The city is situated
between Lake Michigan and the western end of Lake Charlevoix, which
drains into Lake Michigan through the short Round Lake/Pine River
complex in the heart of downtown Charlevoix.
The Charlevoix South
Pier Light Station marks the opening of the channel onto Lake Michigan.
Charlevoix's Round Lake has been called the best natural harbor
on Lake Michigan.
The only way to get from
Lake Michigan to East Jordan, Boyne City and other sites on Lake
Charlevoix by boat is via Charlevoix. As a result, much commercial,
industrial, and recreational boat traffic passes through Charlevoix.
Charlevoix is named after
Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, a French explorer who
travelled the Great Lakes and was said to have stayed the night
on Fisherman's Island one night during a harsh storm. It was during
this time that Native Americans were thought to have lived in the
Pine River valley.
Soon after its formation
in the 1850s, Charlevoix entered into a short lived conflict with
Jesse Strang, leader and namesake of the Strangite Mormons, and
then king of Beaver Island. Relations between Charlevoix residents
and the Strangites were often tense. In 1853, a gunfight broke out
between the two groups as the townspeople refused to hand over a
man who was called for jury duty on the island, an event known locally
as The Battle of Pine River. When Strang was assassinated on June
20, 1856, many believed residents from Charlevoix to be responsible.