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Earl Young Tidbits

If you've been to Charlevoix, you are probably familiar with Earl Young and his iconic mushroom houses. We recently learned more about this prolific designer from the extensive research by Charlevoix Historical Society curator David Miles captured in his book: Boulders: The Life and Creations of Earl A. Young in Charlevoix, Michigan. It was also recognized as a Library of Michigan 2020 Michigan Notable book. You can find this book and additional information about Earl Young at the Historical Society Museum at the Harsha House. Here are some interesting Earl Young tidbits you may not have known (in no particular order):

  • Earl Young’s middle name was Andrew, and he was only 5'3" tall!
  • Earl was an amateur photographer. In his early twenties, he went on a trip to capture images of the construction of the Panama Canal.
  • He wasn’t a registered architect (you probably knew that one).
  • Earl Young’s wife, Irene, was an art teacher and a talented artist. She was also a silent partner in his design projects. She would secretly draw Earl’s creations as he verbally imagined them, and would slip the design to the builders. Earl Young didn’t use formal blueprints.
  • He had four children. His youngest daughter, Virginia, went on to build a few houses in Charlevoix including Applecore Cottage.
  • At one point, he had a real estate office in downtown Charlevoix.
  • The first neighborhood he designed was Boulder Park and his second was Park Ave.
  • If you look closely at the Owl House, none of the stones touch.
  • The Sucher House was his largest residential property followed by the Mushroom House
  • The Weathervane Restaurant almost went for a dip in the channel in 1971 after the embankment started to give. Additionally, the roof looks like a seagull in flight and the 
  • main rock for the fireplace weighs 9 tons. Earl had an office in the basement which you can still view today.
  • The Lodge Hotel (now Hotel Earl) had the first indoor pool in Charlevoix.
  • According to Earl, the Weathervane Hotel’s fireplace is a symbolic representation of Charlevoix’s Round Lake, piers, and outlying islands.
  • The Houses in Boulder Park don’t have basements and were intended to be vacation homes since they were drafty in the winter.
  • Toward the end of his life, Earl Young was legally blind. He would have contractors describe the work that they completed on his designs, he would then run his hands over the stones to see if they matched his intended designs.
  • Finally, Earl’s last work was the placement of a boulder designating the Boulder Park neighborhood.

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