A Brief History of the La Croft Condominium Association
The La Croft Condominium Association began life as we know it as the Master Deed was recorded in 1974. Construction began on the six story, 64-unit building but unfortunately so did financial troubles. Before the project was completed, La Croft went into receivership. The building was finally completed in 1976 and units were offered for sale at a discounted sale price. They eventually all sold. Presently, several owners of La Croft units either are the original owners or their children and grandchildren now are the present owners.
We proudly celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2014 with several interesting events. Our Community Room had a display of old photos plus artifacts that were found in our sand dunes from Native Americans who inhabited our sand dunes as far back as 1500 B.C. The artifacts were discovered by Michigan State University during an anthropological dig that was conducted before the building began construction in 1974. Arrowheads and pieces of pottery were among the artifacts on display. We also viewed a 15 minute video, the footage of which showed the efforts to save our lawn and swimming pool in the 70’s. Both were nearly lost to the record high lake levels of Lake Michigan. It was at this time when the cement bags were placed on our beach in order to hold back the relentless surf. Finally, a presentation included two guest speakers: Mr. David Miles, Co-Director of the Charlevoix Historical Society and Dr. Charles Cleland, MSU Professor Emeritus, the man who led the anthropological dig on the grounds that are now La Croft.As a past association president once wrote: Please remember the ancient and modern men and women whose shoulders we stand on every time we view a beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan from our golden shore.
The history of La Croft Condominiums would be sorely incomplete without an understanding of the rich history of the property on which it sits. It was 1899 when the third “grand” hotel in the town of Charlevoix was built at the end of West Dixon Avenue, known as the “Beach Hotel”. The hotel initially only had 15 rooms sharing one bathroom. The daughter of a local hotelier, Martha Elston Baker, wife of the Beach Hotel builder, became the manager of the Beach Hotel. Martha Baker was so successful that five years after opening the hotel she doubled its capacity. And 11 years after that, a Chicago architect was hired to extend the Beach Hotel to the west and down seven stories to the water level. In 1915, the hotel had 216 rooms and 86 baths! The dining room seated 350-400. The hotel was now the tallest building in Charlevoix. Mrs. Baker died in 1922 and left everything to her daughter who squandered it all away losing it in 1939. Several subsequent owners kept the hotel going yet the Beach burned to the ground during demolition in an all-night fire on October 17, 1967. (Excerpted from Charlevoix Historic Photos of the Charlevoix Historical Society at www.chxhistory.com)