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Grand History in the Making

Sandwiched between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas is a legendary hotel with more than 130 years of memorable moments.

On top of a gently sloping hill on Mackinac Island sits the Grand Hotel—an iconic Michigan vacation destination since it opened its doors in 1887. It is a National Historic Landmark, and its front porch is the longest in the world. Countless luminaries have stayed there including movie stars, writers (Mark Twain gave a lecture there in 1895 that cost $1), and five U.S. presidents.

The Bentley Historical Library has partnered with the Grand Hotel to digitize, conserve, and preserve thousands of photos from the hotel’s history. The Library is in the process of creating a digital collection to make many of these images available online.

Enjoy this slideshow of some of our favorite snapshots from the hotel’s long and colorful history.

An undated aerial view of Mackinac Island.
A little girl in front of the Grand Hotel, circa 1910.
A band on the porch of the Grand Hotel in the early 20th century.
Grand Hotel staff assembled and awaiting guests.
Women dancing during a recent fashion show at the Grand Hotel.
Christopher Reeve on the Grand Hotel front porch during the 1979 filming of Somewhere in Time.
Bill and Hillary Clinton attend the Democratic Governors Association meeting, 1987.
Esther Williams poses for a photo in the Grand Hotel pool in 1947 while filming This Time for Keeps.
R.D. Musser Jr., far right, in the Grand Hotel kitchen. He would eventually buy the hotel from his uncle in 1979.