< UNITED STATES | MACKINAC ISLAND: 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 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.
1957 Michigan Historical Association selects Grand Hotel as a State Historical Building.
1976 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 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.
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.
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.