Mackinac Island City Council Offers Tribute To Grand Hotel on Anniversary
The following resolution was adopted by the Mackinac Island City Council Wednesday, July 11, as a tribute to Grand Hotel on its 125th anniversary.
125 Year Resolution of Appreciation
At a Regular Meeting of the Mackinac Island City Council called to order by Mayor Margaret M. Doud, on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at 5 p.m., the following Resolution was offered:
Whereas, in the latter part of the 1800s, two railroad companies and a steamship company felt a compelling need for the affluent to travel north to the relatively new mecca known as, ‘Mackinac Island’; and;
Francis B. Stockbridge had a vision of building a fine, luxurious, large hotel on a tract of land on Mackinac Island. However, Mr. Stockbridge became a member of the U.S. Senate shortly thereafter and sold the land to the newly organized Mackinac Island Hotel Company that consisted of the Michigan Central Railroad, Detroit & Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad;
Charles Caskey of Harbor Springs and his brother-in-law, Alphonse Howe, commenced construction of Plank’s Grand Hotel with over 300 local craftsmen completing construction in 93 days, using 1 ½ Million feet of Michigan White Pine, that was produced at Charles Caskey’s lumber mill in St. Ignace, and the hotel opened for business on July 10, 1887.
The first manager and investor was John Oliver Plank, followed by James Reddington Hayes. Henry Weaver became manager after Mr. Hayes, and bought the Grand Hotel in 1910 and in 1911 threatened to demolish the structure for the timber. With that threat, three local residents, Charles Holden, George Arnold and Patrick Doud purchased the hotel. In 1918, J. Logan Ballard bought the Grand, and fortunately hired an enterprising young desk clerk, W. Stewart Woodfill and four years later, Mr. Woodfill was appointed manager and bought the hotel in 1933.
Mr. Woodfill was a visionary and an excellent judge of character that served him well in selecting the best employees, which was proven in 1951 when he hired his nephew, R.D. Musser, Jr., instructing his newest employee that the work and hours would be twice as hard as any other employee, because Mr. Musser was a relative. Mr. Musser proved himself in every task he was asked to perform, and in 1953, Mr. Musser was appointed to the Board of Directors, and became President of the Grand Hotel in 1960, and his wife, Amelia, was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. The Grand Hotel was sold to R.D. Musser Jr. in 1979, and son R.D. Musser, III, became president, and daughter Margaret ‘Mimi’ Musser became Vice President, making the hotel family-owned since 1933.
Therefore, be it resolved, Mackinac Island is known as the ‘Jewel’ of Michigan, and the Grand Hotel is the most magnificent ‘gem’ of this precious jewel! Happy 125th birthday, Grand Hotel, and special thanks to the Musser Family for their constant support, community involvement, generosity, and to the entire staff for their devotion. Mackinac Island would not be world Renowned without the presence and magnificence of the Grand Hotel.”
Signed Wednesday, July 11, by Margaret Doud, Mayor; Karen Lennard, City Clerk; and approved by the Mackinac Island City Council.