THE IRISH HILLS: a tourist area

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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

As one approaches the Irish Hills area the hills begin to roll and farmland begins to disappear. The fields of soybeans and corn turn into hay fields and pasture lands.

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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

The other main characteristic of the Irish Hills is the overwhelming presence of tourism. Children and children at heart can splash down a waterslide or zip around in a go-cart. Tourists are able to walk through an 1800's western town with a petting zoo and street shows at Stagecoach Stop.  After a trip back to the Old West one can visit a forest full of prehistoric dinosaurs; play a game of basketball or tennis; see water run uphill at Mystery Hill; enjoy a drive through hidden lake gardens; enjoy a day of shopping in the Village of Brooklyn at their many unique stores; and picnic at the state park, lake parks, and roadside parks.
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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

In the Irish Hills one can also enjoy the historic sites, antique shops, miniature or full-course golfing, fishing, water sports or just relaxing by a campfire and enjoying nature at one of the many campgrounds in the area.  Because of the over 50 lakes in the area the spring and summer months are the busiest for tourism. However fall brings beautiful colors to the trees and winter gives tourists a chance to cross-country ski, ice skate, and snowmobile.
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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

    In the past these lakes were surrounded by small cottages owned by families in the local area. Today, more and more, the small cottages are being torn down and huge luxury homes are being put up. These homes are not being put up by locals but by commuters from the large metropolitan areas of Michigan.
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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

    But with all these pleasant parts of the Irish Hills there is one problem. The highways that run through the area are plagued by sharp curves through steep hills. One curve in particular had been given the name "Dead Man’s Curve". Many people have been involved in fatal accidents and there are at least 4 to 5 accidents there a year.
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Source: Image Courtesy of Patti Leader, former GEO 333 Student

One of the more famous tourist attractions of the Irish Hills is the Twin Towers.   

    The Twin Towers are located in Lenawee County and stand 64 feet tall. These towers are an important landmark in the Irish Hills; standing 1,400 feet above sea level they are the highest point in southeastern Michigan.
    These towers have an interesting history starting in 1924. The first tower was built in 1924 by The Michigan Observation Company.  They chose a site on Brighton Hill. However a man named Ed Kelley also owned property on this hill and was opposed to the tower being built on this site. The Michigan Observation Company was aware of his feelings but built anyway. Their tower stood 50 feet high.

The tower angered Kelley; he in turn built an identical tower right next to the Michigan Observation Comapny, but his stood 60 feet high.
    This started "The War of the Towers" which compelled the Michigan Observatory Company to add 14 feet to the top of their tower. Kelley then added another 4 feet to his tower making both towers even at 64 feet. After all this the Michigan Observation Company told Kelley that if he kept this competition up they would build a larger tower out of steel. That ended the rivalry between the two to have the tallest tower.
    Over the years the towers have had several owners. Currently the towers are owned by the same person and are connected at the top with a bridge so that tourists can visit both. The site on which they were built has seen many changes over the years since 1924. An 18- hole miniature golf course called Leprechaun Hills is located at the base of the towers. The towers are open to visitors from Mothers Day through Labor Day.

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This page was created by Patti Leader, a former GEO 333 student.  Great job, Patti.  Also contributing was another former student: Rhiannon Lees.

This material has been compiled for educational use only, and may not be reproduced without permission.  One copy may be printed for personal use.  Please contact Randall Schaetzl ( for more information or permissions.