The Douglas House / Thomas E. Douglas
The Douglas House
Canadian-born entrepreneur Thomas E. Douglas constructed a sawmill and general store in the logging community of Lovells around 1898. He erected a new store in 1903 after fire destroyed the first one, and in 1916 he built a hotel addition named the Douglas House. Electricity generated in his mill illuminated the twenty guest rooms and lavish common spaces. From the beginning the hotel headquartered the North Branch Outing Club, a popular sportsmen's club which drew members like Henry and Edsel Ford, John and Horace Dodge, and Charles Nash. Douglas's daughter, Margaret ran the hotel until 1971. She continued to live in the Douglas House until 1991. In 1996 the property reopened as a bed and breakfast
, continuing to provide lodging to hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
Thomas E. Douglas
Born and raised in Canada, Thomas E. Douglas came to Saginaw as an adult to work as a bookkeeper in his uncle's lumber mill. Upon moving to Grayling with his wife, Martha, in 1893, Douglas managed the R. Hanson Lumber Company. Taking advantage of the lumber boom in the Au Sable valley, the enterprising Douglas turned his attention to the logging town of Lovells. Here around 1898, he built a sawmill, a general store, and a blacksmith shop. In 1916, as the lumbering era waned, Douglas opened the Douglas House Hotel and established the North Branch Outing Club. Recognizing the opportunity to capitalize on the area's natural resources and the growth of tourism spurred by the increasing popularity of the automobile Douglas helped change Lovells into a retreat for sportsmen.