The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama is in the running for the top 10 historic hotels, in a poll by USA Today that ends in six days.
Here is where you cast your vote for this 173-year-old Alabama jewel: VOTE HERE!
Owned by the Retirement Systems of Alabama and operated by Marriott, The Grand Hotel has long been a luxury resort for Southerners, with elegant, breezy languor being the biggest boast in its cultural history.
If you’re looking for momentous bullet points, hotel history, like that of the U.S.A., runs to war and business:
- 1847 A big Baldwin County landowner, F.H. Chamberlain, built the first hotel on the site with lumber shipped from Mobile across the bay, a 40-room wood frame hotel and adjacent bar called The Texas.
- 1864 U.S. Navy’s Admiral Farragut, the “damn the torpedoes” victor of the Battle of Mobile Bay, fires on the Grand Hotel, punching a hole still seen in the wall of the Gunnison House, on the site of the convention hall.
- 1865 Serves as a hospital for confederate soldiers
- 1871 A fire burned everything but the bar, which later served as an emergency hospital for a steamboat explosion.
- 1870s Captain H.C. Baldwin bought the site for $75,000 and rebuilt a hotel with 60 suites.
- 1939 E.A. Roberts, an executive with Mobile-based Waterman Steamship Co., bought the hotel and 25 additional parcels of land, and in 1940, the old buildings were renovated and the main building erected.
- Hotel turned over to the Army Air Force, which trains 5,000 servicemen for duty in the Pacific, part of operation Ivory Soap, which deployed mobile air depots for island hopping campaign against Japan.
- 1955 Southern Industries buys the hotel.
- 1957 Southern Industries sells to Malcolm McLean, a North Carolina trucking magnate who pioneered containerized shipping and later bought Waterman Steamship Co.
- 1967 A third nine-hole golf course and the first conference center were added.
- 1979 Hotel closed as a result of Hurricane Frederick, reopened on April 10, 1980.
- 1981 Marriott Corp. bought the Grand Hotel and added the North Bay House and the Marina building, bringing total guest rooms to 306.
- 1999 Bought by the Retirement Systems of Alabama for $28 million.
- 2018 RSA completes a $32 million renovation and makes the 405-room resort part of the Autograph Collection of Marriott International Inc.