Superior describes not only the size and volume of the largest Great Lake, but is setting as well. It was called le Lac Superior, or Upper Lake, for its location at the top of the Great Lakes region. Its waters form the rugged and rocky northern coast of the Upper Peninsula. Made famous as Gitche Gumee by the poet Longfellow, Lake Superior was called Great-water or Kitchi-gummi by the Chippewa Indians.
The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior's surface covers 31,700 square miles, and its cold waters reach a depth of 1,332 feet. Lake Superior is the most dramatic of the Inland Seas in many ways, including its history of storms and shipwrecks. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point is noted for its exhibit about the doomed freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in a violent storm in November 1975, 17 miles off the point; the crew of 29 men was lost. The museum is located on the site of Lake Superior's oldest lighthouse, and its 1861 Lightkeeper's Quarters welcomes overnight guests. Over 30 lighthouses still stand along the Lake Superior beaches and four of them offer unique bed and breakfast experiences.