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1700 Period History Detail
Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, dispatches French soldiers from Fort Pontchartrain (now the City of Detroit, Michigan) to explore the southern shoreline of Lake St. Clair. They observe what is now the Puce area of Lakeshore and then proceed eastward until they reach what their commander describes as Quelle Belle Riviere (What a beautiful river!). And so was named the former Town which grew up along the lake and inland at that location. Belle River's first settler is recorded in 1741.
The War of 1812 was a particularly tumultuous time for South Western Ontario. The American Army, wishing to cut off the supplies into Canada burned down the Lighthouse. It was rebuilt, stronger, made from local stone and manned by the Cartier family. Three generations of direct descendents of explorer Jacques Cartier are noted to have been the keepers from 1814 to 1950.
Today the Lighthouse stands at 53 feet. The original gas lanterns have been replaced with an electric light and the foundation has been stabilized. Nearby the Lighthouse keepers residence is believed to have been built at the turn of the century, over 100 years ago. The Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue team now resides in the Lighthouse keepers residence. Efforts in recent years to preserve the integrity and history of the Lighthouse have proved to be a challenge. The Lighthouse is an ongoing project for special interest groups, whose objectives are preservation and investment in historical sites, artifacts and lighthouses. Perhaps one day there will be a museum established near the Lighthouse Cove Lighthouse, to display the rich marine history associated with this site.
British surveyor Patrick McNiff makes calculations at what would become the Maidstone Township area of Lakeshore. The area is covered with thick forests and, in the interior, with many areas of swamp and marsh. Much of the region is referred to as the St. Clair Flats.
Jay's Treaty clarifies the border between British North America and the United States. French settlement of the future City of Windsor and Town of Lakeshore is encouraged, and the task of clearing forest land for agriculture leads to extensive lumber cutting, processing and shipping to nearby Detroit.
The settlers' devotion to the Roman Catholic faith sows the seeds of today's St. Simon and Jude Parish.