The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, has been known throughout the South as The Queen of Southern Resorts for more than 175+ years.
Michael Bublé, Lionel Richie, Toby Keith, James Taylor, Giada De Laurentes, Emeril Lagasse, Dana Perrino, Nashville Songwriters, Paul Sorvino, John Malkovich, S. Epetha Merkerson, Harvey Keitel, Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage, Jordan Peele, Vince Vaughn, Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson, Jimmy Buffett, Bradley Whitford, Daniel Kaluuya, Caleb Laundry Jones, Catherine Keener, Stephan Root, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Bush, Dolly Parton, Fannie Flagg, Patty Labelle, Kelsey Grammer, Ray LaMontagne, Avett Brothers, Phish, Sza, Megan Thee Stallion, Peter Greenberg
, The Pussycat Dolls, Herschel Walker, John Elway, Cornelius Bennett, Kenny Stabler, Mike Singletary, Tom Watson, Mykelti Williamson, Aerosmith, Danny Trejo and many NFL greats have all been to the Grand.
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- 1847: F.H. Chamberlain began construction of the hotel. The hotel originated with a two-story building containing 40 guest rooms and a shaded gallery that overlooked brilliant views of Mobile Bay. Two separate buildings- a dining space and a bar called “The Texas”- were added in addition. Chamberlain also purchased the beautiful Gunnison House next door to help with housing overflow.
- 1863: The Grand became a makeshift field hospital for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Vicksburg, MS. A cemetery was built for 300 soldiers near the 18th tee of the Grand’s Azalea Golf Course.
- 1864: Admiral David Farragut led a flotilla of 18 Union warships past Point Clear as it invaded the Confederate-controlled Mobile Bay. Several Union cannon shells landed throughout the hamlet during the battle, including one that crashed through the Gunnison House.
- 1869: A fire destroyed the dining room, kitchen, and guest rooms. There were no deaths.
- 1871: “The Texas” bar was turned into an emergency hospital following the explosion of the steamboat “Ocean Wave” at one of the nearby docks.
- 1870’s: Captain H.C. Baldwin bought the hotel from F.H. Chamberlain for $75,000.
- 1875: Baldwin then spent years renovating the entire location after determining it to be too small to cater to the throngs of people who were now vacationing onsite regularly. He eventually constructed the resort’s main hotel building to three times the size of its previous iteration. Baldwin debuted the refurbished business and officially named it the “Grand Hotel”.
- 1893: A hurricane destroyed the dining room and “The Texas” bar. Both were rebuilt.
- 1901: The son-in-law of Captain Baldwin, Major James K. Glennon of Mobile, inherited the resort as well as 250 acres after Baldwin’s death. In 1906 and 1916 the hotel was severely damaged by more hurricanes. Major Glennon was ready to quit but his wife intervened and supervised the repairs needed to re-open. By this point, the Grand Hotel had become one of the most exclusive places to stay along the Gulf Coast. Guests even took to calling it, “The Queen of Southern Resorts”.
- 1939: Mr. Edward A. Roberts of the Waterman Steamship Corporation bought the hotel after the Great Depression and two hurricanes undermined the financial stability of the resort. Roberts then began his own vigorous series of renovations, purchasing an additional 25 parcels of land to begin constructing a new 90-room building on the grounds where Baldwin’s building once stood.
- 1944: The U.S. Army Air Corps began training servicemen at the resort as part of a top-secret military program called “Operation Ivory Soap”. The program sought to teach the soldiers how to service aircraft at mobile air depots in the Pacific Theater. Roberts leased the Grand Hotel to the War Department a few years earlier under the stipulation that soldiers did not walk through the main building while wearing their boots in an effort to protect the hardwood floors.
- 1946: Roberts’ company, The Waterman Steamship Company, built a marina, two tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, a garage, and specialty shops.
- 1947: The Lakewood Golf Club was officially founded.
- 1950: Ten additional cottages were added to the property.
- 1955: Roberts sold the Grand Hotel to a massive conglomerate named Southern Industries which then transferred control to Malcom McLean, a North Carolina businessman. His brother, James K. McLean, oversaw the development of a 50-guestroom extension on the main building, the renovation of the Azalea and Dogwood golf courses, and the addition of the Bay House building which grew the hotel to 172 guest rooms.
- 1967: A third nine-hole golf course and the first conference center was constructed.
- 1974: The Lakewood Club hosted the Senior Women’s Amateur Championship golf tournament.
- 1979: Hurricane Frederick tore through the greater Mobile Bay area, bringing significant destruction in its wake resulting in the closing of the resort. Roofs and 5,000 trees on the golf course were lost. The hotel reopened on April 10, 1980.
- 1981: The resort’s owner agreed to partner with Marriot International to help manage the resort and repair the damage wrought by the hurricane. It invested $50 million into completely renovating the facility which lasted most of the decade. The North Bay House and Marina Building were added bringing the total number of guest rooms to 306.
- 1983: A fourth nine holes were added – this made for two 18-hole courses, the Dogwood and Azalea courses.
- 1986: The old Gunnison House was torn down to make way for the Grand Ballroom. The Lakewood Club hosted the 1986 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Golf Championship for the second time.
- 2000 - 2003: The Retirement Systems of Alabama continued improving the resort by initiating a series of renovations to the Azalea and Dogwood golf courses, spa, pool, and additional guest rooms. The company also constructed a series of condominiums around the same time, which introduced a new series of real estate opportunities for the resort.
- 2008: The staff at the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa started commemorating the battle by firing a cannon as a military salute to those who died during the battle. The ceremony is repeated every day at 3:45 p.m., a celebration of the nation’s military sacrifices in all wars.
- 2011: The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa joins Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to recognize the nation’s finest historic destinations. Its brilliant connection to Alabama’s history and stunningly preserved architecture have made it one of the best destinations in the country.
- 2017: The Grand began another magnificent transformation designed to recast the entire resort as a sanctuary of modern hospitality from rooms refreshed in beautiful coastal hues to a complete redesign of our dining experiences to a rejuvenating spa and thoughtful makeover of our conference facilities.
- 2018: The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, debuts anew in the autograph collection, reclaiming its renown as the Queen of Southern Resorts.
- 2021: The Lakewood Club hosted the 59th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship golf tournament.
- 2022: Two championship croquet lawns opened on October 21.
- 2023: In February an osprey nest was added next to the pier in February and in March the Alabama Coastal Foundation Educational Signs were added along the boardwalk for a self-guided tour.