck and aviation cover stories in Michigan History Magazine and many others. Ric was past president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, a board member of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History and a board member and long-time friend of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. This season he was on-board the research vessel David Boyd when the barge Michigan was discovered and he helped film the brand-new discovery of the Adellla Shores.

He’s the author of two books, a private pilot with time in F-16s, B-52s and the Goodyear Blimp. Ric’s podcast is the most listened to Great Lakes maritime show and his Youtube channel has over four million views, but he says his best productions are this three kids.

Bottled Goodbyes:

Bottled messages have been discovered on shore nearly as long as glass containers have been invented. They bring tidings from ocean voyagers, invitations for pen-pals, tragic attempts for rescue and floating farewells from long lost souls.

Based on Ric Mixter’s new book, Bottled Goodbyes chronicles the most famous messages ever recovered, including three bottles found after the Titanic disaster. One of those messages was allegedly from a White House aide who served two U.S. presidents!

Ric also investigates five messages that floated ashore from the Great Storm of 1913 and shares in-depth information on the barge Plymouth and Lightship 82 notes. Both ships were lost with their entire crews, so the messages recovered made national headlines.

Each of the Great Lakes are highlighted, making this a lecture that can be shared anywhere on the inland seas. Of particular interest are the near crashes of Balloonist Washington Donaldson in lakes Ontario and Michigan and the final flight that took his life off the Michigan coast in 1875.

Ric also investigates the development of radio on the Great Lakes and how that led to a decrease in bottles recovered. The rescue of the Pere Marquette 18 Carferry is specifically highlighted as an example. That ship was discovered in the summer of 2020 in 500 feet of water off the coast of Wisconsin.

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