The White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization comprised of a progressive group of business persons and citizens, whose cooperative efforts unite a community, improve the business climate and guarantee the quality of life in Montague, Whitehall, and the surrounding areas.
The White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is a joint effort of the business communities of Montague and Whitehall who merged their Chambers of Commerce in 1971. Housed in the renovated C & O Depot, the Chamber operates a full-time Welcome Center for visitors to the area and is open seven days per week in the summer.
The Chamber serves as the White Lake Area business advocate, providing information to elected and government officials. Members participate in monthly events such as dinners, meetings, seminars and Business After Hours. Chamber members also enjoy business referrals from the Chamber office. The Chamber offers its members a number of benefits such as health insurance, tuition discounts, and other services.
The Chamber provides welcome packets for visitors and relocation packs for new residents or those considering a move to the area. The Chamber also publishes 50,000 Visitors Guides, a Calendar of Events, a monthly Newsletter, an Annual Report, a Membership Directory, an area Map and other guides and directories.
The Chamber has grown from fifty members in 1971 to over three hundred today. The Board of Directors, six from Montague and six from Whitehall, set policy and programs for the organization. Four paid employees and four regular volunteers complete the Chambers program of work. The chamber operates with a networked computer system and has recently ventured into cyberspace with a web site located at www.whitelake.org.
White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Staff
Front row: Helen Allshouse, Retail Coordinator; Jo McMullen, Tourism Specialist.
Back row: Marcene Race, Web Developer; Carol Wood, Executive Director.
White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce 1998-1999 Board of Directors
Front row: Warren Smith, Wayside Inn, 1998 Chairman; Ken Clark, Howmet Corp.; Pam Semelbauer, Trophy Center of West Michigan; Carol Wood, Executive Director; Tom Page, T-Car; Mike Guinon, Guinon Appraisal, 1999 Chairman; Ryan Briegel, Pitkin Drug and Gift Shoppe; Dave Rypma, Don Rypma Chevrolet/Oldsmobile.
Back row: Al Rant, White Lake Agency, Inc.; Cathy Russell, White Swan Inn; Patty Blankenship, The Travel Shoppe; Joyce Jager, Surrey Carpet; Cheryl Davidson, Old Channel Inn; Dr. Neil Paton, Howmet Corp.; Al Hiddema, Treasurer, Al Hiddema, C.P.A.
Absent members: John Calkins, Master Ta; Ed Kaminski, Kaminski Cottage.
The progression of the White Lake Area from a tribal region to the burgeoning hub of industry and commerce that it is today was a natural one. From the beginning, Native American tribes were attracted to its ideal location; White Lake flows into Lake Michigan through a deep water channel, and is famous for its abundant Walleye. Fur trappers, traders, and settlers eventually followed, and it wasnt long before loggers flocked to the White Lake region to take advantage of its abundant lumber. White Lakes lumber industry grew at an enormous rate, acting as a catalyst for the rapid growth of White Lakes largest communities, Montague and Whitehall. By the end of the nineteenth century, the region was nearly stripped of its lumber, and settlers turned to the approaching industrial area and farming as ways to earn a living and support their families.
Industry along the White Lake shoreline did not enjoy as rapid a growth as it did in the mid-1800s. The natural, unspoiled beauty of White Lake, however, lent itself to a new type of industry: tourism. Steamships frequently brought passengers from Chicago to White Lake to camp and enjoy its pristine waters, superb fishing, and fabulous beaches. Resorts began to emerge along White Lakes shores; thousands of people from nearby metropolitan areas traveled to White Lake by boat or train to spend a summer away from the hectic pace of a rapidly developing city.
Industry began to prosper once again following the second World War. Suddenly, major corporations established their roots in the White Lake region; Misco, which opened it doors in 1946, remains to this day the countrys largest employer. Other major corporations followed; DuPont, Union Carbide, and Hooker opened manufacturing facilities shortly thereafter. Today, the White
Lake region is home to two industrial parks, and produces everything from machinery to plastic plant tags. The White Lake Area continues to develop as a prime vacation spot and an industrial leader, and is looking forward to a future as promising and dynamic as its past.
The White Lake Area, comprised of sister cities Montague and Whitehall, lies 50 miles west of Grand Rapids in the heart of West Michigan. The waters of White Lake channel into Lake Michigan, making the area a prime location for recreation, tourism, and industry. The White Lake region is only 194 miles from Detroit, 183 miles from Chicago, and 70 miles from Milwaukee.
White Lake Area residents and industry take advantage of a convenient, expansive transportation system. Muskegon County International Airport is a mere 20 minutes away; if you prefer to travel by boat, White Lake is linked to Lake Michigan and accommodates travelers with its safe harbor. Drivers have easy access to the White Lake region through Interstate 94 or 96; both connect to US 31. Business Route 31 passes through Montague and Whitehall.
