Experience Jackson

141 S. Jackson St., Jackson, MI 49201
Southern Michigan Winter Beer Festival

Armory Arts Village & Michigan’s First State Prison

(517) 784-2220
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100 Armory Court
Jackson, MI 49201

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Saturdays and additional times by appointment only.

Artst Hours:
2nd Sundays 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

  • Armory Arts Village & Michigan’s First State Prison

The Armory Arts Village is a one-of-a-kind, creatively focused, mixed use neighborhood.  An affordable space designed to meet both the living & workspace needs of emerging artists, musicians, designers, craftsmen, and other creative people. Armory Arts Village is listed on MSN in the top ten most unique buildings worldwide in which to live. The building is a private residence, an artist community and a nationally recognized historic site. 

This was the original site of Michigan's First State Prison, approved by the legislature in 1838. A temporary wooden prison, enclosed by a fence of tamarack poles, was built on sixty acres donated for that purpose here. In 1839 the first 35 prisoners were received. A permanent prison was built three years later.

Beginning in the 1880's under Warden H. F. Hatch a greater emphasis was placed on the education and rehabilitation of prisoners. After 1934 the inmates were housed in the new prison north of Jackson. During the Industrial Revolution, Michigan's First State Prison was important to the development of Jackson by providing cheap labor in our factories. At its height, the enclosed area of the old prison was about 20 acres and there were over 2,000 inmates, making it the World's Largest Walled Prison in it's heyday.

Nearby restaurants include Shlenker's Sandwich Shop, Chilango's Mexican Grill and Anna's Gifts & Porch Cafe.

Click here for the Original Jackson Historic Prison Tour and facility rental inquires or call Judy Gail Krasnow at (517) 795-2112 or email.  

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