An Inside Look at Stagecoach Stop: Irish Hills, Michigan
What's the status of the old Stagecoach Stop in the Irish Hills?
It's open part of the time.
It's going to re-open.
It's closed...sort of.
Well, whatever its status is this year, at least it still stands for us to drive by, remember, and enjoy from the road.
Stagecoach Stop opened in 1965 in a more updated competition for the already-established Frontier City, which opened five years earlier in 1960. Stagecoach Stop sits alongside US-12 while the remains of Frontier City sits south of US-12 on M-50. While Stagecoach Stop had some cool stuff and a great front street, Frontier City was more rustic, and felt more like a little town.
Sitting so far back off US-12, Frontier City's popularity soon lost out to the flashier, more colorful sight of Stagecoach Stop, a lot easier to see from the road...and by more people. Unfortunately, for us fans of Frontier City, it couldn't continue to compete and shut down in 1974. Stagecoach Stop enjoyed its acclaim and adoration for a few decades more until it closed in 2007-2008. Not letting it die peacefully, the Cowboy Creek Lodge was added for the fans to wanted to spend the night near their favorite western theme park.
Since then, there have been so many reports on openings, closings, holiday-only events, limited visitations.....that I can't keep track anymore. By the time the latest info on the Stop is reported, it seems like its already changed.
Stagecoach Stop was operated and owned by Fred and Dorothy Bahlau and their three sons. The establishments you could visit were the Longhorn Saloon, general store, movie house (I remember it having little nickelodeon machines) Pistols & Petticoats ballroom, and the Western Trail Shop. Taking a cue from Frontier City's stagecoach holdups, Stagecoach Stop had the same visitor participation with their mock train holdups. Shootouts with the local marshal and visiting bad guys took place in the street.
The gallery below takes you beyond the barricades, down the street, and gives a closer look that you can't get from the road.
Stagecoach Stop: a Closer Look
MORE OLD AMUSEMENTS:
Park Lake Resort & Beach, Bath
Liberty Amusement Park, Battle Creek: 1864-1932
Abandoned Sea World & Geauga Lake Park