Outdoors: Pentwater Historic Homes Walking Tour

July 11, 2021

Queen Anne style home with wrap-around porch

Outdoors: Pentwater Historic Homes Walking Tour

By Joan Young, MCP Contributing Writer.

For years, the Village of Pentwater has had a brochure for a self-guided walking/bicycling (or driving) tour of 48 historic buildings. The booklet was updated in 2017, and now includes the relatively new Historical Society Museum, the former Baptist Church Building.

One of the Flagg homes, in Classic Greek Revival style

Pentwater is not a large village geographically, and with a bit of planning, the locations can all be walked to in half a day. One can strategically hit the downtown (bustling in summer) in the middle for lunch or an ice-cream break. Even if you are obsessed with following the numbers in order, the entire tour comes in at under four miles. Passing them in random order can shorten the total a bit.

The guide book contains a central map with numbered and colored squares giving the buildings’ locations. The numbers correspond with page numbers. Each building has an entire page with a large color photo and information about the house. Occasionally historic photos are included. Local people may find some of this more interesting than tourists, as the descriptions often go down bunny trails of information about relatives and business partners of the people who built or owned the house. But one does not have to read every word.

Two of the oldest buildings are the Flagg Homes located on Green Street. These are small Classic Greek Revival buildings, and can be seen in old postcards of the channel and ferry. They were possibly built before 1860.

One featured home is in the (American) Queen Anne style, a variation on Victorian which often included a wrap-around porch. Not surprisingly, there are a number of Victorian homes, and many Folk Victorian. Folk Victorian refers to a plain, practical house which has been dressed up with some fancy trim work.

Pentwater Cottage style is also prominent, although it’s not exactly clear what elements this incorporates. Gables, porches, and one or one-and-a-half stories seem to be the norm.

Federal style is common, often later modified with porches. Many of these older buildings date from the 1860s and 1870s.

There are additional homes and buildings built before 1900 in Pentwater that are not in the guide. You can watch for the oval plaques with the year of construction on many houses.

You can learn why so much of Pentwater’s downtown is constructed of yellow brick! What and where was the “White Elephant?” In what house was Pentwater’s most famous murder?

Pentwater is a village with a great sense of local pride, and these buildings are almost all in excellent condition. An extra perk of doing this tour in the summer is seeing the many beautiful flower gardens in town.

If you have time, the museum is a nicely-arranged display of local historical items. Admission is free. The walking tour guide booklet is available at both the museum (corner of First and Rutledge), and downtown at the Chamber of Commerce. The guide book costs $10.

Joan Young, who lives in Amber Township, is an avid hiker who has the honor of having been the first woman to hike the entire North Country Trail.

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This story is copyrighted © 2021, all rights reserved by Joan Young, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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