The White River Light station was built in 1875, just four years after the Great Chicago fire. A channel was dug in 1870 between Lake Michigan and White Lake to facilitate the access of lumber schooners. The ship captains were headed to the sawmills which were located on White Lake, a tributary of the White River and adjacent to the majestic pine forests. Eventually, passengers traveled on steamships from Chicago to enjoy the summer resort activities of the White Lake area. The beautiful brick building still reverberates with the character and stories of such prominent residents as the first keeper. Captain William Robinson came from England and served 47 years with his wife Sarah and their large family of thirteen children. Many significant keepers followed, including a woman offering years of brave and dedicated service Francis Marshall. Francis also holds the distinction of serving as the last female lighthouse keeper in Michigan. The light station was decommissioned in 1960 and opened its doors as a museum in 1970 under the ownership and management of Fruitland Township. Today, SPLKA, a non-profit that proudly manages four lighthouses along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, operates the White River Lighthouse. You can climb to the top of her tower or wander around the museum and grounds. Don’t miss viewing the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens on display in the museum. To get to the museum take US-31 to White Lake Dr exit. Turn right (heading west) on to South Shore Drive. Turn left and continue following Museum Signs to the end of Murray Road.
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