Every Friday I present a list of 7 Things I have learned/observed/frantically made up for your reading pleasure. Love it? Hate It? Got a great idea for a 7 Things spot? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
It used to matter. Believe it or not, Jackson used to be a pretty big deal. Johnny Cash and June Carter sang a song about it (ok, maybe not the same Jackson, but what the heck is in Jackson, TN). Sookie and Vampire Bill spent time in Jackson in the third season of True Blood. Sandra Bullock filmed a movie here once. My mom saw her at the airport. A bunch of famous people are from Mississippi, and therefore basically Jackson: Football Legend Brett Favre, Country Music Sensation Faith Hill, Sith Lord Darth “James Earl Jones” Vader, Homosexual Lance Bass. Need I really go on? Oh, I should. Oprah. That’s right, I played that card. Jim Henson. Yes, that Jim Henson. I guess what I am saying is: you’re welcome everyone ever.
It was burned to the ground- twice. During the Civil war, Jackson was actually a pretty important manufacturing center for the Confederate States of America. Union soldiers were hell-bent on capturing Vicksburg (I’m assuming they all had bad gambling problems), and they had to go through Jackson to get there. Union soldiers captured the city, and burned most of the manufacturing buildings to the ground. The Union proceeded to Vicksburg, and Confederate forces began to reassemble in Jackson in an attempt to break the siege on Vicksburg. Why? The confederates were really protective of their casinos. Vicksburg surrendered to the Union, but, just like today, Jackson was a bit behind the times, and Confederate forces marched toward Vicksburg. Before the Confederate army reached Vicksburg, they learned of its capture, and returned to Jackson where the Union army quickly caught up with them, and thus began the siege of Jackson. The Confederates were marching down fortification street, saw the street sign, and thought, “Hey, let’s build our fortifications here.” So, they did. True story: Fortification Street hasn’t been repaved since the shelling of Jackson. The battle lasted a week, and after the Confederates retreated, Union soliders burned the entire city to the ground, earning it the nickname: Chimneyville.
There’s a volcano under the colosseum. That’s right. Jackson is home to the Jackson Volcano. The city is proud to state that it is the only capital city in United States with this feature. I’m assuming by feature they mean feature film, specifically Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones. Go ahead and watch this clip; take out all of the subways and fancy computers, and you’ve got Jackson. We’re all going to die. Well, alright, the volcano has been extinct for 65 million years, but we’re all from the Bible-Belt, so we know that timeline is completely fake, just like the big bang theory, evolution, and dinosaurs. What you really need to know is that the Jackson Volcano is located directly beneath the Mississippi Colosseum. Was the colosseum some sort of primitive attempt to encase the volcano, and thereby stop it from erupting? Perhaps. One thing is for certain, if the city of Jackson is going to burn for a third time, I’m glad the colosseum will be the first thing to go.
It was completely underwater in 1979. I can’t go anywhere in Jackson without my Dad waving his arms widely exclaiming, “all of this used to be underwater.” I keep telling him that I learned all about God, and Noah, and the flood back in science class. Turns out Jackson actually flooded in ’79. The Pearl (the river, not the horrible, horrible town) flooded causing 1.51 billion dollars in damages across Jackson, Flowood, Pearl, and Richland. I’m not sure why, but they named it The Easter Flood, and now we remember it here in Jackson every April by hiding eggs filled with candy for our kids to find. There’s a lot of deep symbolism there that I just don’t get.
It’s home to an early model of Arkham Asylum. The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, commonly referred to simply as Arkham Asylum, is a fictional psychiatric hospital in the DC Comics Universe, usually appearing in stories featuring Batman. Bailey Magnet Highschool for the Criminally Insane, commonly referred to simply as That Creepy As Hell Building, is a factual school in Jackson, MS, not usually appearing in stories about Batman. This building’s origin has always been a mystery to me; a mystery that I am sure could be easily solved by even the most minimal of research. You know what I always say though, “research is for scientists, and people who didn’t search very well the first go ’round.” I refuse to believe that this building started as a school, and not as the set for The House On Haunted Hill. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. The really amazing thing to me about this building is that if you drive about 7 miles North down State Street, you’ll find a very small building with the exact same architectural style just chilling in a wooded area. It’s like when paleontologists find a dinosaur skeleton with a missing pubic bone, and then find it 7 miles away. How does one’s pubic bone get so far away? Another great question for God when I get to heaven.
It isn’t entirely populated by people like this:
It’s not stuck in the 60′s. There’s a lot of talk about Jackson these days thanks to several news stories as well as that new documentary that just came out, The Help. Contrary to what you may be led to believe, Jackson is not stuck in some bygone era of slavery and cotton farming. I think Christine O’Donnell really said it best: “I’m not a witch; I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you.” Sure, the 60s were great with all of its drinking and smoking at work, sharp suits, inner-office affairs, and John Hamm, but racism sucks, and we get that here. So, don’t be afraid to come to Jackson; just don’t talk to any of the old folk.
Did you already know all of this about Jackson? Did you serve time at Bailey Magnet Highschool? Got any other interesting facts? Leave ‘em below.