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*Got it working!*

The city gets such a bad wrap, so I expected it to be so much worse than what it actually was. I really don't see why people bad-mouth it so much.

Here they are. Mind you, these were taken early on a Saturday morning, so there wasn't much foot traffic (or automobile traffic for that matter). Like many Michigan downtown's, its pretty well intact, but largely unused:

Blake Building (foreground) & Jackson City Hall (background), seen from the north of downtown.


Consumers Energy Headquarters on the very eastern edge of downtown. The old post office has been incorporated into the design.


Looking west from Consumers Energy towards Michigan Avenue, Jackson's main thoroughfare, downtown.


Blake Building, formerly the Harris Building, undergoing a slow, but steady conversion into mixed used (residential above, offices below)


Skyline from northwest. Cortland Avenue in the foreground has experienced quite a bit of demolition as its filled with surface parking.


Jackson Tower, Jackson's tallest. It is now home to the county offices. It was designed by famous Michigan architect Albert Kahn.


Former Michigan Bell Building (now SBC)


St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Jackson has an impressive collection of historic churches downtown.


Another church, but I'm unsure of the name. It sits directly on Michigan Avenue, and may be the First United Methodist Church


Citizens Bank Building, I believe it's mostly vacant, now.


The former Hayes Hotel, now largely vacant save for ground floor retail.


Jackson County Courthouse. I belive it was formerly and Elks Lodge or Masonic Temple.


Jackson Public Library on Michigan Avenue


Some random storefronts along Michigan Avenue




Michigan Theater - Playing "The Passion of the Christ" :) I seem to remember it being under renovation, though.


Consumers Energy down Cortland. It was a ghosttown that day. First Baptist can be seen to the right.


St. Mary Star of the Sea, again.


Jackson Tower crown


Elaine Apartments, former Peoples National Bank Building


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I'm suprised to see buildings of even that height in the city given it's population, and Michigan's propensity towards weak skylines. The more I research Jackson, the more I want to know about it. From what i've seen it's downtown has some psuedo-density. It looks like the city gained most of it's downtown structures in the late 20's, like a few other Michigan cities.

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Part II

Unknown building downtown. It looks like a former school building, maybe?


The vacant Riverwalk Hotel at the eastern edge of along the Grand River which is mostly capped through downtown.


Skyline views



Lastly, a loft renovation that was still in the works when these photos were taken. The City View Lofts (former American Ladies Corset Factory designed by Albert Kahn) are now complete, and include a rooftop deck, and basement level parking.





Panorama from the City View website


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Jackson was one of Michigan's larger cities in the 1920's, despite not growing as much since. In the 1920's, Jackson had about as many people as Kalamazoo and Saginaw. Even Flint and Lansing weren't that much larger than Jackson. The only thing was that Jackson didn't see the automotive boom that Lansing and Flint saw and didn't have the corporate presence that Kalamazoo and Battle Creek had. It's essentially a "medium-sized" urban city that never saw the "suburban" growth that its peers saw.

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Jackson even had a leg over Lansing, for awhile, when the railroads were first brought through the state as it sat on the busy line between Chicago and Detrot. People forget that the I-94 corridor was once an important rail corridor before the freeways were brought through.

It's funny that Flint was mentioned, because Michigan Avenue feels very similar in scale and size to Saginaw Street through downtown Flint. That was the first thing that struck me when I visited downtown Jackson.

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cool pics. for a small city, Jackson has a good skyline.

you said the river was capped through DT. Do you seriously mean that it is capped, like they do to freeways? Any pics?

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Yes, the river is capped off at a few key intersections through downtown. They simply funnel it through drains/pipes. Sorry, no photos of that. The Grand is so small through Jackson that they can do that. It's more like a stream, and it doesn't much interact with the city except near the new Consumers Energy Headquarters.

Actually, here is one of the few areas through downtown where it's not capped. I showed it in one of the pics above:


Here's an aerial kind of showing what I mean:


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Do you have any more? How'd you get on the roof?

BTW, Granger (a Lansing-based construction company) did an extensive renovation on the former bank building to make it a city hall.

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My only memories of Jackson are building the Wal-Mart supercenter at Westwood Mall. I am suprised that place is still even open.

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