One hundred and fifty years ago, on August 31, 1872 Charlevoix Sentinel published this little column filler: Longer Among Us; he has exonerated him from the syllogisms of this world’s discrimination, and when he goes to the cold and dry stream of the Jordan, the Kerosenes and the periphenes will meet him there to row him on dry land to the sylvan city. the seraphim and cherubim of the Heavenly City?
Last week, Regard sur le passé returned to the first two condominium projects in Charlevoix. The first, The Wharf just off Bridge Street on Belvedere Avenue, was ready for occupancy while the second, further down the road, Le Havre, was under construction. Neither would reach the sizes originally desired and planned. The planned second stage of the quay, a structure containing more units than the first stage, plus the addition of a huge 63-car car park at the bottom of East Antrim Street by Ward Bros. Marine Services, has been blocked to the city council for a few weeks of debate. The final result ? Courrier de Charlevoix, August 20, 1972: “Council Stalls on Condo. Building permit denied 3 to 2. The main opposition to the permit came from Alderman Sam Supernaw who claims the wharf will have a population density of 49 units per acre, higher than any other planned condominium in the city.
The usual arguments and barbs were provided by lawyers and developers, but the refusal determined the fate of the project.
And that, apparently, was it. The Wharf, stage two, like Le Havre, stage two, never came to fruition, for known and unknown reasons.
The accompanying photo is a recent gift to the Historical Society and a much better quality image than it has long had in postcard form. The view shows what the southwest shore of Round Lake looked like 60 years ago and how pedestrians on the cement walkway along the shore of East Park did so without any protective barriers between them and the water. It was not uncommon for summer sailors who frequented bars to return to their boats in the dark, miscalculate and end up in the drink. Luckily, no one was ever reported as having drowned, only suffered major embarrassment if someone saw them unintentionally diving.
On the far right is the Charlevoix Marine Supply building which provided a number of goods and services to recreational and commercial mariners. Center left is the long, double-roofed building that housed Jim Bellinger’s Marine Department, built in the early 1920s to house Booth Fisheries, owned by the Chicago-based company of the same name, one of the largest suppliers of fish on the Great Lakes before the fishery collapsed shortly after the structure was completed. Booth didn’t stay here much longer after that. Bellinger’s was demolished in the mid-1990s, to be replaced by John Winn’s huge residence/boathouse today.
Initially, this riparian strip was an automobile drive-in, for a period effectively paved. Boaters could motor down East Antrim Street, turn left, park at their boat launch, board for a cruise or sail, return to the dock and car, go to Mason Street which ran straight down towards the water, turn left and drive up the engine to Bridge St.