Side A: Following the completion of the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, New York, Lake Erie became an important link in an all-water route for immigrants traveling from the eastern seaboard into the Midwest. The 600-ton lake steamer G.P. Griffith, launched in 1847, was one of dozens built to capitalize on this booming trade. On June 17, 1850, the Griffith, outbound with more than 300 passengers on a three-day voyage from Buffalo to Toledo, caught fire and burned about 220 yards from this overlook. Many of the German, English, Irish, and Scandinavian settlers were laden with money sewn into their clothing, and few reached shore. Contemporary accounts listed 286 lost. Most were buried in a mass grave on the beach, since reclaimed by Lake Erie. The Griffith incident remains one of the worst maritime disasters on the Great Lakes.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Lake Metroparks, City of Willowick, The Lake County Historical Society, and The Ohio Historical Society