Grand Hotel, photo submitted 1989
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Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel Avenue, Mackinac Island - Mackinac County
Property Type hotel
Historic Use DOMESTIC/hotel
Current Use DOMESTIC/hotel
Style Classical Revival
Architect/Builder Mason and Rice
Narrative Description The following description was taken from the book Buildings of Michigan, by Kathryn B. Eckert, pp. 550-551: The Grand Hotel exceeds all superlatives ever written to describe its stately majesty and festive quality. Sited high atop the West Bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and silhouetted against the green woods and blue skies of summer, the grand white hotel is visible for miles from the water and from the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the two peninsulas of Michigan. The Grand Hotel's classical columned facade is one of the most enduring images of Mackinac Island. The Grand is one of the few large wooden resort hotels of the late nineteenth century that still stand today. Constructed of Michigan white pine, it features a three-story veranda that extends the full length of the hotel. Guests of the hotel line the veranda to enjoy beautiful scenic views of the Round Island Lighthouse, ships passing through the Straits and sparkling blue waters. Additions and enlargements have expanded the hotel to twice its original size. The slender colossal columns that line the veranda easily and gracefully support a fourth level. The veranda is rounded at each corner and relieves the otherwise harsh straight lines of the rectangular structure. Seven colossal coupled columns support a slightly projecting central entry and emphasize the symmetry of the facade. And, as if to repeat the symmetry of the whole, twin low-lying dormers with multiple windows enframe a central open belvedere.
Statement of Significance The following is an excerpt from the book Buildings of Michigan, by Kathryn B. Eckert, p. 551: In 1882 U.S. Senator Francis B. Stockbridge of Michigan purchased the site of the hotel and formulated a scheme to finance its construction. He created interest in the building and the oversight of the operation of the hotel among the three major transportation companies that served the island and that wanted to promote the use of their transportation systems. Thus, the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company, the Michigan Central Railroad and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company, which, in turn, built the hotel in 1887. To build the hotel, the stock company commissioned Charles W. Caskey, an architect-builder who had come north to Harbor Springs from Allegan, Michigan, to take part in the building rush in the resort communities of northwestern Lower Michigan in the 1880s. Caskey executed plans prepared by George Mason of Mason and Rice in Detroit. The company leased the operation of the Grand Hotel to managers and firms experienced in operating hotels in New England and elsewhere. Among the wealthy Midwesterners assembled at the Grand Hotel for its opening in 1887 were the lumber barons the Algers, Newberrys and Blodgetts; the Potter Palmers and Marshall Fields; and the meat packers, the Armours and the Swifts. Today, the Grand Hotel is probably Michigan's major architectural attraction.
Marker Name Grand Hotel
Marker Text GRAND HOTEL Opened on July 10, 1887, the Grand Hotel was built by the Grand Rapids & Indiana and the Michigan Central railroads and the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Company through the efforts of Senator Francis B. Stockbridge. It is built of Michigan white pine. With its magnificent colonial porch, longest in the world, it is a classic example of gracious living in Victorian days. One of the outstanding landmarks on the Great Lakes, it is the world's largest summer hotel.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1919
Registry Type(s) 1958 Marker erected
06/29/1989 National Historic Landmark listed
05/05/1972 National Register listed
07/12/1957 State Register listed
Site ID# P188