Friday, January 26, 2018

Visiting the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix

 In the midst of winter here in VA I thought it might be cheering to go back and continue the  photo essay of our summer vacation in upper Michigan.
This post will show you the delightful outing to the so-called mushroom houses in Charlevoix, MI. From 1918 to 1973 stone artist Earl A. Young built, with great love, care and artistry, a number of buildings, mostly private homes, using the rocks and boulders so easily found in this area at that time. The rocks are leftovers from the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. Mr Young was so passionate about this endeavor that he hand selected most each and every stone and boulder he used.

Here we start our tour on Park Avenue, one of the three main areas for the mushroom houses.
 Now known as "The Thatch House" this home was Earl Young's first stone house and he built it for himself and his wife soon after they were married. In 2015 it underwent a major renovation  which included the thatch roof that dramatically changed the appearance of the original construction.
 Right next door is "The Half House" built by Earl as a honeymoon gift for his daughter. According to the tour guide he had a falling out with the owner of the house to the immediate left (corner wall in front left) so deliberately designed the half house with no windows facing that side. You can see here how close to each other they all are.
 Going round to the street behind Park Avenue we caught a glimpse of the rear elevation of The Thatch House.
 This is the corner view of the house immediately to the left of the Half House. You can see that the builder worked on features in the landscape as well as the house itself. The car passing by was pure serendipity.
 Not everything in Charlevoix is the legacy of Earl Young but there are clearly many house-proud owners who delight in summer flower gardening. It seems this home might be owned by a Virginian based on the flag out front. In this area of Michigan flags and flowers are common ingredients it seemed to me.
This was the childhood home of Earl Young and where he first started trying out his architectural visions. Click on the photo so you can admire the siding style. Isn't that unique?
Boulder Park is the second of the major locations. This home has a commanding site along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It makes extensive use of the stone for fences as you can see.
 It must give the lawn mowing person a real sense of joy and achievement caring for such a wonderful lawn.
 Further into Boulder Park we find delightful cottages like this one.
 Even the mailboxes are custom creations!
To close I give you another shot of The Thatch House. The weather was not so obliging the day we were there but judging by the reflection in the windows the sky was more appealing behind us out over the lake.

This was a fascinating day tour with fairy tale overtones and I was so happy we got to go.