White City Amusement Resort, Now Just an Empty Park in the Keweenaw Peninsula
There are two places in the Upper Peninsula that go by the name of White City...and both are basically ghost towns. One of them is in Gogebic County at the base of Lake Gogebic: there is nothing left of the town except a couple of houses down a private drive out in the woodsy countryside, miles away from other towns.
However, the one we're gonna get into here is the one about 130 miles northeast, in the Keweenaw Peninsula. It's another White City, up until 1916 called “The Entry”, and home of White City Park. Now completely empty, this park was once an amusement park with rides, food, dancing, beer garden, hotel, saloon, bandstand, rental cabins, and more.
There was a passenger steamer called “The Plow Boy” that would pick up and drop off customers all up and down the Portage River. This wasn't just an ol' boat...it had its own orchestra/dance band and its own light show!
White City Park (usually called a 'resort') was THE place to go in the Keweenaw – or anywhere in the U.P., for that matter.
So what happened?
A completely different passenger steamer way down near Chicago overturned, taking the lives of 844 passengers. This made people throughout the country scared to take any more passenger ship excursions...including the folks in the Keweenaw. Needless to say, business shrank, even with reassurances that ships were being inspected to prevent any more accidents.
Didn't matter...they still stayed away.
It didn't help when a family left White City in a motorboat, hit a log, and killed five. This scared off even more people.
Then World War I hit with restrictions and mandates preventing people from traveling by private motorboat.....and from buying all the food they needed. With their money going to sorely needed items, something “frivolous” like an amusement park was out of the question.
White City Park closed in 1919.
No more ship rides.
No beer garden.
No rental cabins.
No merry-go-round, roller coaster, or other rides.
They are ALL gone...wiped from the face of the earth.
The only thing that remains in the 2000s is the great, long pier that stre-e-tches out into the water to the lighthouse. The park is still a nice place to visit, if you wanna picnic and try to imagine what it was like as you stand among the empty spaces that once held all the above attractions.
The gallery below shows you vintage photos of what it looked like then...
...and what it looks like now.
White City Amusement Park, Then and Now
MOE MICHIGAN THINGS THAT ARE AROUND NO MORE:
The Actors Colony, 1908-1938
The Mineral Baths of Michigan