New Explorations: Old Hotels

Reader Contribution by Laura Everly
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Exploration and adventure…we all have different reasons why we love to travel.  Learning something new about the old is what this blog is about.  To be more specific, this blog features unique historic hotels throughout the United States.

Mackinac Island in Michigan became known as America’s retreat in 1886.  The Mackinac Island Grand Hotel was built in 1887.  This hotel became a home away from home for many who traveled across America by train or steam engines on the waterways.  In 1887, it cost $3 to $5 to stay one night at this popular hotel.

In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, many enjoyed a night of dancing at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  In 1947, a portion of the film Time for Keeps was filmed at this favorite retreat.  Esther Williams, Jimmie Durante and Johnnie Johnson were the stars in this movie.

Who is Esther Williams?  She was a great swimmer in the 1930’s and 1940’s, who romanticized swimming with her talent as an Olympic swimmer and an American actress.  The films she was in helped synchronized swimming become popular.  She became known as “The American Mermaid.” Since part of Time for Keeps was filmed at the Mackinac Island Grand Hotel, the hotel’s swimming pool was named the Esther Williams swimming pool.

Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel are still popular travel destination.  Mackinac Island is a great retreat vacation spot because no cars are allowed on this island.  Transportation is provided by horse and carriage, bicycling or walking.

Photo by Elisa.rolle on Wikimedia Commons

The Eliza Thompson House in Savannah, Georgia was built in 1847.  This residence was the first to be built on the Jones Street in this historical city.  The owners of this house were Joseph and Eliza Thompson.  Joseph Thompson was a successful businessman who bought and sold cotton.  He also served as a board member of several banks.  He passed away in in 1855.  His wife, Eliza not only raised their seven children in this house, but also successfully continued her husband’s financial endeavors that built their home.

In the 1980’s renovations were made to the Eliza Thompson House.  The house is now a twelve-room inn that has a beautiful private courtyard.  A carriage house was built so more rooms could house visitors.

Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful, historical southern city.

The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming, has many remnants of the Old West.  Butch Cassidy, The Hole in the Wall Gang, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill stayed in this hotel.  The Occidental Saloon still has the “twenty-three bullet holes” that could have been put in the wall by any one of the outlaws mentioned.  Owen Wisler wrote his novel The Virginian while he was staying at this hotel.

This blog only mentions a few of the historic and unique hotels that can be found throughout the United States.  My next blog will continue to share a few more interesting hotels that bring our past into the present.


Grand Hotel
Eliza Thompson House
Occidental Wyoming

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