For the past few years, Brad Richards (B.A. ’93) has been experiencing what he describes as a “mid-life adventure.” The high school history teacher and coach has been on a present-day treasure hunt for gold dating back to the Civil War.
It all began with the confession of a lighthouse keeper who, on his deathbed, told the story of how Civil War gold is hidden in a boxcar somewhere at the bottom of Lake Michigan. The theory is that members of the Union Army’s Fourth Michigan Cavalry stole millions in treasury gold from the Confederate President Jefferson Davis back in 1865. The gold was then smuggled by train from the scene of the crime in Irwinville, Ga., to Muskegon, Mich., where Richards and fellow searcher, Kevin Dykstra, believe it was used by philanthropist Charles Hackley to fund many establishments in the city.
When Richards first heard the story from Dykstra, he was immediately intrigued, especially since many aspects of the story revolved around his hometown of Muskegon. A life-long lover of history, Richards joined the search for the lost treasure. Not long after, he, Dykstra and others began filming a six-episode series titled “The Curse of Civil War Gold” that premiered on the History Channel on March 6. Since coming on board, Richards has been actively involved, helping to uncover clues that would take them to Georgia, Utah and eventually below the surface of Lake Michigan.
“I tried to be as helpful as I could with the project,” he said about the logistical and research assistance he offered, in addition to transporting Dykstra and others across states in his motorhome for more hands-on treasure hunting.
From small-town high school teacher and basketball coach to being part of a team of treasure hunters on a History Channel special, Richards has been trusting God’s will for his life. “This project came along, and Divine Providence played a part in me being a part of this. I am grateful to be a part of this project. I’ve been blessed by the Lord through this mid-life adventure!”
Brad Richards (B.A. ’93) is a family man, history buff, educator, coach and now treasure hunter. He currently teaches history at Ravenna High School and coaches girls basketball at Fruitport Calvary Christian.
Photo courtesy of Prometheus Entertainment