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Our Story - America's Original Grand Hotel.

1886

Mackinac Island becomes a summer getaway, but accommodations are limited. The Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company form the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. Land upon which Grand Hotel will stand is purchased, hotel construction begins.

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 - America's True Grand Hotel

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.

1933

W. Stewart Woodfill, hired as a desk clerk in 1919, purchases and becomes sole owner of Grand Hotel.

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.

 

 

1951

R.D. (Dan) Musser joins the hotel staff.

1957

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

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.

1987

In preparation for its centennial season, the Cupola Bar is added, the Woodfill Conference Center is completed and The Jewel golf course is renovated.

1989

R.D. (Dan) Musser III is named president of Grand Hotel.

1989

The East Wing is added to the hotel.

1989

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

1994

The new Woods nine opens, combining with the original Grand nine to comprise The Jewel, Grand Hotel's 18-hole golf course.

1995

Astor's Hair Salon and Rebecca's are added.

1996

Margaret's Garden and The Audubon Wine Bar open.

1997

Oil Paintings by Marlee, featuring original works by local artist Marlee Brown, is added to the variety of shops at Grand Hotel.

1998

Five new Named Rooms in honor of former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush are added to the west end of the hotel. Two new two-bedroom suites, the Grand and the Carleton Varney, are also added to the west end.

1999

Grand Hotel & Co., Fine Jewelry is added to the variety of shops. Thirteen guest rooms are added to the west wing of the hotel, bringing the total to 343.

2000

A new golf pro shop is added. The Vanderbilt Suite is added. Three electric boilers are added making water heating more efficient and environmentally friendly. Construction began on the Millennium Wing, a 200 seat addition to the Main Dining Room and 42 new guest rooms. This is the largest addition since the original construction of the hotel. The Millennium Wing will be completed in time for the 2001 season.

2001

The Millennium Wing opens on the east end of the hotel. The wing features 42 new guest rooms; the Grand Pavilion, a 3,600 square-foot private meeting room and dining room; restrooms adjacent to the dining room; and new guest and service elevators.

2002

The Jacqueline Kennedy Suite is added.

2003

The Masco Cottage, a four-bedroom cottage attached to the east end of the hotel, is added. The swimming pool’s deck area is expanded and a new large hot tub is added.

2004

The Grand Club, a vacation membership program allowing guests to prepay future stays at Grand Hotel at a discount, is established.

2005

The Millennium Wing opens on March 1, the earliest Grand Hotel has been open in its 118-year history. The Jane Seymour Suite was added featuring furniture and linens from her Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island Collection, a line of home goods she created for Saks, Inc.

2006

The Gate House, a casual bar/restaurant just a short walk down Grand Hill, is added to Grand Hotel’s offsite dining options. The hotel welcomes its 5,000,000th overnight guest.

2007

Air-conditioning added to 170 guest rooms makes Grand Hotel entirely air-conditioned. Grand Hotel celebrates its 120th birthday.

2008

For the first time in Grand Hotel history, regular selective dinner was served on the Front Porch during the summer season.

2009

Grand Hotel is certified as a Green Lodging Michigan Leader by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. The commitment to reducing Grand Hotel’s carbon footprint is an ongoing process that began in 2007 when a state-of-the-art air-conditioning system was installed using water for cooling guest rooms which is then used to heat the Esther Williams Swimming Pool. As part of the hotel’s green initiative, a “Green Team” constantly looks for new and creative ways to benefit our planet.

2010

The Trophy Room is added celebrating Sadie, the Scottish Terrier owned by Amelia Musser, wife of Grand Hotel Chairman R.D. Musser. Sadie won Best In Show at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in addition to 112 other shows around the United States. The Trophy Room features her ribbons, trophies, and photographs and is accessible to Grand Hotel guests and those visiting the hotel for the day as it is just off the west end of the Parlor. Quattro’s Quarters is added to The Gate House restaurant. Quattro’s Quarters is named after 10-year old Dan Musser IV, nicknamed Quattro because he is the fourth generation Dan Musser. The game room will feature classic arcade games.

2011

The Laura Bush Suite is added as the seventh First Lady Named Room. Capitol Bedding creates a private label set, Grand Hotel Touch of Softness. 180 beds will be placed in guest rooms. “Autumn Blaze” Maples were planted on either side of Cadotte Avenue leading up to Grand Hotel as part of a two-year project to replace dying “Norway” Maples. The project is set for completion in the fall of 2011. A partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan titled “Live Healthy. Live Grand” debuts highlighting healthy dining options, and recreational and stress reducing activities at Grand Hotel.

2012

Grand Hotel celebrates its 125th Anniversary. The historic year was commemorated with a weekend filled with memorable events: Saturday night dinner with former Michigan governors in attendance, presentation by Grand Hotel interior decorator Carleton Varney, Fireworks, live performance by John Pizzarelli and more. A special edition 125th anniversary coffee table book was published. Cawthorne’s Village Inn is added to Grand Hotel dining options. Grand Hotel hosts a full schedule of vintage 1860s rules baseball games and opens it new horse stable, home to 20 antique carriages. The Stockbridge Suite also opens its doors, featuring furniture from the estate of Francis B. Stockbridge, who once owned the land on which the hotel sits.

2013

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor is added in what was Margaret’s Garden. Margaret’s Garden is moved to the lower lobby. Completion of the Grand Hotel Touch of Softness Sleep Sets to all guest rooms. Air conditioning is added to Woods restaurant. An outdoor hot tub has been added to the deck of Masco Cottage. Two new weekend packages, Grand Garden Show featuring Proven Winner and the Live Healthy Live Grand Weekend, partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.