America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Holly Hotel

Holly Hotel and Carrie Nation

Note: The Holly Hotel and other buildings on Battle Alley were damaged by fire in late June, 2022. Owners George and Chrissy Kutlenios said they intend to restore and rebuild the Holly Hotel. Many of the articles and paintings in the building were saved by brave responders. The reopening after reconstruction is scheduled for late 2023.

It may no longer have been a hotel. It was a restaurant. It may no longer cater to the railroad men who made the hotel prosper and caused more than a few ruckases outside on what used to be known as Martha Street. Today, there's talk of more than a few ghosts. It may be, in some quarters, be known for good food and comedy, spirited amongst the lore of that woman with a hatchet who came a calling in 1908 and now has a Holly Festival named after her, Carrie Nation. But all this adds up to a current Battle Alley establishment with an amazing charm, great food, a plaque from the National Register for Historic Places, and a whole lot of historic lore, it's hard to know where to start.

  • Holly House Hotel

    Holly House Hotel

    Situated around every corner of the towns and cities of the United States were inns and hotels that catered to the guests of their time. For many, this became accentuated with the advent and establishment of railroad lines in the ones lucky enough to be chosen as depots. In 1863, Holly, Michigan gained that advantage when the Detroit and Milwaukee Line laid tracks through town; by 1891, the Holly Hotel, first known as the Hirst Hotel due to its owner, began catering to passengers from the twenty-five trains that clacked through town each day. And the Holly Hotel remains to this day, unlike many Queen Anne and Victorian structures that used to sit along the main streets of their towns, but are now gone. It has adapted at the same time as retaining its history. Now with modern ameneties of comedy and food, but no rooms, and despite two fires that created concern for its future, the removal of passenger service to town, and a 1908 meeting with that brawling temperance woman, Carrie Nation, you can visit and dine in its 19th century splendor and recount the past, or laugh at it.

    And you ask, just why did that famous woman trek her way to a small town fifteen miles from Flint and fifty-five miles from Detroit, fifteen hundred residents at the time and six thousand residents today. She was a Kansas and Texas woman, for the most part. She just plain didn't like the attitude of the hotel operator, who tolerated the drinking habits of his bar guests, and was asked by a local prohibition committee to come. With her cohorts swinging umbrellas and Carrie carrying her ax, the scantily clad lady in the painting above the bar prompted whiskey bottle smashes and condemnation. It also landed her in jail, plus a Holly visit by the Republican Governor Fred M. Warner one day later, during her time in Holly custody. Apparently he wanted to parley the notoriety of Nation into an additional term. He'd get it.

    Today see a Carrie Nation Festival, usually in September, plus ghosts that seem to have the run of the restaurant from time to time. There's also quaint shops up and down Battle Alley. So if you're in the suburbs of Flint or Detroit some day and would like to get a bite to eat in a historic place with lots of cool past and fine food present, head out to the town Mrs. Nation decided to visit on August 28, 1908, and you can have a drink in the place where she swung a tool and got arrested.

    Photos above: Courtesy Holly Hotel.

  • Holly Hotel, Holly, Michigan

    What's There

    Historic National Register of Historic Places hotel with bar, restaurant, and Comedy Club.

    Hotel was built in 1891. Was rebuilt after fires on January 19, 1913, and exactly sixty-five years later on the same date and time, January 19, 1978. You say that's odd. Yep.

    How Much to Visit

    Restaurant and Bar - Entrees range from $28 and up with soups and appetizers in the range from $6. For diners in the area, you can belong to their Diners Club, which lowers prices with other benefits. Diners Club cost is $59 per year. Afternoon tea prices are $14 plus.

    Comedy Club - Friday and Saturday cover charge $15, for dinner guests $12.

    Hours Open

    Open Monday to Saturday for dinner 4:00 to 10:00, Sunday 4:00 to 8:00. Afternoon tea from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. Sunday brunch from 10:00 to 2:30 p.m.

    Comedy Club - Friday and Saturday nights, two shows at 8:30 and 10:30.

    Where Is It Located

    The Holly Hotel is located at 110 Battle Alley, Holly, Michigan. From Flint, Michigan, it's a 17 mile drive down I475 South and I75 South. Take exit 108 onto Holly Road Drive (South) to Battle Alley. From Detroit, it's a 53 mile drive. Take I75 North to Exit 98, East Holly Road (West). Continue to Battle Alley.

    Website - Holly Hotel

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