Did You Know There Was Once a Sixth Great Lake?
We all know there are five great lakes - but briefly, in the 90s, there was a sixth!
When I learned about the Great Lakes in elementary school, teachers used the mnemonic device "H.O.M.E.S" to help us remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Eerie, Superior.
Well, if the 6th Great Lake would have continued to a be a thing, we'd have to change it to "CHOMES"...
A Tweet about the whole situation recently caught my attention.
Apparently, back in 1998, Senator Patrick J. Leahy had a line inserted into legislation that deemed Lake Champlain in Vermont a Great Lake, and President Bill Clinton signed it.
The measure allowed Lake Champlain to be considered one of the Great Lakes for the purposes of competing for research money under the National Sea Grant Program.
And people were. Not. Happy.
Reportedly, Michigan's then-Rep. Fred Upton once said of Lake Champlain,
I've heard you can practically pitch a baseball across it.
It is pretty small in comparison to the other Great Lakes, covering just 490 square miles. In comparison, the smallest Great Lake, Lake Ontario, is 7,430 square miles.
Former Ohio U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette is quoted as saying,
If Lake Champlain ends up as a Great Lake, I propose we rename it 'Lake Plain Sham.'
After just 18 days, the Senate revoked Lake Champlain's status as a Great Lake, as did the House a week later.
According to the Detroit Free Press, though Lake Champlain was officially demoted to well, less than great, the lake is still eligible for the same federal research grants.