7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jackson, Mississippi.

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 info@stantonmartin.com

Old people sit around on porches and yell ignorant things around here too.

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.

This is all that stands between Jackson and complete destruction.

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.

I stil don’t get where the bunnies come in on all of this.

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.

Welcome to the next 4 to 40 years of your life, kids.

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. 

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    About Stanton

    I'm just a boy, a boy standing in front of the Internet, asking it to love him. Also: I eat dead animals.

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    32 Responses to 7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jackson, Mississippi.

    1. Bethany Rosentrater August 19, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      thoughts:  i used to LOVE lance bass, he was my favorite nsync member, i forgot he was from here (woot)  I REALLY like Jim Henson…  Oprah is lame… your entire civil war post was great!  i LOVE the movie volcano (the coast is toast) baahahaha! props on the learning about noah in science class one liner!  As for the last post… i think if you go 10 minutes west of state street on woodrow wilson…. you will feel a BIT of a time warp back to the 60s…. at least in how all the buildings look

      • The Joseph Craven August 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

        Lance Bass and my older brother were friends in high school.

    2. Marie August 19, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      *Favre

      • Stanton Martin August 19, 2011 at 10:53 am #

        Thank you, Marie. I was considering providing a link for ole Brett, but decided against it. 

    3. Heather Summers August 19, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      hah love that video! That tornado took his lunch!

      • Stanton Martin August 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

        It surely did. I was there, and by there, I mean under my desk trying to text my friends and family goodbye.

    4. Brett August 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      Tornado took my hamburger….
      Tornado dont care…honey badger don't care… What's this world coming to

    5. The Joseph Craven August 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      Wood Street Gang

      • Cool C December 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

        Ha, grew up right across the road from Wood Street in the eighties. Poor white boy in a black neighborhood. Two streets over from Lanier High School. Georgetown district, Huron Street. I couldn’t image going over there now. So sad, Jackson was nice until the seventies. Praise Rankin County!!

    6. Not Mississippi August 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Why do people from Mississippi always claim to be the home of so many supposedly interesting things? Because the people in the state are trying to stay relevant… besides being famous for teen pregnancy, low test scores, and epic obesity.

      • Stanton Martin August 20, 2011 at 3:43 am #

        If you thought this was to bring attention to supposedly interesting things about Mississippi, I think you missed the point.

      • The Joseph Craven August 22, 2011 at 10:01 am #

        If you took the time out to bother writing this comment, I think you missed the point.

        • The Joseph Craven August 22, 2011 at 10:02 am #

          Actually, if you are this passionate about the situation, then you have clearly missed the point. Of life. Go outside sometime big guy.

          • Ricky Anderson August 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

            Sorry. Didn't meant to bother you.

            • Stanton Martin August 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

              Why can't we all just be friends?

            • Ricky Anderson August 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

              Because Joseph looks better in his picture!

            • The Joseph Craven August 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

              You just can't understand my disappointment in you, Ricky Anderson. I expected better. It's okay, I'm over it now.

              And trust me, even a faceless silhouette looks better than me. I've learned to live with that.

    7. Blake September 27, 2011 at 6:34 am #

      Wow. I lived in Clinton for just over three years and never knew about the volcano under the coliseum. Lived all over MS pretty much my whole. Like the place. Will defend it. But there's plenty to throw rocks at too. But you taught me a few things today.

    8. Betsey Kean October 7, 2011 at 6:15 am #

      I have always been afraid of Bailey Magnet….and before I knew it was a high school, thought it was some kind of minimum-security jail. True story. 

    9. Kim January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Stumbled on this blog by accident while looking for ideas for a project at work (Apparently you're the third go-to guy when googling "What is Jackson, MS known for?")
      Since we're at the coliseum when we're in Jackson my thoughts on going back are harrowing. I'm totally not one of those "ground-zero" types. I at least want the chance to make a run for it.:)
      Although I still don't know what to do for my project this article was entertaining! Thanks.

