Built in 1887, the Grand Hotel is one of the last great wooden framed hotels in the country and also one of the top rated in the world. Its name is befitting given its enormous size and world-class accommodations. Several American presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush have stayed here. Foreign leaders have been guests as well, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Thomas Edison, who gave the first public demonstration of the phonograph here, and Mark Twain are other notable guests. since it opened, over five million people have stayed at the hotel. It also has the world's longest porch at 600 feet. Its 390 rooms are all different and seven of them have been named after First Ladies including Jacqueline Kennedy and Laura Bush. The hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
After the Civil War, the wealthy sought out places to escape the summer heat and busy, congested cities. As a result, Mackinac Island, which has a favorable climate in the summer, became one of many resort destinations in the country. For many years, the Jacob Astor House Hotel was where visitors stayed on the island. This changed when the Grand Hotel was built. Two railroad companies—the Michigan Central Railroad and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad—and the Detroit Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company to build the hotel. It has been expanded and updated over the years, though air conditioning was not installed in all of the rooms until 2007.