516. White River Light Station

White River Light Station


You are standing in front of the White River Station. The light station was built not so much to guide the lumber schooners and later the passenger ships into port as to help them navigate the channel that connects Lake Michigan to White Lake. Built in 1875 from Michigan and Wisconsin limestone, the building is a 1 ½ story keepers quarters with the tower set into the northwest corner of the house. The tower housed a fourth order Fresnel lens, which over the years, had several different light patterns.

In the lighthouse’s 84 years of operation, the light had only a handful of keepers. Its first lighthouse keeper was Captain Bill Robinson who with his wife Sarah raised 11 children at the light. He lived at the light until his death at the age of 87. Some claim the Captain and Sarah still watch over and reside at the lighthouse.

The light station was also home to Michigan’s last women lighthouse keeper Francis Johnson who kept the light from 1949 to 1954.

The lighthouse was closed in 1960 and transferred to Fruitland Township. In 2012 Fruitland Township turned the operations and management of the lighthouse over to the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association who manage, maintain and make the lighthouse accessible to the public.

The grounds include the Oil House built in 1902 and the original Keepers Workshop which features several large nautical items that cannot be showcased in the upstairs museum.

The light station houses two rooms of museum exhibits, which guests to the light can enjoy as they climb the circular stairs to the top. Spectacular views of Lake Michigan, the surrounding dunes and White Lake await visitors at the top of the tower.

For more information, visit our web site at www.splka.org