Our last few days in Jackson, the weather allowed us to do a couple of fun things between rain events. First of which was a walking tour of downtown Jackson. Jackson, Mississippi is named after President Andrew Jackson and it’s city slogan is The City With Soul.
Our first stop was the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau where we hoped to pick up a brochure with a map for the walking tour. Well since it was Sunday sadly it was closed so we settled for using the online brochure for the walking trail.
We drove over by the War Memorial Building and found some parking nearby. Starting near the intersection of Amite and State Streets we admired the War Memorial Building (a monument honoring state veterans) and the Old Capitol Museum which dates back to 1839 making it the oldest building in the city. The War Memorial Building had some cool metal panels and windows (I think it was aluminum) and the Old Capitol Museum was the original state capitol for Mississippi. Admission to the Old Capitol Museum is free!
From there we walked by several old and recently restored buildings until we arrived at what was once the Central Fire Station, Jackson’s first fire department built in 1904. This building is currently occupied by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Next up was the City Hall which opened in 1847. An interesting factoid for this building is that it once served as a hospital for both sides during the Civil War!
There was a nice statue of the namesake of the town, Andrew Jackson, located behind the City Hall and not too far from there were several historic churches. The coolest of the churches was the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a gothic building built in 1903. We liked the neat and very ornate clock tower with several gargoyles below watching over the church grounds.
Near the church we found the 1841 Governor’s Mansion which is said to be the second oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the nation and one of the few antebellums left in Jackson. This Greek Revival building is really quite impressive with its large columns and very stately appearance. Later we passed by the last remaining park in the city called Smith Park. As is typical of many city parks there were a lot of homeless people milling around.
Just across the street from the park was the first Central High School which is now an educational administration building. As we continued we could see the current Mississippi State Capitol, built in 1903, was covered in shrouds as it appears to be under major renovation. We could barely see the gold-leafed American eagle perched atop the structure. There were lots of cool buildings in the city and even a couple of art deco sky scrapers. The neatest one to me was the Standard Life Building built around 1930.
The walk was less than 2,5 miles but could take the better part of a half a day to enjoy it all. With time to spare we drove through some of the local colleges including Milsap College (where Johnny Carson once went) and Jackson State University where Walter Payton played college football.
Another cool thing we did while here was to bike an 8 mile loop in nearby Ridgeland MS. The trail is part of the Natchez Trace so since we will driving up the Natchez Trace I will include more about this bike ride in my next post. We are definitely enjoying our travels on this Road of Retirement…