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Earl Young's Mushroom Houses

Iconic Architecture and Whimsical Designs

It's common to refer to the custom homes of master builder Earl Young as mushroom houses. As a designer, Young was enigmatic because he didn't use blueprints. As an artist, he created homes that fit the site, rather than forcing the landscape to accommodate the design. The iconic structures' cute names do not diminish their lasting impact and Charlevoix is proud of its architectural treasures. 

Over the course of his fifty-year career, Young would build twenty-six residential 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. Click here for a self-guided tour map. *Please be aware that these houses are privately owned and are not open for inside tours. Please be respectful of private property.*

The following list of homes is some of Earl Young's most photographed and impressive 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 Hotel Earl (formerly the Lodge hotel) on Michigan Avenue are also his creations.

A self-guided tour map is available from the Visitors Center at 109 Mason St. Click here for a self-guided tour map. More information and history are available at the Harsha House Museum.

*Please be aware that these houses are privately owned and are not open for inside tours. Please be respectful of private property.*

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