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Earl Young's Boulder Park

In 1923, Mary Bartholomew approached Earl Young to create a resort neighborhood to be named Bartholomew’s Boulder Park along the shore of Lake Michigan. Young created 85 irregularly shaped lots situated along curved roadways because he detested uniformed parcels of land connected by linear streets. During the following year, the Bartholomew family decided to sell the land to Young, who then changed the name of the neighborhood to Boulder Park.

The neighborhood would be unlike any other in Charlevoix. This neighborhood association would require the first story of every home to be constructed with only of stone, brick, or stucco. According to Earl Young, frame cottages that met “Boulder Park standards,” would be permitted if approved by at least three other property owners. The price for a spacious lot in the Boulder Park neighborhood started at $100.00. Young advertised that the first property owners, to have their deed recorded, would have their names placed in a lottery to win a new Ford Coupe.

In October 1925, construction began on the first stone cottage which was likely Young’s Green Mortar House. The Charlevoix Courier described the home as “somewhat of a novelty in the line of summer homes,” and that its design was a “credit to the artistic conception of the designer.” By October 1926, three stone cottages had been completed, two were under construction, and excavation had begun on two more homes. While other architects created homes in the Boulder Park subdivision, these designers respected Earl Young’s vision and designed their houses accordingly with similar materials.

In addition to his stone homes in Boulder Park, Young had a large lagoon built on the Lake Michigan shoreline. A 300-foot breakwater was constructed from huge boulders. The lagoon was approximately 4 feet deep and had an inlet/outlet to Lake Michigan for small boats. The sand was brought in to cover the gravel bottom to create a pleasant swimming beach.  On November 2, 1927, Charlevoix Courier, there was a 180-foot reflection pool under construction by the first entrance gate on Lake Shore Drive. The pool was to be surrounded by boulders, flower beds, and shrubbery, and the center of the pool was to have a small island with a fountain, whose water would be piped in from the flowing springs under the neighborhood. For unknown reasons, the reflecting pool was never completed. Young would continue to build homes in the neighborhood during the Great Depression and into the mid-1930s. The Pagoda House, completed in 1935, was Young’s final creation in Boulder Park. Nearly 40 years later, Young marked the entrance to the neighborhood on Lakeshore Drive with a forty-ton boulder.

Learn more about Earl Young's mushroom houses. Take a self-guided tour of the mushroom houses


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