Named after President Andrew Jackson, Jackson serves as the county seat of Michigan’s Jackson County. It has been referred to as the “Birthplace of the Republican Party” due to the political meetings that were held here in the 19th century to discuss the expansion of slavery. In the early 20th century, it flourished as an automobile manufacturing hub.
Things to do in Jackson
In the far south of Jackson is Ella Sharp Park, which sprawls across 227 hectares on the banks of the Grand River. It’s home to tree-lined walking trails, landscaped flower beds and picnic pavilions, as well basketball courts, soccer and softball fields. Keen golfers can test their skills on the 18-hole course while families can enjoy the mini-golf facilities.
Previously the site of Ella Sharp’s farm, the park was given to the city in 1912 and her 19th-century farmhouse is now home to the Ella Sharp Museum. Admire its Italianate tower, carriage porch and surrounding stone walls, then step inside to browse the local history and art exhibits. Also within the park is the Peter F. Hurst Planetarium, where astronomical shows are regularly presented.
In Jackson’s west is the Michigan Military Heritage Museum, which brings to life the state’s history of war and peace. While the majority of the weaponry, uniforms and artefacts are from the U.S. military, there are also objects from historical conflicts around the world. A highlight of the collection is a cannon dating back to the 18th century.
Getting around Jackson
Jackson is 1.5 hours’ drive from Detroit and one hour from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which has flights to destinations across North America. Trains connect from Chicago to the Jackson railway station and buses travel throughout the city.