Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

I have started a collection of “Vintage Travel Destinations/Locations” that I would like to visit at some point in my life, over on Pinterest. This collection is slowly growing but one of those places is the ‘Grand Hotel’ on Mackinac Island, Michigan (US), seen above. It’s right out of something from the Great Gatsby and has a history that goes back to 1887.

For today’s post I’m just going to share some of the history with you, stunning images and a cool tidbit about a certain famous female swimmer from the 1940s.

Vintage Mid-Century Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Brochure
Source: Pinterest

Brief Overview of the History of the Hotel: The Grand Hotel has a marvelous page filled with a much more detailed history on the Hotel (then what I will supply you) which you can read HERE.

July 10th, 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. It took only 93 days to complete and rates are $3 to $5 a night.

1890’s: Grand Hotel’s Front Porch – longest in the world (880 feet in length)—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.

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 (there are still no automobiles allowed to this day on the Island).

1919: Hotel rates are $6 per person.

1935: A radio salon where patrons can listen to Jack Benny and other popular programs is added.

1957: Michigan Historical Association selects Grand Hotel as a State Historical Building.

1980: Somewhere In Time, filmed at Grand Hotel and starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, is released (there are events at the hotel celebrating this very popular romantic movie. The next one is in October).

1989: The U.S. Department of Interior designates Grand Hotel a National Historic Landmark.

There are also 5 suites in the hotel named in honour of former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.

Five U.S. Presidents — Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman — have visited Grand Hotel.

Images of the Grand Hotel:

Grand Hotel and Golf Course, Mackinac Island, circa 1915.
Source: New York Social Diary

 

Grand Hotel Menu 1890 Mackinac Island
Source: Wikipedia

Postcard showcasing the famous porch from Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Vintage Postcard
Source: Pinterest
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Interior of the Grand Hotel (it’s Fancy!):

The Dining Room

The dining room at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Source: Joeybls Photography

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor

Sadies Ice Cream Parlor Grand hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Grand Hotel

Woods Restaurant

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

The Lobby

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Historic Hotels

Entrance to the grand ballroom…oh my…..

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
Source: Joe Braun Photography

Some of the Hotel Rooms & Suites:

Grand Hotel Mackinac Islands Rooms
Source: Historic Hotels

Since the only vehicles allowed on the Island are emergency vehicles and in winter snowmobiles, the only way to reach the dock from the hotel is via horse-drawn Carriage.

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island carriage
Source: Wikipedia

Now which famous swimmer from the 1940s & 50s has a tie to the hotel? That is…

Esther Williams in This Time For Keeps’, 1947:

On site there is a pool called the Esther Williams Swimming Pool (5000 gallons) . It was named this because she filmed the movie ‘This Time for Keeps’ with Jimmy Durante at this hotel.

Full image of the scale of this massive pool.

Esther Williams Swimming Pool Grand Hotel
Source: Style blue print

Visiting:

The hotel is only open between May & October, so if you would like to book just head to their website and begin the fun. And please take loads of photos!

Dear friends, would you visit the Grand Hotel? Or maybe you have? If so please tell me all about it.

Liz 🙂

P.S. Stay tuned for more “Vintage To-Do List” as this is a new series I’m starting.

15 comments on “Vintage Travel To Do List: Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island”

  1. It’s gorgeous and so stately. Like a hotel version of The Titanic.Now you have mad me sad about Christopher Reeve. 🙁

  2. I want to go, too. Sign me up. Might be a good locations for my next vintage novel! AND they have a Scottie Dog logo for the ice cream shop! I’m soooo meant to go there!

  3. I commented yesterday how much I loved this, but the comments keep disappearing. ?? Just want you to know how much I enjoy the pics.

    • Hi There! Thanks for commenting again 🙂 The issue was that I had not approved the comment yet. Now approved and all comments are now visible. So glad you enjoyed the post and sorry about the Christopher Reeve reminder (I got sad too).

      have a super weekend!

      Liz

  4. You pretty much have to go there for the scotty dog ice cream parlour, don’t you? 😛

    It looks like a really fabulous place, and I hope you do find your way there!

  5. It has been my dream to visit this hotel. So funny you post this because we were just talking yesterday about how much we would love to go there. It is so hard to get to though for us in Canada 🙁 Almost an 8 hour drive from Hamilton

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