Go Inside The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence on Mackinac Island: Free Tours in 2024

Michigan Governor's Summer Residence Tours - Porch

Look Inside the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence on Mackinac Island

Step into a world of history and grandeur this summer on Mackinac Island, for free!

The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence, an iconic three-story Victorian cottage, has once again opened its doors.

Michigan Governor's Summer Residence Tours

Now you can see the historic residence that once hosted famous guests including Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald R. Ford, John F. Kennedy, and Harry Truman.

Tours of the Michigan Governor’s Mansion

Wednesdays in the summer, 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Running from June through August 2024, these free tours are available select Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30 AM.

(Tip: Arrive early and get in line – the tours operate on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Michigan Governor's Mansion Tours - Hours

Once inside, you’ll move from room to room, with stationary guides giving more insight about each stop.

Enjoy the opulence of the living room, dining room, and enclosed porch. And don’t miss a relaxing photo pause on the front porch.

michigan governors summer residence photos - inside
Michigan Governors Summer Residence – photos of the dining room

During our visit, a Girl Scouts troop was assisting the tour guides, taking photos for guests on the porch.

The complete tour experience usually wraps up in a breezy 15-25 minutes.

Tour guests can snap photos inside this beautiful residence as well – an exciting policy change made in 2023.

A Look Inside the House

This white Victorian beauty stands majestically at the intersection of Huron Road and Fort Street at the top of the bluff on Mackinac Island, very near the Fort.

With 11 bedrooms and nine-and-a-half baths spread over 7,000 square feet, it’s as spacious as it is elegant.

Inside of the Michigan Governor's Summer Residence on a Tour

The porch is the real show-stopper, in my opinion, offering breathtaking views of the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Bridge, and Mackinac Island.

And here’s a fun tidbit: The house has back staircases and a private entrance. So, even if the governor is in residence during your visit, you won’t even know it.

How it Became the Governor’s Mansion

This grand residence wasn’t always meant for governors. It started as a private summer cottage built by Lawrence A. Young, a prominent stock broker from Chicago.

Constructed in 1902, the house was made with a combination of Michigan White Pine and Georgia Yellow Pine.

Young family in front of their dark green cottage
Inscription: Young Family at their Residence
Lawrence, Mabel, Henry, Alice and Robinson Young in front of the dark green summer cottage circa 1903-1915.

Located on leased State Park land, it was one of the first cottages to be built as Mackinac Island transformed from a National Park operated by the military to a tourism attraction operated by Michigan.

After a period of disrepair (World War 2 was not kind), the State of Michigan was concerned about the condition of the house, given its close proximity to Fort Mackinac.

michigan governor's summer residence location

In 1944, the opportunity to purchase the house arose. The state scooped it up for $15,000 and initiated renovations.

The house became the Michigan Governor’s summer residence in 1945 – just in time for the annual Governor’s Conference in July.

Debunking the Flag Myth

Lastly, a little myth-busting.

Contrary to rumors, the State of Michigan flag flying at the governor’s mansion doesn’t indicate the governor’s presence on the Island.

The flag flies proudly every day, whether the governor is there or not.

michigan governors summer residence photos - inside

Is the Governor’s Mansion on Your List?

So, there you have it – a peek into the rich history and grandeur of the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence on Mackinac Island.

Will you be joining the tours this summer? We’d love to hear about it!

michigan governors summer residence tours

Drop us a comment below and let us know if you’re planning a visit, or if you’ve been lucky enough to experience this historic gem in the past. We welcome your thoughts, questions, and memories.

2 thoughts on “Go Inside The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence on Mackinac Island: Free Tours in 2024”

  1. Good morning, Melody! I love reading your posts on places to visit in Michigan. John and I stayed in Ludington for our 50th anniversary (3/29 – 4/1). We had read your 2922 post about Manistee. We spent a beautiful sunny day there. Ate lunch at a small sandwich shop on River St (I don’t remember the name, but I’ll look it up). They had delicious cinnamon rolls too! Mika Meyers has a Manistee office on River St., so I visited my former co-workers and the 2 attorneys that I knew. We drove and found the Sequoia trees, State Park, and gorgeous color of Lake Michigan in that area. We love Northern Michigan ❤️ Love you, Dawn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *