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Pinckney Recreation Area & Lake Chain


Pinckney State Recreation Area comprises several connected, but scattered parcels of land that surround private lands and land owned by the University of Michigan.[3] The village of Pinckney is the largest settlement in the area, lying just to the east of the northeast corner of the park. Hell lies within the park and is the center of recreation at Pinckney State Recreation Area.[3][4][5]

Hell grew up around a sawmill, gristmill, distillery and tavern. All three were operated by George Reeves. Reeves moved to the area in the 1830s from the Catskill Mountains in New York. He purchased a sawmill on what is now known as Hell Creek in 1841. Reeves' family sold the land to a group of investors from Detroit in 1924. The investors increased the size of the millpond by raising the level of the dam creating what is now Hiland Lake. The area soon became a summer resort area attracting visitors for swimming and fishing. Henry Ford considered building some manufacturing facilities in the area but decided against it. Just west of the present Pinckney park, the federal government had developed the Waterloo recreational demonstration project in the 1930s and the state acquired the lease of that area in 1943. The next year, the Michigan Legislature appropriated monies for the purchasing of land insoutheastern Michigan and for the construction of state parks.[6] The park grew through the 1940s and 1950s with money from a number of sources.

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