Charles Mears was known as the “Christopher Columbus of the West Coast,” due to the fact he operated 15 mills and built five harbors along the western coast of Michigan. In order to aid his lumber business, Mears dug a wide channel for the Pentwater River going to Lake Michigan. In 1955, he built his saw mill, as well as a nearby store and boarding house for his laborers.
Originally called Middlesex, the area became known as Pentwater in 1867 when the village was created. Mears had built a long pier into Lake Michigan so that large boats could haul lumber from Pentwater to his Chicago yards. Charles Mears died in 1895, but his legacy lives on. In 1923, Mears’ daughter Carrie deeded 600 feet of beach to the state of Michigan. This land was the beginning of what would become the present Charles Mears State Park.