What was the Griffon?

   The Griffon was the first sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes, built in 1679 by La Salle. The great French explorer, then contemplating the establishment of a colony in the Illinois country and an exploration of the lower Mississippi River, constructed the ship above Niagara Falls to provide a transportation link between the western territory and the established French posts. In August, 1679, La Salle sailed his ship to Green Bay and then sent it back to Niagara laden with furs for the payment of his creditors. On the voyage both ship and crew disappeared, providing a mystery which has intrigued historians to the present day.