Entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph (Jos?) de Rivera was born in Barcelona, Spain, and built an import business in New York City. In 1854, he bought six Lake Erie Islands and had South Bass Island surveyed and subdivided into ten-acre lots. De Rivera traveled between New York and South Bass Island, initially turning Put-in-Bay into a sheep farm. He encouraged settlement on the island and its wine industry by helping German immigrants purchase land to plant vineyards. He donated five acres for this waterfront park, the site for the first school, and the land for the first church. To promote travel to the island, de Rivera opened the island's largest cave as a tourist attraction. He is buried in the island's cemetery, which is on land he donated for that purpose.