Its undisputed: the White Lake Area boasts the most beautiful homes in all of West Michigan! Nestled on spacious, immaculate lots, these attractive homes can be found overlooking the peaceful waters of White Lake and Lake Michigan, tucked into the woods where deer are regular visitors, resting on tree-lined streets in new developments, or among other vintage homes in traditional neighborhoods.
Both Montague and Whitehall are proud of their friendly neighborhoods where children play on sidewalks and families are raised to respect and care for each other. Historic homes in traditional neighborhoods developed by settlers and loggers add to the appeal of this area. Young families move to the White Lake Area from neighboring, larger towns to enjoy the small-town ambiance of Montague and Whitehall. The White Lake Area is a great place to raise children with the comfortable feeling of security; the crime rate is among the lowest in the country.
The low cost of living is another bonus to living in our wonderful communities. Homes are priced significantly lower than comparative homes in nearby metropolitan areas; buyers will appreciate the variety of homes available at affordable prices. There is truly something for everyone along the shores of White Lake!
The White Lake Area is sure to please even the most discriminating of shoppers. Whether you enjoy delving into history in one of our cozy antique shops or browsing through name-brand fashions, the White Lake Area has it all. Visit unique stores such as the General Store with a collection of antiques, quilting supplies, hard to find books, specialty foods and other unusual items. Pitkins Drug and Gift Shoppe offers the most complete line of White Lake Area clothing with collectibles, gifts, childrens books, toys and more. A traditional variety store with a great collection of craft supplies is available in the Montague Ben Franklin Store.
After a full day of shopping, satisfy your appetite at one of White Lakes many and varied restaurants. The White Lake Area offers the best in casual and fine dining. Relax on the deck of Riverview Café and enjoy a great breakfast or delicious sandwich while overlooking White River and White Lake. Garys Restaurant features great breakfast and lunch specials in a down-home setting and Subway offers great sandwiches anytime.
The deck of Crosswinds Restaurant overlooking White Lake is a popular dining spot in the summer months. The Chef at Crosswinds turns out delicious cuisine; broiled whitefish is the specialty of the house. Another popular dining room is the Sundown Saloon and Steakhouse at Double JJ Resort. The food at the bar & grill overlooking the fairways of the Thoroughbred Golf Club is as spectacular as the views with steaks and chops grilled in the dining room. Lakeside Inn is beautifully situated on White Lake and Old Channel Inn is a popular local establishment specializing in Walleye. Come as you are is the dress code in all the area restaurants!
Accommodations for visitors abound. Guests can stay at one of our many rustic cottages with spectacular views of the sunset, family-style resorts and campgrounds, hotel/motels, rental condos or our Victorian Bed and Breakfast. Many boast gorgeous waterfront locations and recreational opportunities such as horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, fishing and golf.
Nature spoils White Lake visitors and residents. White Lake flows into Lake Michigan through a deep water channel, resulting in superb fishing spots and endless opportunities for recreational fun. Dock at one of nine area marinas with more than 800 slips, many complete with a clubhouse, swimming pools, jacuzzis, and even storage; rent a charter boat; or enjoy popular activities such as fishing, sailing, canoeing, tubing, or water skiing. If total relaxation is more your style, one of Lake Michigans many beaches is the perfect place to finally delve into that book youve been meaning to read, or simply nap in the summer sun. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy hiking through the Manistee National Forest or White Lakes natural marshland, home to an exciting wildlife habitat including more than 100 Mute and Tundra swans.
The Hart-Montague Bicycle Trail, which passes through several small towns interspersed with quaint restaurants and shops, is a favorite among bicyclists, roller bladers, hikers, and snowmobilers. This 22.5 mile paved recreational trail is Michigans first linear State Park and is soon to be extended through Whitehall.
Winter fun can be found on The Westshore Snowmobile Trail with over 140 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Owasippe Scout Reservation and Double JJ Resort feature groomed cross-country trails that wind through woods and over hills doubling as dog sled trails. The White Lake Area Winter Sports Fest is guaranteed good times with sledding events, ice fishing contests, snowmobiling events and more.
Golf enthusiasts can tee off at one of White Lakes six area public golf courses and enjoy everything from basic courses to the championship links at Thoroughbred and Old Channel Trail Golf Course. Another favorite summer activity includes a visit to Michigans Adventure, Michigans largest amusement/water park. People of all ages will delight in thrilling water slides, wave pools, a lazy river and the infamous Shivering Timbers, a mile plus long roller coaster reaching speeds up to 60 m.p.h. Kids will love the Swimmin Hole, rope swings and petting farm at Double JJ Resorts "Back Forty."
No visit to White Lake is complete without a canoe or tube trip down the White River; Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery will set you up with just the right equipment for your excursion. If its jet skiing youd like to try, visit White Lake Sports Rental for a thrilling ride on the waves.Back to Top
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