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 in the area.
The stately old 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. Many significant keepers followed, including a woman offering years of brave and dedicated service.
The light station was decommissioned in 1960 and opened its doors as a museum in 1970 under the ownership and management of Fruitland Township.