In the early 1900’s, Chicago meatpacking millionaire Michael Cudahy bought the largest estate and built the largest private home on the island. From 1966 to 1970, the old Stonecliffe mansion and grounds were home to a small private college. Students cleared a ski slope on the grounds. The college graduated one class and closed in 1970.
In 1971, Stonecliffe was purchased by Televangelist Rex Humbard of the Cathedral of Tomorrow who intended to re-open Mackinac College as a Bible college. More ski runs were carved for the students and for the paying public. Gregg Reese of the Mt. Holly Ski Patrol remembers accompanying his father, Bud Reese, the NSP section chief at that time to the island to train patrollers for the college. In 1972, the area installed a double chairlift. The bluff proved unsuitable for skiing and Humbard’s ministry came under financial scrutiny. The college closed in 1973.
Skilifts.org reports that Mackinac Island installed an 838′ Ski Lifts International double chair with a 128′ rise in 1971.
After the college closed, Stonecliffe operated as a ski resort in winter and a year-round inn. The lifts no longer run, but the inn is still in operation today from mid-May until mid-October.