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Jackson, Mississippi is a fascinating blend of the old south and the 21st century. Jackson is a city of well preserved historic buildings, from the governor's mansion to City Hall. Baptist and Presbyterian churches stand alongside antique shops and flea markets. Interspersed with Civil War memorabilia and plantations reminiscent of years gone by, are landmarks from the Civil Rights Movement.  The Medgar Evers statue, the Woolworth sit-in site, and the Smith Robertson Museum attest to the active participation of local residents.

 

The state’s capital city is home to more than 184,000 people with a proud history that includes the world’s first heart and lung transplants, the first federal building in the country to be named after an African-American, and the home town of literary giants Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker Alexander. Founded in 1822 on the site of a trading post on the west bank of the Pearl River, the city was named to honor Major General Andrew Jackson who later became the seventh President of the United States. The city’s history has been turbulent. During the civil war, Jackson was ravaged and burned three times by Union troops under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. More recently, Jackson played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

 

In 2004, Jackson was named one of America's Best Places to Live, Work and Play and one of the 30 most livable communities in the United States.  The city’s motto “Best of the New South” is appropriate for a city that offers traditional southern hospitality alongside high-tech telecommunications. The Southeast’s most advanced state-of-the-art conference center is located in downtown Jackson, and the metro area boasts seven colleges and junior colleges, and 11 hospitals, including the nationally renowned University of Mississippi Medical Center. Jackson’s performing arts and cultural offerings are unparalleled for a city its size. They include the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Opera, the New Stage Theatre and the country’s self-guided Civil Rights Driving Tour.

 

Jackson is a major distribution center served by the Jackson International Airport and Hawkins Field as well as rail provided by Canadian National Gulf and Kansas City Southern. With its temperate climate and recreational options which include golf, tennis, swimming, and regional and national sporting events, as well as a professional baseball team, Jackson is an ideal location for both indoor and outdoor sports enthusiasts. Jacksonians take pride in their city and others are beginning to discover it as well. Committed to creating "The Best of the New South," Jackson continues to renovate its historic homes and neighborhoods while working to maintain the downtown center as  a thriving business and cultural center.

 

Mississippi’s Capital City is conveniently located at the crossroads of Interstate 55 (north-south) and Interstate 20 (east-west) in the heart of the  “Hospitality State.”  As the center for the Metro Jackson area, which is home to more than 425,000 people, the city of Jackson is steeped in history, music, performing arts, sports, and a  truly Southern way of life.

 

Northeast of Jackson, off I-55, is the Natchez Trace Parkway. This scenic highway follows the historic trade route that once ran from Natchez to Nashville.  Many Virginians and Carolinians passed through the area as they followed the Old Natchez Trace toward the Southwest. Named for Andrew Jackson, the city, sadly, earned the nickname Chimneyville when Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman burned it in July 1863. The Confederate trenches can still be seen in Battlefield Park. 

 

Jackson is a city of beauty and charm.   The Mississippi State Capitol, bordered by High Street to the north and President Street to the east, is the centerpiece.   Built in 1903, this stunning structure was modeled on the United States Capitol in Washington. Two blocks to the south, on the corner of Congress and Capitol, is the Mississippi Governor's Mansion, a fine example of Greek revival architecture and one of the few buildings to survive the Civil War. In addition to its own historical value, the Old Capitol building contains the country's most comprehensive museum on Mississippi history and culture.

 

Downtown is home to most of Jackson's cultural outlets. Two blocks from City Hall is the Russell C. Davis Planetarium, one of the largest in the Southeast.   It stands next to the Mississippi Museum of Art, where the world's largest collection of folk art and crafts by regional artisans is displayed.

 

Recent restoration projects in Jackson’s historic downtown include beautiful Congress Street with its inlaid bricks, benches and period lighting, the Multi-Modal Transportation Center, and the Farish Street Entertainment District.

 

Two other buildings are worthy of note. The Governor's Mansion, authorized in 1839 and completed in 1842, is the second oldest residence of its type in the nation and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Jackson's City Hall, built in 1846, is still the working seat of municipal government after more than 140 years. The massively-columned three-story building and the gardens that surround it are two of the most photographed locations in the city.  Due west of the Old State Capitol is the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, the regular site of many exhibitions, livestock shows and the annual State Fair.

 

Community support is strong for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Opera, and a professional baseball team, along with the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Natural Science Museum, Agriculture and Forestry Museum, and the Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural Center and other venues.

 

In association with Varna, Bulgaria, Tokyo, and Moscow, Jackson hosts the world-class International Ballet Competition at the beautiful municipal auditorium, Thalia Mara Hall. The city-center arts complex also includes the Mississippi Museum of Art and the nation’s 10th largest planetarium.  The Mississippi Arts Pavilion is home to the International Commission for Cultural Exchange, which has hosted several exhibits, including Palaces of St. Petersburg, the Splendors of Versailles, the Majesty of Spain and The Glory of Baroque Dresden exhibition.

 

Gourmet dining and nightlife sparkle on the Jackson scene. Many races and ethnic groups provide the city with cuisine that is truly international. One can choose Greek, Continental, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Mexican, Thai, Mexican, Russian, or down- home, traditional Southern cooking.

 

A warm welcome and a walk through history await, in the pleasant Mississippi capital of Jackson.

 

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