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Jackson, Michigan is situated in the center of Jackson County, and is its only incorporated city, and the county seat.

Several major thoroughfares converge in or near the city. I-94 runs east-west just north of the city limits, almost touching it in the northwest. US-127 forms a small portion of the eastern border of Jackson in the south, continuing north to connect with I-94 just north of Jackson. It then turns west to run contiguous with the interstate to a point just outside of its northwest boundaries, turning north to follow M-50.

M-50 enters the city in the northwest, connecting with US-127 downtown. M-60 terminates at its junction with I-94, west of Jackson. M-106 enters the city in the north, terminating at its intersection with Business I-94 downtown. Business I-94 enters the city at its center-western border, continuing east through the downtown area, rejoining the interstate northeast of the city. Business US-127 enters the city in the northwest, turning east to follow Business I-94 (Michigan Avenue), then turning south, where it is also known as South Cooper Street, exiting in the south.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Jackson include Grass Lake, Parma, Concord, Cement City, Brooklyn, Leslie, Hanover, Addison, Albion, and Springport.

The Grand River, Michigan's longest, flows south and southeast through the center of the city, while the South Branch of the Grand River flows northeast, touching a portion of the city in the south, joining the main part of the river in southeast Jackson.

When European-Americans came to the area, it was occupied by the Pottawatomi people, who fished the Grand River and camped along its banks. Two busy Native American trails, the St. Joseph and the Washtenaw, crossed in the area of Jackson.

A Federal Act was passed in 1829 to survey Jackson County, and the first settler in the area that was to become Jackson arrived in July of that year. Horace Blackman came there from New York and built a log cabin in what was then dense woods. For a short time, the new settlement was known as Blackman's Location. However, Blackman returned to New York that winter to gather his relatives and, while he was away, surveyors laying out a territorial road stayed at his cabin, and recorded the location as Jacksonburgh on January 16, 1830, for President Andrew Jackson.

Jonathan F. Stratton platted the townsite in 1830, and Isaiah W. Bennett became the first postmaster when a post office was established at Jacksonburgh that year. To avoid confusion with the several Jacksonburghs throughout the country, the post office changed the name to Jacksonopolis on August 6, 1835, when Daniel Coleman was postmaster, and to Jackson on December 8, 1838.

The settlement was designated the county seat in 1833, and it was incorporated as a village in 1843, becoming a city in 1857.

The first prison in Michigan was created in Jackson in 1839, although the first permanent structure wasn't built until 1842. Known as Jackson State Prison or as Michigan State Prison, it became the largest walled prison in the world. Although it was renamed the State Prison of Southern Michigan in 1935, it remained popularly known as Jackson State Prison. In 1988, the prison was divided into four distinct prisons, still in Jackson. These were the Parnall Correctional Facility, G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, and Cooper Street Correctional Facility. The Southern Michigan Correctional Facility, built in 1926, was closed in 2007. The original 1842 site was used as an armory for the Michigan National Guard for a time, but it now houses residential apartments, art galleries, and retail businesses. The prison's 7 Block now serves as a prison museum.

Selected because of its heavy involvement in the Underground Railroad, the first Republican Convention was held in Jackson on July 6, 1854. For many years, Jackson was recognized as the birthplace of the Republican Party, although the Party now acknowledges Ripon, Wisconsin as its birthplace.

Before Jackson became an industrial and commercial center, both the city and the surrounding area were agricultural, particularly in the production of corn and beans, as well as for horse breeding.

The peak population of Jackson was 55,187 in 1930. Since then, it has declined each census year except for 1950, when it rose by 2.9%. Its current population is between 32,000 and 33,000.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Jackson, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the city, as well as any businesses, industries, schools or colleges, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports facilities or programs, and recreational opportunities.


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