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Green Bay (Lake Michigan)

Green Bay
A Tall ship sailing into the mouth of the Fox River

Green Bay is an arm of Lake Michigan, located along the south coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the east coast of Wisconsin. It is separated from the rest of the lake by the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin, the Garden Peninsula in Michigan, and the chain of islands between them, all formed by the Niagara Escarpment. Green Bay is some 120 miles (193 km) long, with a width ranging from about 10 miles (16 km) to 20 mi (32 km). It is 1,626 square miles (4,210 km2) in area.[1][2]

At the southern end of the bay is the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the Fox River enters the bay. The Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge (formerly known as the Tower Drive bridge) spans the point where the bay ends and the Fox River begins. Locally, the bay is often called the Bay of Green Bay to distinguish the bay from the city. The bay is navigable by large ships.

The bay was named la baie des Puants (literally, "the bay of the Stinks") by the natives living near Green Bay by a derogatory word meaning "Stinkers", thus the bay was the "Bay of the Stinkers", but this name perplexed the French, and Jacques Marquette thought the name might relate to the smell of the swamps, when he explored the area in May 1673. His fellow explorer Louis Joliet, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry (Métis) were on their way to find the Mississippi river [3] They travelled up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters.[3] The French also called the bay Baie Verte, and the English kept this name as Green Bay.[3]

Oconto, Green Bay was home to Copper Culture State Park, which has remains dated to around 5000-6000 B.C. It is a burial ground of the Copper Culture Indians. This burial ground is considered to be the oldest cemetery in Wisconsin and one of the oldest in the nation.

The French Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, and missionary, Father Claude-Jean Allouez said the first Mass in Oconto on December 3, 1669.[4]

The bay is located in parts of five counties in Wisconsin (Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto), and two in Michigan (Delta, Menominee).

See also

  • Peshtigo Fire: a firestorm that affected land on both sides of Green Bay, and the deadliest fire in the history of the United States

References

  1. ^ Fox River and Green Bay Statistics, Fox River Watch
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hall, George E. 2009. A History of Oconto. 2nd ed., edited by Duane Ebert and Pamela Ann Loberger. Oconto, WI: Oconto County Historical Society, p. 33.

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