Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses: The Keeper Who Won’t Leave His Post in Whitehall
Nearly 150 years after he was appointed to the post, some say Captain William Robinson still walks the spiral staircase of the White River Light Station.
Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state. With a history dating back to 1825, some of the past lingers with the stories and legends of hauntings numbering almost as many as ships that have sailed the Great Lakes. The dedication of the Whitehall lighthouse keeper may have lasted beyond the grave.
Captain William Robinson emigrated from England with his wife Sarah with the goal of finding work in the lumber industry to support his growing family. Pure Michigan picks up the story here: "With the amount of traffic traveling in and out of the White River, Robinson was surprised there was no light to guide their safe passage. He began petitioning the lighthouse service to have a beacon built, and in the interim would hang a lantern on a pole at the end of the channel every night to aid the passing ships. When the light was constructed and lit in 1875, the Robinsons were appointed the first keepers."
So, the White River Light Station may not have even been built were it not for Captian Robinson. His tenure lasted nearly 50 years and his own light was extinguished as he passed away at the station in 1919 at 87 years old. Some say he is still there. Footsteps are often heard climbing the spiral staircase to the lantern room at the top of the tower to look over White Lake and survey Lake Michigan for ships dangerously close to the shore.