ROADSIDE MICHIGAN: The Gnome Homes of Charlevoix
These unique Charlevoix houses are known to area residents as "Elf Cottages", "Fairy Houses", "Fairy Tale Houses", "Gnome Houses", "Hobbit Houses," and "Mushroom Houses" due to resembling dwellings straight outta "Lord Of The Rings."
These stone homes can be found on Park Avenue in Charlevoix and are made from all kinds of stone: boulders, fieldstone, limestone, quarry stone and red stone.
They were all designed by architect Earl Young, who began working on these residences in 1918 with the construction of his own house at 302 Park Avenue. From 1918 thru the 1950's, Young built around 30 different Gnome Homes up and down the avenue. He focused on the roofs first and then snugly fit accommodating, made-to-fit houses underneath.
According to a 1971 article in the the Ludington Daily News: "Sometimes the rooflines sweep so close to the ground that side windows are cut into them. The homes feature large fireplaces, generous use of stonework, and creative landscaping which helps the houses blend and snuggle into the hillsides."
Also, visitcharlevoix.com goes on to say "Many have undulating stone walls capped by a mushroom shaped cedar shake roof. Windows are framed with boulders. Chimneys have frosted stone caps. Doorways are lined with massive stones."
Among the 30 stone homes, along with Young's original "Hobbit" manor, is the 1946 Half House at 306 Park Avenue, 'Betide' at 308 Park Avenue, 'Abide' at 310 Park Avenue and the most-photographed house of all in Charlevoix, the 1951 Mushroom House, located at the corner of Clinton and Grant Streets.
Visitors and tourists from all over the world come here to see these unique houses.....you can tour these houses and I understand some of these are used for rentals.
It's another side destination to take on your Michigan roadtrip this summer!