House Crush: The Castle of Lake Orion, MI

by Leona Jaeger

Perched along the waterfront of Bellevue Island in Lake Orion you’ll see an array of lovely and cozy-looking homes. One, however, is sure to stand out. Not just because of it’s sweet raspberry-mauve color (although that helps), but because it will probably be the most eclectic Folk Victorian you’ve ever seen. Read all about why I love it, then check out the listing on CIRCA!

Up until the late 1890s Bellevue Island (previously named Spencer’s Island) was originally the site of an expansive peach orchard. The surrounding areas had been settled by pioneers since the 1820s, but growth was slow in the area. After the Erie Canal opened, however, an steady influx of pioneers from the eastern states (especially Pennsylvania) brought more businesses and workers. The Assembly Resort Association purchased Bellevue island from the Orion Improvement Company and within a couple short years a bridge to the island had been built, docks added, and a hundred cottages constructed. It was from this point that Lake Orion became known as a resort area with people traveling from all over southeastern Michigan in search of entertainment, relaxation, and the joys of lake life.
I love the façade of “The Castle” cottage! It’s almost two personalities in one: the waterfront side the house is reminiscent of a shingled cottage with a 5-story companion lighthouse somewhere along the northern Atlantic coast; the street-side approach, however, is the same charming cottage, but with a cobblestone driveway and a tower that resembles a Dutch windmill without the sails. And the interior? Well, it has enough personality for both façades!
A lot of updates have been done to this home yet it has kept it’s unique charm! A lovely large foyer area with large oak staircase welcomes you to a generous living room, dining and kitchen area. Plenty of storage and bookcases here will keep you busy whenever it’s time to relax after a “rough” day on soothing waters of Lake Orion. I have to say that I am quite torn in two as to what my favorite feature of this beautiful home is! How can I—or anyone—decide between the river rock utility room (which has it’s own door to the outdoors) or the fantastic ladder that leads up into the top of the lighthouse tower! each space has it’s own unique charm. I’m having visions of the lower level utility room being converted to a fantastic artist’s studio or a garden room; and the little room in the “windmill” tower is perfect for a child’s special play space, reading corner, or “secret hideout.” (The password is “AD.OR.ABLE”!)
Be sure to check out this link to the realtor’s website. There are plenty more photos with great virtual tour options that give you a great sense and feel of this sweet dream cottage!
From the sturdy practicality of a colonial saltbox, to the lavish details of a High Victorian, Leona believes that each old home holds a beauty, solid craftsmanship, and history that is a mystery and wonder to be explored and appreciated. Leona’s dream is to find a huge farmhouse with high ceilings, wide-planked floors (complete with hidden artifacts under a loose plank), a wraparound porch, and enough acreage to house a horse or two, some dogs, cats, goats, and a ring-tailed lemur. In her spare time she can be found with her face pressed and distorted against the car window, ogling the fantastic old homes in the surrounding areas of Pasadena, California where she lives with her loving husband (who patiently peels her face off the windows and tells her to breathe) and her vivacious 9-year-old daughter.

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