The Michigan Governor Summer Residence is a premier cottage sited on the bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac.
Lawrence Andrew Young of Chicago leased a lot at the top of Fort Hill in 1901 from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. The State required that Young build a cottage on that land within a year and that he must spend at least $10,000. Young commissioned architect, Frederick W. Perkins, also of Chicago, to design a summer cottage for his family. Local contractor, Patrick Doud was hired to build the cottage during the winter of 1901-1902 for a cost of $15,000. Margaret M. Doud, the mayor of the City of Mackinac Island, is the great-niece of the contractor. Snowmobiles being a thing of the future, Mr. Young crossed the Straits of Mackinac in a horse-drawn sleigh to witness the progress on his cottage!
Remarkably, it only took three months for Patrick Doud and his crew of 75 islanders to build this cottage. The attention to detail and the magnificent woodwork is incredible. It is hard to imagine the level of skill these carpenters must have had in order to build this in such a short period of time without power tools! Mrs. Young was so thrilled with the cottage that she gave Patrick Doud a check for $500. as a bonus.
Although the cottage is now white, it was originally stained dark green with red trim. The exterior is Michigan white pine and the interior is Georgia yellow pine. The cottage has a basement and three additional stories, with eleven bedrooms, nine and one-half bathrooms, and large open porches. Many of the original furnishings still grace some of the rooms in the cottage.
Clara Scherer of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan purchased the cottage in 1926 and sold it to the Mackinac Island State Park Commission in 1944 for $15,000. This was the exact amount it cost to build in 1902!
A private foundation, The Governor’s Residence Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, was established in 2002 to assist in the preservation and enhancement of both the Governor’s Residence in Lansing and the Michigan Governor Summer Residence on Mackinac Island which is a National Historic Landmark.
Throughout the summer, Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops serve as the Governor's Honor Guard. They raise and lower flags at official areas on the Island and assist with the weekly tours as well as official ceremonies.
Insider Tip: Schedule your Mackinac Island vacation to include a Wednesday so you can tour this exceptional cottage. It is open to the public every Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. beginning June 9 through August 25, 2010.
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