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Jackson, Michigan: Tour Prison Tunnels, Cells, Loft Apts

Michigan's first state prison, turned-into-a-residence. Tours available.

Armory Arts Village

100 Armory Court, Jackson, MI
Armory Arts Village. South of I-94, near Ganson St. and Cooper.
By appt, minimum 4 people. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Tour Prison Tunnels, Cells, Loft Apts

Very interesting tour, with lots of information. This is a three hour tour and much too long for small children. You visit two different sites. I would recommend it for any history buffs. You must call ahead to make arrangements.

[JoEllen Hothem, 08/02/2011]

Prison walls.

Tour Prison Tunnels, Cells, Loft Apts.

Armory Arts Village is in the old historic Jackson Prison. It is one of 12 Michigan "Cool Cities" projects utilizing innovative ways to revive Michigan's once-industrial economy. Housed in the old Jackson Prison (1837-1935), Armory Arts Village is now an artists' community with 62 apartments, studios where the artists work and hold classes, and a huge and beautiful gallery which once held four tiers of prison cells that housed inmates of the largest walled prison on the planet in its time.

Visitors can browse in the gallery with its original walls, barred windows and ceiling, while enjoying paintings, sculpture, pottery, glass and mosaic works, then take a tour with resident storyteller and author, Judy Gail Krasnow.

The tour, "From Historic Prison to Artistic Vision," tells the fascinating history of how Jackson became home to the prison and what life in the prison was like. The tour includes a visit to the old tunnel system and solitary cells underlying the building and grounds, stories of colorful inmates, and tales of how the journal of a dedicated night-watchman and the art programs of a reformist Chaplain improved life within the prison walls and ultimately inspired the artists' community it is today.

The tour ends with a visit to a loft apartment designed from former 8' X 10' prison cells.

[Judy Gail Krasnow, 11/01/2008]

Nearby Offbeat Places

The Jackson CascadesThe Jackson Cascades, Jackson, MI - 2 mi.
Grave of Mr. Chicken the Plastic-Legged RoosterGrave of Mr. Chicken the Plastic-Legged Rooster, Jackson, MI - 3 mi.
WHL McCourtie Estate: Concrete Wood ArtWHL McCourtie Estate: Concrete Wood Art, Somerset, MI - 14 mi.
In the region:
Giant Sojourner Truth Statue, Battle Creek, MI - 40 mi.

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