The Local History Gallery
For the White Lake Area

Website & Imaging: Jerry Grady     Research: Barb Brow


Sylvan Beach Hotel



Sylvan Beach is a slip of land densely wooded with noble oak, beech, maple and other trees and carpeted with green sod, according to an article written in 1891. It comprised about 55 acres of land in a strip about a mile long with its east shore on White Lake and its west shore being the white sandy beach lapped by the waters of Lake Michigan.

Col. William Weston of Milwaukee acquired title to the property in 1871 and afterward it passed to his son I. M. Weston, who built a pavilion, pier and bath house on the east shore for the entertainment of picnic parties. I. M. Weston eventually parted with his title to a group of Whitehall citizens who changed the name from Weston’s Grove to Sylvan Beach.

A hotel was built in 1897 by John Nequest on property leased from the Sylvan Beach Association.

There were a succession of hotel operators, with the property being owned most of the time by Charles Tornblom and in more recent times by E. M. Duttenhofer.

I. W. Berd was the first Manager of the hotel in 1899, assisted by Enoch Peterson, a pleasant clerk who looked out after the welfare of the guests.

A new manager came in 1902, when F. W. Sadler took over and held a Grand Opening Ball in July 1902. 1903 saw yet another change in management when E. J. Ficken of Chicago took over the hotel with the assistance of George Dodge. It was during this time that the name was also changed to the Wabaningo Inn, but that only seemed to last for a little while.

Mr. E. J. Whelan ran the hotel until 1922 when Mr. & Mrs. Charles Schiersted purchased it from E. M. Duttenhofer. Mrs. Schiersted died in the Spring of 1928 and Mr. Schiersted died in late 1929. He had remarried after the passing of his first wife and it appears that she operated the hotel for a time with Charles Larnard as the manager.

Mr. & Mrs. J. J. Meyers came to the hotel in 1935. Mr. Meyers died a short time after but Mrs. Meyers continued to operate the hotel through the 1946 season.

In August 1946, it was announced that the Sylvan Beach Hotel had been purchased by the Sylvan Beach Resort Association. The Association planned to sell the contents and furnishing of the hotel and the duplex cottage next door. Following the sale, the hotel was razed, and the property was platted into lots for sale.

Sylvan Beach Hotel and Duplex Cottage