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Situated on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, in the central-west Lower Peninsula, the village of Pentwater is on Pentwater Lake, on both sides of the channel connecting the two lakes.

Pentwater is in west Pentwater Township, in northwest Oceana County.

The main route through the village is Business-31 (North Hancock Street, 6th Street), which runs through north Pentwater. There is no bridge over the channel, connecting the upper part of the village with the lower. There is a bridge over the lower part of Pentwater Lake, so someone traveling from one part of the village to the other would follow Bus-31 (West Monroe Road) to the bridge, which becomes Longbridge Road, following the southern part of the lake to French Town, a neighborhood of Pentwater. US-31 runs largely north-south, east of the village limits, and B-15 is a county road running south from Pentwater, largely along Lake Michigan.

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Pentwater include Hart, Ludington, Shelby, Scottville, New Era, Walkerville, Rothbury, and Custer.

Founded as a lumber town and port, today Pentwater's economy includes summer tourism, hosting traditional hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other guest accommodations, as well as shopping venues, art galleries, and other commercial businesses. In the summer, local bands have concerts at the outdoor bandshell at the village green, and its annual homecoming festivities include a parade, fireworks, and contests.

Edwin R. Cobb and Andrew Rector acquired land here from the government in 1849 and built a boarding house and a lumber mill in 1853. In 1855, Charles Mears dredged the channel connecting Pentwater Lake to Lake Michigan, and built a sawmill on the north bank of Pentwater Lake. He also opened a store and boarding house nearby, naming his part of the village Middlesex, which included the area east to Hancock Street.

A post office was established as Pent Water on March 17, 1855, with Mr. Cobb as the first postmaster. In 1858, Mr. Mears established a ferry service across the channel, and built a 660-foot pier out into Lake Michigan from the north bank of the channel, allowing larger ships to haul lumber to his lumber yards in Chicago and drop off cargo for the village.

The ferry was a wooden scow that ran on a wire cable stretched across the channel. People could cross the channel to catch the train or visit people in French Town. The cost was five cents per person, ten cents for a man with a horse, twenty-five centers for a team and wagon, and two cents each for cattle, sheep, and pigs. It operated from 1858 to 1926.

The village was platted in 1862, and incorporated as the village of Pent Water in 1867, at which time Middlesex was absorbed into the village. In 1894, the spelling of the village was changed to Pentwater.

In 1868, the U.S. government began a project to widen and deepen the channel built by Charles Mear, and a lighthouse was built on the south pier, with a catwalk leading to it so that the keeper could tend the oil lamp. In 1887, a lifesaving station was built on the north pier, which participated in several rescues. Operations were taken over by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915. However, in 1968, the station and lighthouse were closed, leaving only a flag tower, on which flags and lights warned vessels of dangerous weather. The former station site is now a park, and the piers are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the small village of Pentwater, Michigan. Online resources for the municipal government, any other governmental bodies within the village, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities are appropriate here.


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