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Boulder Manor

Boulder Manor



Boulder Manor sits on the southern shores of Lake Michigan in Charlevoix.  It’s easily found by following the street leading to the cement factory, an eye sore never missed when looking over beautiful Lake Michigan.

Ahead of the grey and depressing monstrosity, there sits one of the loveliest communities in town named……”Boulder Park.”


Boulder Park was originally designed to be called Boulder Park Village. Earl Young anticipated and envisioned an entire stone house village/resort would be built and enjoyed.  Unfortunately, his dream never came to fruition due to the Great Depression, financial difficulties and an assortment of other problems along the way.

“Boulder Manor” was Earl Young’s true pride and joy and labor of love.  With the design in his head for years, he knew this would be no easy feat.  He had a few houses under his belt and youth on his side so ambition took hold and off he went.

The most difficult part of this house were the massive boulders it was going to take to hold it up.  Earl spent countless days and weeks hauling these out of the surrounding fields and waters.   The most common question I get asked is “how did he do it?”


Portrait of Earl Young, Architect who designed the Mushroom Houses

In the 1920’s, things were different.  Although big machinery and cranes existed…Earl opted for the more old fashioned ways of doing things.  This started with his beloved team of work horses.  They would basically find the boulder, chain it up to the team, and out it came…..sounds much easier than it probably was!

He bought the property in the early 20’s and started piling up the boulders….it wasn’t until 1928 that he was actually able to start on building.  Production and construction began with fervor and Earl Young was working with a mission until disaster struck.

The Great Depression hit with vengeance.  It was not only the single worst recession the country had ever endured…but it hit Young especially hard and he lost his beloved Boulder Manor to the bank after being unable to make the payments.

So there sat a half built, stone house and no one was standing in line to buy it.  Although it was in a beautiful location, it was in fact a half built and no architect, designer or construction junkie was ready to take on.  So there is sat….and sat….and sat.  Meanwhile, Earl was working on additional smaller houses and custom orders in the area and saving up his money.  Hallelujah….he was finally able to buy it back!



Construction started up again and the house was complete in 1940.  Along the way…Earl built a children’s playhouse complete with electricity and working fireplace in the back of the house.  Since construction of the main house took so long, he needed a place for his 4 kids to hang out without bugging the workers.



Needless to say, his kids became uber popular because who wouldn’t want the chance to hang out in that? (see picture to the left).  Its often said if it had a bathroom… could be sold as a separate house altogether its so cool!!




Boulder Manor has a presence unlike any of the other Mushroom Houses.

The fact Earl Young was able to build a house out of 6-10 ton boulders using only workhorses and a pulley system makes your jaw drop upon seeing it.  I often think is has a glow around the entire property as if Earl young himself is still looking over it to this day.

Take a tour if you want to hear more and as always….thank you for you support!!

Mushroom House Tours are perfect for friends!