Most communities have pioneers who cut a clear path in history – they were the first settlers to the area, the developers, the industrialists, the noteworthy for one reason or another. Oceana County has its pioneer in the form of Charles Mears. In 1837, Charles, who was just 23 years old, came to the White Lake Area in search of lumbering the virgin timber lands found there. His first mill was located on a stream called Silver Creek. The mill area quickly became a full lumber settlement and Mears continued on to build many such settlements.
From that point on, Mears was into businesses of all sorts, but lumbering remained his chief interest. Eventually he owned thousands of acres stretching from White Lake to Big Point Sable north of Ludington. By the time he retired in 1883, Charles Mears has built 15 mills and five harbors, and had established the most widespread lumber business in this area. Prior to building the town of Mears, Charles started a mill operation near the outlet of Hunters Creek by Silver Lake. At this site he built a home near the mill, the White House. It was there in 1874 when he was 59 that he married Carrie Mears, who was 23.
2 blocks west of downtown Mears, MI (corner of Fox Rd & Mears St.)
The Oceana Historical & Genealogical Society is a cluster of historical properties and features the family home of Swift & Celia Lathers. Swift Lathers was the editor of the Mears Newz, the world’s smallest newspaper. The 1900 Boynton House, moved on- site in 1982, is one of the cabins from the original colony at Little Point Sable. This unique structure houses Little Sable Point Lighthouse memorabilia and related-artifacts. Also on site is the Robinson Museum which rotates exhibits of schools, vintage clothing, doctor and law office materials and much more. the William Lathers Transportation Building showcases exhibits of vintage autos, trucks, dune buggys, antique tractors, snowmobiles and a collection of signs relating to transportation in Oceana County. There are also antique machinery and tools on display. Click here for more detailed information.