In 1911 successful Lansing milliner Bliss Stebbins began construction on the Grand Lake Hotel which opened in 1912. The property was run somewhat similar to the Fireside Inn and the old Birch Hill Hotel. The Grand Lake Hotel housed the office, rental rooms, baths, kitchen,  lobby and dining room. Like Fireside, the cabins did not have kitchens and the guests took their meals in the dining room of the main lodge. The original kitchen was at the north end of the hotel and is no longer there. Scattered around the property were cabins for rent, some of which are now in private residence. The rental cabins were identified by names; Eagle's Nest, Wolf's Den, Fox Den and the Bear's Den, to name a few. The trademark symbol of the Hotel is the Michigan black bear. Soon after the completion of the hotel, Bliss Stebbins purchased the property that is referred to as the 1840 old Presque Isle Lighthouse at a tax sale for $70.00, planning to use the property as a private picnic area for patrons of his hotel. Bliss was the brother of A. C. Stebbins who had achieved success as the manager of the Lansing Wheelbarrow Company, and was one of eight original founders of the Oldsmobile Auto Company with Ransom Eli Olds. With the property used only as an extension of the Grand Lake Hotel, Bliss apparently did nothing to improve either the tower or dwelling, and by 1930 the building's roof had collapsed, the walls were crumbling and people were seen stealing bricks to use in their back yard projects. Today, the lighthouse has been renovated and operated by the Presque Isle Historical Society and is owned by Presque Isle Township. The 1840 and 1870 lighthouses are just minutes north of the Grand Lake Hotel on East Grand Lake Road.

In 1928 Christopher Cooper's mother, Joanne Vercoe Cooper arrived for her first summer in Presque Isle. She spent many summers at the Grand Lake Hotel with her grandparents Cora and Marshall Smith, her mother Adrienne Smith Vercoe and her brother Fred Vercoe. Also coming to the Hotel was her mothers sister Hurtha Smith Schwartz and her husband Frank Schwartz, parents of Christopher's uncle's Bill, Frank and Joe. The Smith's, Vercoe's and Schwartz's were all seasonal visitors to the hotel over the years. The family's also spent vacations at the Birch Hill Hotel, Presque Isle Lodge and Fireside Inn. In the 1950's before Christopher was born his Godmother, Ruth Hales, also spent a summer at the Hotel.
Christopher's Uncle Bill Schwartz purchased the Grand Lake Hotel in 1972. The family used the hotel as a summer retreat and weekly vacation rental for some 40 years. Uncle Bill passed away in December of 2011 after having his evening beer and final smoke from his trademark corncob pipe, leaving the property to his children; William, Robert and Sally. In 2012 when Christopher & Ruth discovered that the hotel was for sale they felt that it would be great to continue to have the property kept in the family.

Christopher and Ruth were born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Christopher celebrated his first birthday at Grand Lake. Christopher has been vacationing at the Lake since 1960. In 1985 Christopher and Ruth were married and the two began their summers at his parents new summer home in 1986. The family home is just minutes south of the Grand Lake Hotel. Their two sons, Brian and Jeffrey, have vacationed at the lake since they were born. Both of them were baptized at the Grand Lake Community Chapel. Their grandfather, Dr. Robert Cooper, was a Pediatrician in Columbus, Ohio whom the baptismal font at the chapel is dedicated. Jeffs son Rylan was baptised at the chapel Christmas Eve morning 2023. Brian & Jeffrey are fifth generation to stay at the hotel while the newest member to the family, Jeffrey and Brittany's son Rylan, is 6th generation.

Today, Christopher has retired from a 28 year career as a Driver/Engineer and Firefighter/EMT for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and became a member of the East Grand Lake Fire Department in 2016. His wife Ruth, is a Spin Instructor and Master Personal Trainer for the YMCA Of The Treasure Coast. As they continue to plan the future and refurbish the Grand Lake Hotel we hope that you will find Grand Lake to be that special place that generations have come to treasure. Be it an engagement party, shower, rehearsal dinner, small wedding, reception, anniversary, family gathering, corporate party or overflow guests. 

*Actress Kim Hunter, among many roles, starred with Marlon Brandon in "Street Car Named Desire" and more notably as Zira, a chimpanzee physician in the 1967 movie "Planet of the Apes." She was the step daughter of Bliss Stebbins, original owner of the Grand Lake Hotel. Her mother, Grace Mabel Lind Cole, married Bliss sometime around 1934-1935. Kim wrote a combo autobiography/cookbook titled "Loose in the Kitchen" in 1975, the book features an image of her mother on the porch of the Grand Lake Hotel (page 142). Also, the hotel's signature drink, the Stebbins Stinger.

*Anyone with history, photos or postcards please forward them to GrandLakeHotel@aol.com or our address, this site will be updated as information is supplied. Your originals will be copied and returned. Thank you!