White River Light

The White River Light is a lighthouse on Lake Michigan near the city of Whitehall, Michigan. It sits on a thin peninsula of land separating Lake Michigan from White Lake. The building was built in 1875.

White River Light
White River Light Station,
Source: U.S. Coast Guard Archives
White River Light is located in Michigan
White River Light
LocationNear Whitehall, Michigan
Coordinates43°22′29″N 86°25′28″W / 43.37473°N 86.42433°W / 43.37473; -86.42433Coordinates: 43°22′29″N 86°25′28″W / 43.37473°N 86.42433°W / 43.37473; -86.42433
Year first lit1872 South Pier,
1876 Main Tower
Automated1918 [1]
Deactivated1960 Edit this on Wikidata
Construction'Norman Gothic Style' [2]
Tower shapeOctagonal
Markings / patternCream yellow brick
Tower height11.5 metre Edit this on Wikidata
Original lensFourth order Fresnel lens
RangeVisible for about 14 miles (23 km)
CharacteristicOriginal lens a fixed white light with a red flash once each minute. 1912, light flashed white for 10 seconds then dark for 10 seconds & repeated.[3]

Some of the buildings in existence for the lightstation consisted of the tower and attached dwelling, the South Pier-head Beacon light, oil house, woodshed or storage building and Privy.[4] It is one of four lighthouses that are operated by the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association.

Captain William Robinson was the first lighthouse keeper, working there for 47 years. He lived there with his wife and thirteen children. His residence was built out of limestone, the same material as that the forty foot octagonal tower connected to it was built out of. Towards the end of his life, Robinson walked with a cane. The lighthouse is said to be haunted, with people hearing the tapping of Robinson's cane.[5] Frances Marshall, known as the last female lighthouse keeper in Michigan, worked there after his service.[6]

The lighthouse served as a guide to the river until 1960, when it was decommissioned. Fruitland Township acquired the lighthouse in 1966 and built a museum in 1970.[7][6] Visitors can climb the spiral staircase or look at the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens.[6] It is open to the public as a museum with regular hours posted from Memorial Weekend through August 31. The lighthouse is also open through September and October with reduced hours. The museum has a number of artifacts from the passenger and freight shipping on the lakes in addition to information on the light itself.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tag, Thomas A., White River Light Station, Softcover (Dayton, OH: Data Image, 1996) p. 30 & 37. ISBN 0-9649980-2-5
  2. ^ Tag, Thomas A., White River Light Station, Softcover (Dayton, OH: Data Image, 1996) p. 21. ISBN 0-9649980-2-5
  3. ^ Tag, Thomas A., White River Light Station, Softcover (Dayton, OH: Data Image, 1996) p. 35 & 37. ISBN 0-9649980-2-5
  4. ^ Thomas A. Tag (1996) White River Light Station, Softcover (Dayton, OH: Data Image, 1996) p.8. ISBN 0-9649980-2-5
  5. ^ Ray Jones (3 August 2010). Haunted Lighthouses: Phantom Keepers, Ghostly Shipwrecks, and Sinister Calls From the Deep. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7627-6642-0.
  6. ^ a b c "White River Light Station". Visit Ludington. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  7. ^ Ross Holland, Jr., F. (1994). Great American Lighthouses. Preservation Press. p. 240. ISBN 9780471143871.

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