    10. Jenni February 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      I went to Bailey. For five years middle to high school. There ain't a damn thing weird or creepy about it. It's just a school. That top third floor tower was my French class. Now, it would get too cold up there and we'd be forced down to the library in winter but it was never creepy. There's a plaque inside, it was built as a school, never used for anything other than a school. It's architecturally interesting, but it is not haunted and never was and nothing weird or creepy or even remotely interesting ever happened there. Well, we did get a visit from Clinton when he was running for president but other than that it is a very normal school.

      When I was there they went from being a 7th to 12th grade school to being a 6th to 12th grade school. We didn't have room for every one. Some of the sixth graders didn't have lockers for quite some time. Our football team always sucked pretty hard but we kicked ass in girls track. The pic you have up there when I was there those doors weren't used a lot but we would gather around early before the bell rang and chatted. The doors in the pic lead to the office at least when I was there. You go in there and immediately to your left was the offices. But we also used to stand on those big "arms" of stone where the statues are and smoke. Looking at that pic the windows directly to the right were my computer class. Again, nothing odd or sinister. You may want to look up more about the architecture. You will find that style has been useful in evoking creepiness for many years, but it is just the style, if you ever went in the place you;'d see just how ordinary it really is. In fact, the only thing extraordinary about it was that for a time when I first went there from Oak Forest in South Jackson it was the sort of school you could go at your own pace at.

      • j a strong June 15, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

        I taught at Bailey from 1998-2008. We had the ground-breaking shovel on display for several years, and once, digging in the closet of the original band hall (that classroom under the gym), I found the permanent records for the 37-38 and 38-39 school years. Always was a school.

    11. Jamari May 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Bailey is an APAC Middle School now (grades 6-8). But one rumour had spread that a chair had moved by itself in the band room! Pretty creepy for a school. You are right about the bad football team, but the girls track,vollyball,
      basketball and the boys and girls tennis won for its first year as being Bailey APAC Middle School. It may be haunted though since it was once said to be a prison before a school. By the way, I am a student currently going there and I am in the 6th going into the 7th.

      • dogsmycopilot June 16, 2013 at 12:00 am #

        It was never a prison. Promise.
        It may feel like one some days, lol, but it was never anything but a school.

    12. Jamari May 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Bailey is an APAC Middle School now (grades 6-8). But one rumour had spread that a chair had moved by itself in the band room! Pretty creepy for a school. You are right about the bad football team, but the girls track,vollyball,

      • j a strong June 15, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

        Oh, Mr. Bailey walks the halls late at night. He scared the crap out of me once.

      • Jack April 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        Is cool.

    13. E.J. December 29, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      I 'served' time at Bailey. I was a graduate of the last class in 2012. Can i shed a little history on you all. Bailey was built in the 1930's by the same man that drew the layout for the empire state building. If you look closely you will see the fine details that can only be seen for up close and not far away. Bailey has ALWAYS been an educational facility because it use to be the old district headquarters. And as far as it being haunted…well you just have to see for yourself. Added fact the family that use to own the building and all of the land from Murrah on back up to bailey placed in the contract that if the building were ever used for anything other than to educate the school district would have to give ALL of the land and building back to the family. So you all's precious Murrah and APAC would be no more.

    14. Carla Hatfield March 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      Don’t really know why you had to identify Lance Bass as a homosexual. He is more widely known for being a member of NSYNC.
      I remember the flood. And I don’t really believe there is a volcano. Going to Google that.

    15. Niko March 25, 2014 at 12:51 am #

      I am from Portland Oregon. I’ve been to Jackson only driving through shortly after sunset therefore I saw virtually nothing. Were you aware Jackson is one of three cities with a volcano? The other two I’ve been atop of. Mt Tabor in Portland and Pilot Butte in beautiful Bend Oregon. I’ve also been to volcanos just outside of Albuquerque, NM.
      I Guess I need to return to Jackson.
      Question: Which is a better place; Jackson or Little Rock?

    16. Jack April 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Jackson is the coolest thing ever! I want to go to the colosseum! BTW, little rock is where my dog died:P

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