Around 1600, the PekelderCompagnie founded a peat colony along the Pekel A. The peat was transported to Groningen by ship and these ships returned with city sludge, with which the peat soil, the soil that remained after digging off the peat, was enriched to enhance its fertility. In this way, 5,000 hectares of agricultural land was formed in the course of two centuries. In addition to the agricultural industry, a ship building industry also formed.In 1683 Oude Pekela got its first church. Because the village was developing in a ribbon shape in a southerly direction, a second church was built in the Verlaatjeswijk. This was the start of NieuwePekela.The Korenmolen De Onrust of 1850 is the last remaining mill left of a total of other windmills.Volunteers keep this protected monument turning.In 1889, Government Architect Smit produced the Postal and Telegraph Office with director's residence, situated at the Pekelerdiep. The water tower of architect H.F. Mertens was built in 1938 because water pressure was often insufficient.In the 19th and 20th centuries Pekela was the centre of a thriving strawboard industry. Now 'OlPekel' has a hemp-processing industry, so a lot of hemp is grown in the lands surrounding it. Stone Factory Strating is the last working stone factory north of Arnhem.North of the village is a marina with a view tower, an art work by Ger de Wilde.In the direction of Meeden is the nature reserve Laagemeeden, with the Emergo Forest (71 hectares) and a pool of water for recreational use.