The Royal Frontenac Hotel was built by the Ann Arbor Railroad Company “for the sole purpose of popularizing beautiful Frankfort, and no attraction and accommodation that money, skill and ingenuity could provide would be omitted.” It took more than 2 years to build and opened in July of 1902.The 3-story hotel was a whopping 500 feet long and offered nearly 250 rooms with all the latest amenities of the times, including telephones in every room, a cigar and candy store, a beautiful bar room, a game room and even slot machines, (not exactly legal but permitted in some parts of Michigan at the time).
The Royal Frontenac was a hot destination, with visitors coming on passenger boats from Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and by rail from Toledo, Ann Arbor and Detroit. During July and August, extra Pullman cars were used to accommodate the crowds coming north. It was a bustling resort. Besides the modern rooms, the resort offered amenities including horseback riding lessons, boat excursions and swimming instruction.