When in Charlevoix, make a point of seeing the architectural collection of self-taught builder Earl Young. Starting in 1919, and continuing into the seventies, Young fashioned over two dozen creations using indigenous materials.
Over the course of his fifty year career, Young would build twenty-six houses and four commercial properties. His works are made mostly of stone, using limestone, fieldstone,and boulders that he found throughout Northern Michigan. Each of these houses is individually different and was designed to blend in with its surrounding landscape. Earl Young's houses feature his signature designs, along with wide, wavy eaves, exposed rafter tails; cedar-shake roofs;and a horizontal emphasis in design.These buildings are creatively known as Gnome Homes, Mushroom Houses, or Hobbit Houses.
Many of the homes are accessible within a reasonable walking distance from downtown; more can be seen by car. Downtown, Stafford's Weathervane Restaurant and Weathervane Terrace Inn & Suites on Pine River Lane, and the Lodge hotel on Michigan Avenue are also his creations.