The White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau is located in an historic train depot on the causeway between Montague and Whitehall. The Welcome Center is open year-round with a staff that happy to assist you.
Whitehall was located on a Pere Marquette branch line from Muskegon to Hart and Pentwater. It is about 15 miles north of downtown Muskegon, and adjacent to Montague across the lake.
The first venture was made by the old Michigan Central Railroad in 1870. A route was surveyed from Grand Rapids to Whitehall, stopping at Nunica, Fruitport and Muskegon before heading north. It was not until nearly 10 years later, in 1881, that the railroad, then known as the Chicago and West Michigan, was pushed into Hart on a 4-mile spur line from Mears. Plans were also made to extend the line to Manistee, but they never materialized and Pentwater continued to be the northern terminal.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see that the railroad, which linked Oceana County to the wider world at the turn of the previous century, was the Internet of its time. The railroad provided everything the Internet does today: information, links to distant markets and access to titillation of various sorts. Like the online shopping of today, traveling salesmen could show every kind of ware the wholesalers they represented had to offer, albeit face-to-face (and like online gambling sites, they could, apparently, get a little cash off their customers on the side.)
Built as the Michigan Central, the railroad later became the Chicago and West Michigan before being merged with other Michigan railroads into the Pere Marquette in 1900. The Chesapeake & Ohio took over the PM in 1947 and owned and operated the line to Pentwater until it was abandoned in the early 1980s.
The White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau began leasing the old Whitehall-Montague Train Depot location in 1982. The railway roadbed beginning at the Fred Meijer Berry Junction Trail to Hart is now the William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park.