Lake St. Clair (Lac Sainte Claire)
French explorers discovered and named Lake Saint Clair on August 12, 1679. Among the party of 34 men were voyageur Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle and Roman Catholic friar Father Louis Hennepin. Aboard the Griffin, the first sailing vessel on the Upper Great Lakes, the group sailed from the Niagara Falls area on August 7, 1679, and entered the Detroit River on August 11. They reached Lake Saint Clair the following day and named it Lac Sainte Clair in honor of Sainte Claire of Assisi whose feast day fell at that time. It was Sainte Claire who established the order of Franciscan nuns, the Order of the Poor Claires. Government officials and map makers later changed the spelling to the present form of Saint Clair. This led to some confusion as to the true origin of the name of the lake.