The Hidden History of Lake St. Clair

Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) will premiere the new grant-funded documentary film, ‘Hidden History of Lake St. Clair,’ at a special fundraiser event on Thursday, Feb. 15 at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

The event, which will benefit the Noble Odyssey Foundation and the Macomb Chamber’s new Blue Economy Committee, is open to the public, with tickets now on sale.

The film focuses on the search for the remains of the Village of Belvidere and the Church of St. Felicity, two early settlements believed to have been consumed by the rising waters of Lake St. Clair around 1855. Researchers, historians and archeologists have worked for decades to find artifacts and supporting documentation regarding the sites, but water levels and other factors have made this challenging. Hidden History filmmaker Robert Kreipke showcases this in the documentary.

“This documentary video was exciting to create,” said Kreipke, a noted film director, Ford Motor Company’s corporate historian emeritus and an award winning documentary filmmaker. “Lake St. Clair is very unique, it boasts the largest freshwater delta in the world. Great imagery depicts this fabulous freshwater treasure in the underwater search for the lost town of Belvidere and the Saint Felicity Church. This film takes the audience on an adventure through aerial photography, underwater photography, and much more as it highlights the remarkable features of Lake St. Clair.”

The film serves to educate viewers about the settlements, but also the larger story of Lake St. Clair and its ongoing significance. Capt. Luke Clyburn, president of the Noble Odyssey Foundation, is featured in the film and contributes to this narrative by sharing his work with young people on the waterway. “The foundation was created to develop a maritime interest with American youth,” he said. “We are going into our 52nd year of training teenaged cadets about the Great Lakes. Lake St Clair is in the center of the world’s greatest fresh water system and our research this past year is to tell the unknown story of the water. The summer has been busy with cadets using scuba diving equipment to look under the waters of Lake St Clair and to film this wonderful history. This film has been made to go into the school systems and help to develop young people’s interest in caring for our Great Lakes.”

Immediately following the film, MCPED will lead a moderated discussion with Kreipke, Capt. Clyburn, Wayne Lusardi, an underwater marine archaeologist for the State of Michigan, and Dan Harrison, a maritime archaeologist for Wayne State University. The entire evening runs from 5:30-8 p.m. and will be hosted by Macomb Community College at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

What:          The Hidden History of Lake St. Clair

When:         Thursday, February 15, 2024

Where:        ​Macomb Center for the Performing Arts (44575 Garfield Rd, Clinton Twsp, MI)

Time:          6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Cost:           $15.00

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