South Haven is a port city at the mouth of the Black River on the southeastern coast of Lake Michigan and a port of call for passenger and cargo shipping lines. In the early 1900s South Haven became a resort town because of its recreational harbor and beaches. It is the western terminus of the Kal-Haven Trail, popular with bicyclists and snowmobilers.
The first steam sawmills were built on the Black River in the 1850s and the timber was shipped to Chicago and Milwaukee via steamboats and schooners. Fruit farmers grew peaches, apples and blueberries on the cleared forests.
The South Pier Lighthouse built in 1903 is still Operational and is Accessible from a Public Beach
The Story of Mobility in America
Maritime Museums in Historic Towns
The Michigan Maritime Museum presents the rich maritime heritage of the Great Lakes and is Michigan’s most distinguished institution of maritime research, preservation and education. Five separate buildings offer a variety of engaging opportunities: exhibits on Michigan maritime history, a center for the teaching of boat building and related maritime skills, and a regionally renowned research library. Waterfront festivals and events are complemented by the hustle and bustle of a modern harbor and vast sandy beaches in one of west Michigan’s most picturesque shoreline communities.
The Friends Good Will promotes tourism in West Michigan by providing the public with a wide variety of cultural and educational experiences. The dramatic story of this sloop speaks to the history of commerce in the early 1800s, as well as her pivotal role in the War of 1812.
Built in Michigan at River Rouge in 1810 as a merchant vessel, in the summer of 1812, she was chartered by the federal government to take military supplies to Fort Dearborn, a small military and trading post at what is now Chicago. She was returning with furs and skins when she was lured into the harbor of Mackinac Island. The British confiscated the vessel, cargo, and crew, renaming her Little Belt. She was armed, taken into service, and fought with the Royal Navy until September of 1813, when she was recaptured by United States Commodore Oliver Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie. She then served in the United States Navy, transporting General William Henry Harrison’s troops across Lake Erie in the successful invasion of Southern Ontario. In early 1814, the British burned her during a raid on Buffalo.
Education and Tours the Michigan Maritime Museum offers a variety of educational options for school and education groups: Museum Campus Programs, Exhibit Tours, Dockside Programs and On-Water Programs aboard Friends Good Will, Lindy Lou, USCG 36460.
Connect for Travel to South Haven and Michigan