Pentwater’s livelihood has a varied history starting with the earliest days as a lumbering community. When the timber ran out, furniture factories, brick factories, and commercial fishing sprang up. In 1867 the Village of Pentwater was founded and quickly became the hub of the community, located on the easterly shores of Pentwater Lake. The early part of the 20th century saw Pentwater becoming a vacation/resort community, which is how it is today.
Lumber baron, Charles Mears, built the channel to Lake Michigan and placed his sawmill on its north bank in 1855. A store and boarding house were built next nearby. Mears called this site Middlesex and included all of the land east to Hancock street. Middlesex was absorbed into Pentwater when the village was formed in 1867. In 1858 Mears established a ferry service across the channel. He also built a 660 foot long pier out into Lake Michigan from the north bank of the channel so that the largest boats on the lake could haul lumber to his yards in Chicago and drop off cargo for the village. In 1920, Mears' daughter, Carrie, deeded 600 feet of beach north of the channel to the state of Michigan as the beginning of the present Charles Mears State Park.