History of Mission Point Resort

History of a resort on mackinac island

In the early 1820's, Reverend William Ferry, a Protestant Missionary, built Mission House to house and teach Indian children. A few years later, he established Mission Church, one of the first Protestant churches in the Midwest.

The southeast end of Mackinac Island thus became known as Mission Point. During the 1950's, The Moral Re-Armament became involved on the island upon the invitation of the Governor of Michigan. The MRA was a multi-national group, who, led by Dr. Frank Buchman, promoted the philosophy of love, unselfishness, purity and honesty in a worldwide evangelistic campaign. It was the ideological alternative to the post World War II spread of Communistic influence.

Groundbreaking ceremonies began in 1954 and construction soon began on what was to become the MRA's World Conference Center. The Theater was the first building constructed. Fifty-foot trusses made of Norway Pine from nearby Bois Blanc Island supported the roof and 45 tons of native stone formed the original building. Construction on what is now called Straits Lodge and Main Lodge began in the Fall of 1955, with the large trusses for the Great Hall being raised in early 1956.

The Main Lobby is one of the most distinctive architectural structures on the Island. Nine-ton majestic trusses, converging at a height of 36 feet, resemble a 16-sided tepee. This structure fulfills the Indian prophecy that "Someday, on the east end of the Island, a great tepee will be erected. All nations will come there and learn about peace."

In 1957, the building, which is now Straits Lodge was completed. Its lobby, known as Johnson Hall, is a prime example of skilled wood craftsmanship and has a five-foot marble encased fireplace as the focal point. The movie production Sound Stage was constructed in 1958. At that time it was the second largest of its type in the world. Universal Studios leased the Sound Stage for the 1979 summer season to produce the motion picture "Somewhere in Time" starring Christopher Reeve (Superman) and Jane Seymour. The entire cast and crew were hosted at the resort, then "The Inn on Mackinac."

The MRA relocated its operation to Switzerland and deeded much of the property to an organization known as Mackinac College in 1966. This educational institute attempted to develop programs in statesmanship and leadership, as well as more traditional curricula. Mackinac College operated for four years and graduated one class, then closed.

In 1970, the entire college was sold to a then well-known evangelist, Rex Humbard, who reopened the facility as a religious retreat and educational institution. It was terminated in 1972 and the Humbard organization began to use the property as a vacation resort. In 1977 the property was sold to a Dallas-based management and investment firm, which changed the name to Mackinac Hotel and Conference Center.

The property was sold in late 1987 and renamed Mission Point Resort by a successful Detroit businessman. He renamed the property to reflect back into history when this part of the Island housed one of the first churches and the Mission House, an historical landmark which still stands on the property.

Extensive changes over the years had brought out the best in these unique structures. Casual elegance was applied to every aspect of the resort, and Mission Point Resort gained the reputation as the "friendly and casual" hotel and resort option on Mackinac Island.

In December of 2014, Dennert and Suzanne Ware of Texas purchased Mission Point Resort with an immediate plan of a multi-million dollar upgrade plan for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and the intent of ongoing improvements for years to come.

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