From the DJN Foundation Davidson Digital Archive of
Jewish Detroit History
Last week, I stayed at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Yes, yes — it was tough duty. Beautiful architecture, gourmet meals, first-rate service, drinks on the massive porch with a great view of the Mackinac Bridge … I don’t know how I survived! I was on business for the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, which holds Grand Hotel archives, so I tried not to have fun. But, that is impossible.
Grand Hotel is one of Michigan’s world-class landmarks. A “grand hotel” is usually defined as a large, impressive hotel with an international clientele. Opened in 1887, Grand Hotel is indeed “grand.” Owned by the Musser family since 1979, it became a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
I went into the Davidson Digital Archives to see what I could find about Grand Hotel. The earliest entry was from the Sept. 21, 1917, issue of the Jewish Chronicle. It noted: “Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bykowsy have been spending the past two weeks at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac.” Almost all of the earliest entries cited who was vacationing at Grand Hotel. For years, the JN and the Chronicle had lots of social news like this about Jewish Detroiters. There are also other more recent stories that are interesting.
For many years, Grand Hotel has celebrated Rosh Hashanah. This year, it was celebrated with Rabbi David Shepherd of the Mackinac Island Synagogue, Kehillat Hatzav Hagadol. The July 7, 2017, issue of the JN has a great story with all the facts about Grand Hotel, as well as excellent color photos.
Let me be clear — I am not a paid agent of Grand Hotel. I am shilling for the Grand as a historian. I know how unique it is, a bona fide historical gem in Michigan. Of course, as a guest, I am totally impressed with the hotel itself, as well as its great hosts, president Dan Musser III and his crew. It has been a destination for Jewish Detroiters for many, many years for very good reasons.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.