A Brief History of Oceana County

First Settlements

The first settlement in Oceana was located at the mouth of Whiskey Creek on Lake Michigan sometime in 1848 or 1849. By 1855 a settlement had also begun at the mouth of Stony Creek and another at the mouth of the Pentwater River.

Establishing a Local Government

As early as 1831 the territorial legislature set up Oceana County which included all of present day Oceana County, as well as portions of Newaygo, Muskegon, Montcalm and Kent Counties. In 1840 the State Legislature reduced Oceana to northern Muskegon County and present day Oceana County. In 1855 Oceana County was re-established within its present boundaries. An election was held in April 1855 and a local government was established with three townships participating; Pentwater, Benona and Claybanks.

The first session of the three-man Board of Supervisors was held in June 1855 at Stony Creek.

Continued Growth

The county continued to grow rapidly and by 1869 it had evolved to its present day configuration. Hart was selected in 1864 as the county seat by a majority vote. L. B. Corbin offered a square of land in Hart for the courthouse site and provided a building for temporary use to the county officers.

The first county courthouse was built in 1874 and in August 1874, the supervisors met for the first time in the new building.

Since that time, Oceana has changed from a lumbering and small farming community into a land of vast orchards, large fertile farms and wealthy resort areas.

The old courthouse of 1874 remained in use until 1958 when the present structure was built and occupied.

Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society

For more information about Oceana’s history, please visit the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society website. They are open on Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 114 Dryden St in Hart. You may also call them at (231) 873-2600.