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Jackson, Michigan

49201

Jackson, Michigan

Jackson, Michigan

Jackson is the centrally located county seat of Jackson County. Pioneers in the 1830's by the tens of thousands traveled west over the Territorial Road (roughly parallel to I-94). Many of them stopped in the Jackson area to take up land. Jackson County was named after Andrew Jackson and organized on 1832. The principal settlement, Jackson, founded in 1829, was first called Jacksonopolis and later Jacksonburgh. Located near the headwaters of the Grand River, Jackson has always been an important transportation center. One of America's most famous political conventions took place in this city on July 6, 1854, when 1,500 persons from throughout Michigan assembled "under the oaks" and organized a new party which they named the Republican Party.

Significant growth began in the late 1830’s, with the building of the world’s largest walled prison which was completed in 1900 and the coming of the Michigan Central Railroad.

This was the original site of Michigan's first state prison, approved by the legislature in 1838. A temporary wooden prison, enclosed by a fence of tamarack poles, was built on sixty acres donated for that purpose here. In 1839 the first 35 prisoners were received. A permanent prison was built three years later. Beginning in the 1880's under Warden H. F. Hatch a greater emphasis was placed on education and rehabilitation of prisoners. After 1934 the inmates were housed in the new prison north of Jackson.

Incorporation as a village occurred in 1843, and the town grew with the discovery of sandstone and coal in the area. In 1854, the Republican Party was organized here, taking on the name "Republican" to protest slavery practices permitted in the recently passed Kansas-Nebraska Bill. In 1857, Jackson was reorganized as a city and grew rapidly. By the turn of the century, it had become a leading player in Michigan’s economy, the home of Buick Motors.

Today, Jackson remains one of Michigan’s 10 largest cities, with a diverse economy, producing everything from orthopedic appliances to camshafts. Many cultural activities and points of interest, include the famous Cascades Falls Park, Ella Sharp Museum, Hurst Planetarium, Harness Raceway, and the restored railway depot, still in operation. Jackson celebrates its annual Rose Festival in early June and Civil War reenactment at the end of August.

Jackson, Michigan     Jackson, Michigan

Jackson, Michigan     Jackson, Michigan

Photos courtesy of: Ken Huisjen

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