Contributed by Robert A. Campbell
Campbell Park on the north beach, about one mile north of the north pier, in the Village of Pentwater, attained the age of fifty years on July 15, 1957. It was July 15, 1907 when Miss Carrie S. Mears sold the 28 acres to a group of ten men and one woman. The orginial group consisted of Edward S. Ames, George A. Campbell, Carl Bushnell, Arno L. Roach, Miss Mary Coleman, her brother, Christopher Coleman, George B. Fawley, Chas. R. Wakeley, Errett Gates, Herbert L. Willett, and C. C. Morrison. Dr. Hugh T. Morrison married Miss Coleman in 1908 and became an early member of the group. Dr. Morrison continues to use his cottage each season.
The founders were ministers or members of the Disciples of Christ (Christian churches) church. Campbell Park was named for Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Disciples of Christ church.
Two of the original eight cottages are still owned and used each season by the families of Herbert L. Willett and George A. Campbell. Dr. Van Meter Ames, son of Edward S. Ames, now owns the cottage built by Errett Gates and subsequently owned by Mrs. Lora H. Robie. In 1913 Chas R. Wakely sold his cottage to Prof. Harry McCormack, whose son, John, in 1954 sold it to the Rev. and Mrs. Herry B. Kuizenga. Dr. Kuizenga is pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. Stuebing bought the Coleman cottage in 1943. Mrs. Stuebing continues to occupy her cottage each summer.
Only recently did two of the ______ owners sell their cottages. In 1955 Mr. and Mrs. Geo. B. Fawley sold to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Clark of Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Clark is president of the Merchants Property Insurance Co. In 1956 Edward S. Ames sold to the Rev. and Mrs. Harold Paul Slaon, Jr., of Pleasant Ridge, Michigan. Dr. Sloan is pastor of the Drayton avenue Presbyterian church of Ferndale, Michigan.
In 1923 Mr. and Mrs. H. Pearce Atkins of Cincinnati, Ohio, built a cottage in the Park which is now owned and used their three chilren and families. In 1944 the Carl Bushnell cottage was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. Athur W. Neilson of St. Louis, Mo.
The board walk, which extends the full length of the Park, on the drive along the beach, was built in 1910 and has been kept up ever since. It has been enjoyed and used by not only the residents of the Park but by vacationers north of the Park and many others. During the early years Mr. E. W. Sawyer was the custodian. In the thirties and early forties Max Cory acted as custodian. For several years and currenty, August Christensen has continued as the custodian.
The year 1907, when the Park was started, marked the 37th year for the Pentwater News and 50th year for the Pentwater Methodist church. The church had its Centennial and Homecoming service Sunday, August 4, 1957. Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States. Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as the 46th state. The "Lusitania" sailed on her maiden voyage from England for New York City. Work was started on the Panama Canal. Balloon, "All America" broke a record by staying in the air four hours with seven persons aboard. One got across the channel to the channel [sic] to the railroad depot on the ferry. Passengers helped pull it across on a cable. The streets and highways were not paved. Kerosene stoves, lamps, and candles were the means of heat and light. Electricity was brought into the Park in about 1914. Lumber, trunks, baggage, and groceries were delivered by team and wagon along the beach -- by Mr. Webb.
In 1907 there were many horses and inboard launches. There were no autos in the Park. The Cramers had a boat livery. Sand and Maxwells was the super market of the day. Indians lived in "Frenchtown" across Pentwater Lake. The canning factory made much activity with its employment and wagons coming and going with peas, peaches, and corn. During the fifty years the U. S. Coast Guard station has been very active and rectivated. The water level of Lake Michigan has changed markedly several times. There was much lake trout but now there is little and we have the lamprey. The storm of Nov. 11, 1940, and the seiche that hit the beach June 30, 1956, are mile posts of the past. These and other facts, comments, pictures, and maps give an account of the life in and about Pentwater and Campbell Park for the past 50 years and are presented in a 24-page booklet prepared by Robert A. Campbell of Barrington, Illinois.