Mackinac Bridge from the Grand Porch, photo by Marilyn Bogle
Happy 131st Birthday to The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island which opened on July 10, 1887. Here’s some historical highlights about Michigan’s most iconic hotel:
1887 Grand Hotel opens, billed as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrive by lake steamer from Chicago, Erie, Montreal, Detroit, and by rail from across the continent. Rates are $3 to $5 a night.
1890s Grand Hotel’s Front Porch – longest in the world—becomes the principal meeting place for all of Mackinac Island, as well as a promenade for the elderly and a “Flirtation Walk” for island romantics. Grand Hotel Manager James “The Comet” Hayes invites an agent of Edison Phonograph to conduct regular demonstrations of the new invention.
1895 Mark Twain lectures in the Grand Hotel Casino. Admission: $1.
1897 The West Wing is added to the hotel.
Turn of the century – The automobile finds its way onto the island. Grand Hotel supports an island-wide ban. A law is passed, but not strictly enforced until the 1930s.
1919 Hotel rates: $6 a day per person.
1935 A radio salon where patrons can listen to Jack Benny and other popular programs is added.
1947 This Time For Keeps starring Jimmy Durante and Esther Williams is filmed on the island and at Grand Hotel.
1960 Grand Hotel owner W. Stewart Woodfill appoints R.D. (Dan) Musser president of Grand Hotel.
1976 Musser and wife Amelia begin the redesign of the hotel’s interior and exterior with the help of architect Richard Bos and decorator Carleton Varney.
1979 The Mussers purchase Grand Hotel.
1980 Somewhere In Time, filmed at Grand Hotel and starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, is released.
1989 The U.S. Department of Interior designates Grand Hotel a National Historic Landmark.
View Marilyn’s photo background bigilicious and see more in her Mackinac album.
More Grand Hotel and more Mackinac Island on Michigan in Pictures!