2017-11-23 / Columns

Les Cheneaux

By Helen Shoberg
484-2626 • hcshoberg@gmail.com

Les Cheneaux News – 25 Years Ago, Les Cheneaux Hotels

After the Les Cheneaux Club, our next stop is Patrick’s Hotel, later known as the Pennsylvania Hotel. This hotel, built by William Patrick about 1887, was designated as the first post office in the area. Many of the early hotels were designated as post offices.

The name of the hotel changed when Mr. Patrick sold it to Sam Meik in 1893, who was in the meat cutting and packing business in Pittsburgh – thus it became “The Pennsylvania Hotel.” The hotel was built on the property now known as “Patrick’s Landing,” and was in operation until 1946, when it burned to the ground. This hotel was the first choice of vacation for many whose families still maintain cottages in the area, including Thomas How Sheppard, whose extended family included the Paul Gerwins, J. Haines, Walter Brahams, and Reverend George Murray. Also included on this list is O.M. Reif, who built the lovely old home on Reif’s Point, or Connor’s Point, as many call it. I’m sure there are many more of whom I am not aware.

As we travel a short distance down the channel, we come to the Muscallunge Hotel, also built by William Patrick. This hotel was located where the present Spring Lodge is now. The Muscallunge Hotel was taken over by the Fenlon Brothers and later owned by Clarence Metsker. The Metskers operated the hotel for many years until its closing. There is not much to learn about this early hotel, but undoubtedly it, too, was a popular stopping place for many tourists.

We continue down Snows Channel, and our next stop is the Snows Hotel. It was built some years later, about 1890, by Willam Williams, and later was purchased by Charles Hessel. It was where the Les Cheneaux Landing Resort is now.

In 1910, a U.S. Post Office was opened there and designated as “Meyer Clark Twp. Mackinac County.” It was another fourth class post office and named after its first and only postmaster, Frederick W. Meyers. The Meyers family from St. Louis owned and operated the Snows Hotel, one of the regular stops for the Mackinac steamers every day. Its post office was discontinued October 15, 1918. The Snows Hotel was eventually purchased by the Hendricks family about the year 1947 and sometime later it, too, burned to the ground.

There was an earlier Muscallunge Hotel that was built in 1888. It was a three-story building on Pleasant Point, where the Les Cheneaux Yacht Club now stands. This hotel was short-lived, as it burned to the ground in 1889, just one year after it opened. It was a very impressive building for that time.

Our steamer does not round the bend at Islington Point; instead it heads for The Elliot House. On a high hill overlooking Musky Bay, the Elliot House was built sometime in the 1890s by Elliot Holbrook, a railroad man, and operated as a boarding house/hotel. The Amos Beaches purchased it in 1896. Amos died in 1904, and John and Eliza Beach took over the operation of the hotel. John and Eliza served meals, had a fishing guide service, and also maintained an island post office for a few years.

The Elliot House, too, has guests whose names are still familiar: Tobin, Dunbar, Friend, and others, I’m sure. The Elliot changed hands and struggled through the 1950s. Business was very poor, insurance was expensive, and it was finally razed. Business for the island hotels had fallen off to the point where it was not profitable anymore. Modern transportation was able to bring people right to the door of their accommodations without having to come by boat with its entire hassle.

To be continued: from Cedarville and on to the open lake.

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