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Coordinates: 42°06′30″N 84°14′52″W 42.108244999999997, -84.247898000000006

Irish Hills Towers

  • Location & Contact Information
    • Address: 8424 US 12 Onsted MI USA
    • Telephone Number: +1-517-467-2606
    • Official Website: [1]
  • Overview

Irish Hills Towers, referred also as the Twin Towers, are two wooden observation tourist towers constructed along US-12 in the Irish Hills region in northern Lenawee County, Michigan.In the early 1920s, the Michigan Observation Company sought places of high elevation to erect fifty foot high enclosed platforms to boost tourism. In southern Michigan, a tower was placed atop Bundy Hill in Hillsdale County, Michigan and officials sought a knoll in the heart of the Irish Hills in Lenawee County. A farmer who owned half of the knoll, Edward Kelly, turned down the companys offer to purchase his portion of the land. The adjoining land owner, Thomas Brighton, consented the sale of his plat, and construction of the Irish Hills Observatory commenced. 1The opening of the Irish Hills Observatory was announced by The Brooklyn Exponent in September 1924. In a gala celebration on October 4 and October 5, hundreds of people ascended the hill and tower to gaze upon the rolling landscape and crystal blue lakes in all directions. Kelly seemed spited by the exploitation of the MOCs venture, and protested by erecting his own tower. By the end of November, 1924, his own observation platform was in place, just feet away from the MOCs structure, and several feet higher.The Michigan Observation Company responded by adding a second observation enclosure to the top of its own facilities, now designated as the Original Irish Hills Tower. Kelly proceeded to add a raised platform to his Gray tower (named as such because of its gray-painted exterior), an act which brought the two edifices to an even height. The MOC informed Kelly that if he attempted to compete with more height given to his tower, they would tear down their own and construct a metal observatory so large that Kellys efforts would be nullified. He conceded, and turned his efforts instead to drawing more revenue to his creation.The Irish Hills Towers operated as separate and competitive entities through the 1950s, when Frank Lamping acquired both and connected them with a gift shop at the ground floor. They briefly closed in the late 1960s, and refurbished in 1972 by Allen Good. They were given new observation platforms and as a result attained a near identical look. 2The Irish Hills Towers closed to the public at the end the summer of 2000.The Irish Hills Towers were placed on the Register of Historic Places on May 2, 2007. 3[1]



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