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Belvedere Club (Charlevoix Summer Resort)
The present-day Belvedere Club is a summer resort of eighty-six summer houses in a fifty-acre parklike setting on two terraces overlooking Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix. It was established as the Charlevoix Summer Resort Association. Aware of the successful promotion of land at Bay View for use as a camp meeting ground by the Methodists, several Charlevoix businessmen sought similar land development for this area. In 1877 they offered twenty-five acres fronting on Round Lake to a Kalamazoo-centered Baptist group for $625, provided improvements were made within a specified time. The following spring a committee from Kalamazoo visited this site, along with other sites offered in northwestern Michigan, and accepted the offer.
The Charlevoix Summer Resort Association was formed, and its first meeting was held in Kalamazoo on June 21, 1878. By the end of that year, a pier, bathhouse, and six cottages on the upper terraces had been built. The association bought twenty-five additional acres in 1880. By 1900 the majority of the cottages were constructed. Most cottages originally lacked kitchens, and the resorters took their meals at a large frame hotel that once was located at the intersection of Belvedere and Ferry avenues. Most cottages are of wood-frame construction and range from simple vernacular to elaborate and commodious high-style buildings. All were built for summer use only. The frame boathouses that follow the curved shoreline are unique. While roadways through the Belvedere Club are private, a drive to the end of Belvedere Avenue and along Ferry Avenue presents a view of some of the houses.
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