Take a course in ‘Pentwater History 101.’

June 17, 2021

This photo of a boat on Pentwater Lake is displayed on a historical sign board located on the north side of the channel into Pentwater Harbor.

Take a course in ‘Pentwater History 101.’

PENTWATER — Did you know that Pentwater had a horse racetrack for 30 years? Or that a block-long, brick structure sat empty on Hancock Street for almost 30 years? Or Native Americans settled nearby in the early 1600s? Or that small airplanes (well, two anyway) were manufactured in the village?

These and other topics are just part of the 45-minute “Pentwater History 101” program being offered at Channel Lane Park each Monday, Thursday and Saturday in June beginning at 10:30 a.m. They are conducted by a volunteer docent from the Pentwater Historical Society (PHS) Museum. There is no cost to attend, but donations to the museum are appreciated, because the admission-free museum relies on voluntary donations and annual memberships to the PHS to keep it open.

“We had terrific interest in the Pentwater History Cruise in 2019 and 2020,” said Ron Beeber, one of the PHS volunteer docents who offered commentary. “But we heard from some who are uncomfortable on water, and who asked for a similar outside history lesson on dry land. So we’ve scheduled 12 dates in June to see how it goes. The schedule in July and August will depend on the interest shown.”

Beeber noted that Mondays and Thursdays are chosen as the two weekday offerings in June (plus Saturdays) because the Pentwater Farmers Market is open on Mondays and Thursdays, and it’s hoped folks will catch one of the “101” programs before or after their shopping trips to the market and downtown Pentwater merchants.

“During each ‘101’ session, we describe what once stood or took place at various sites in Pentwater,” he noted. “We encourage the audience to visit the museum and see photos and artifacts related to the topics we discuss.” Learning Pentwater history in this order improves the museum experience, which is further enhanced by a “Guide by Cell” feature. During their self-guided tours of the museum, visitors can use their cell phones to listen to brief comments about any of 54 numbered items on display. The museum, at 85 South Rutledge Street, is open June through August Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. There are reduced fall hours.

“And this year, we are offering boat owners a special history outing,” added Beeber. “The PHS will provide a volunteer docent to join them, and their families and friends, on their boat. The boat owner provides the skipper. We’ll provide everyone with the popular, one-hour history cruise commentary as the boat does a slow lap around part of Pentwater Lake, the channel, and briefly into Lake Michigan. It’s a fun outing.” Again, there is no charge nor tipping, but donations to the history museum are most welcome. Interested boat owners should send inquiries to [email protected] Be sure to indicate the dates and times you have in mind.

For more information about the PHS and museum, see the pentwaterhistoricalsociety.org website, or the PHS’s Facebook page.

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