In the Irish Hills' heyday, the towers were extremely popular with tourists & townspeople alike. But after they closed to the public, the towers became a site for explorers, vandals & trespassers. Fortunately, restoration of the towers have become a priority for the area.

The original tower was built in 1924 by the Michigan Observation Company as a way to boost tourism to the area; they wanted to build a second tower, but Ed Kelly, the farmer who owned the other half of the hill (knoll), refused to sell his half.

To spite the efforts of the Michigan Observation Company, Kelly built his own tower right next to the original, naming it "Gray Tower" with the words "Kelly Knoll" painted on the side. Because of this, the Michigan Observation Company then painted "Original Irish Hills Tower" on their structure. The war to see whose tower was tallest continued until the Company threatened Kelly that they would tear down their own tower and construct an observatory so massive, it would make Kelly's tower look like an ant hill.

Realizing he couldn't compete, Kelly gave in.

And these days, both towers stand side-by-side as they have since the 1920s. The site was even entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Take a look at the images below; a group of stills taken from a 1940's home movie by a family visiting & enjoying the Irish Hills!



Jackson Eatery Memories

Walker Tavern

100 Years of Irish Hills Attractions


Vintage Photos of Parma, Mi

Vintage Photos of Napoleon, Mi

Former Depot, Clough View



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