Grand Hotel's front porch is the longest in the world at some 660 feet in length, overlooking a vast Tea Garden "Grand Hotel MI From Lake" by Dehk - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_Hotel_MI_From_Lake.jpg#/m…
In 1886, the Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The group purchased the land on which the hotel was built and construction began, based upon the design by Detroit architects Mason and Rice. When it opened the following year, the hotel was advertised to Chicago, Erie, Montreal and Detroit residents as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrived by lake steamer and by rail from across the continent. Rates at the hotel ranged from US$3 to US$5 a night.
" Friday, July 19th, Grand Hotel, Mackinac.
"We reached the Grand Hotel at 4:30. I saw one of 'Mark's' lithographs in the hotel office, with 'Tickets for Sale Here ' written in blue pencil on the margin. It seemed dull and dead about the lobby, and also in the streets. The hotel manager said the Casino, an adjoining hall, was at our service, free, and the keeper had instructions to seat and to light it. Dinner time came ; we all went down together. It was 'Mark's ' first appearance in a public dining room since we started. He attracted some attention as he entered and sat down, but nothing especial. After dinner the news-stand man told me he had not sold a ticket, and no one had inquired about the lecture. I waited until eight o'clock and then went to the hall to notify the man that he need not light up as there would be no audience.
The janitor and I chatted until about half -past eight, and I was about to leave when a man and woman came to the door and asked for tickets. I was on the point of telling them that there would be no lecture when I saw a number of people, guests of the hotel, coming. I suddenly changed my mind and told them: 'Admission $1; pay the money to me and walk right in. ' The crowd kept rushing on me, so that I was obliged to ask everybody who could to please have the exact amount ready, as I was unable to change large bills without a good deal of delay.
It was after nine o'clock before the rush was over, and I sent a boy for 'Mark.' He expressed his pleasant surprise. I asked him to walk to the platform and introduce himself, which he did, and I don't believe an audience ever had a better time of an hour and a half. 'Mark' was simply immense. "I counted my money while the 'show ' was going on and found I had taken in $398. When about half through, two young men came to the door and wanted to be admitted for one dollar for the two. I said: 'No; one dollar each; I can not take less.' They turned to go; then I called them back and explained that I needed two more dollars to make receipts just $400, and said: "'Now, if you'll pay a dollar each and complete my pile, you can come in and enjoy the best end of the performance, and when the 'show' is out, I'll take you down-stairs and blow you off to twice that amount.' " They paid the two dollars, and after the crowd had left, I introduced them to 'Mark,' and we all went down to the billiard room, had a good time until twelve o'clock, and 'Mark ' and I made two delightful acquaintances. This has been one of our best days. 'Mark' is gaining.
[Eccentricities of Genius 202-4]