I have grown to love Jackson dearly.
The other day, I was caught by surprise by a Jeopardy question highlighting this great city I have lived in for the past 6 years. These days, not many people refer to Jackson as the “Rose City”, at least in the circles I am a part of.
Regardless, it was fascinating to contemplate our city in light of such a positive image on a national stage. It often seems that we get regrettably associated just with housing the state prison.
But, this “Rose City” idea made me wonder.
Did my own great-grandfather play an unprecedented role in achieving such a reputation for our city?
You see, my great-grandfather retired years ago as the head gardener for our beloved Ella Sharp Park. This was the reason why my wife and I chose to get married there.
From the stories told to me by my grandmother it sounds like people would travel great distances from around the mid-west to see my great-grandfather’s extravagant gardens along with the acclaimed Cascade Falls.
You can see the pride in my grandmother’s eyes as she shared these stories with my wife and I.
I continue to share grandma’s pride much like I share her hair color.
I am told that in those days the gardens were apparently far more elaborate than they continue to be today. The Cascades had neither unsightly cement walls or entrance fees.
What will Jackson be known for to our great-grandchildren?
Will things improve for them?
Will they only hear stories of glory days?
Jacksonopolis is an significant experiment geared toward answering these questions with pride.
This article was written by David J. Goodrich who is a freelance writer for Jacksonopolis and has lived in Jackson since 2006 when he began teaching P.E., high school science, and then did instructional design at Spring Arbor University. He joined the Virtual University team at Michigan State in January of 2012 as an eProducer.