Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A Bad Day for Dieting (2) and Family Time +

Perhaps in an effort to make myself feel better about having had a breakfast sandwich at our hotel, followed by a burger and fries at lunch and then another burger and half a slice of pie in mid-afternoon, I’m not leading this post with more food…although that 4th diet buster happened late on the same day.

Instead, I’ll talk about a couple more historical sites in Jackson Michigan as well as another happy and cheerful mural from the city’s recent “Bright Walls” festival.  I’m starting this post with a couple of Jackson Michigan’s local historical sites and yet another happy mural from the city’s “Bright Walls” festival.

This is St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church at 711 Cooper Street in Jackson.  This church was built to fill the needs of a growing Catholic population in Jackson, many of the parishioners with Irish and Polish backgrounds.  They had migrated to the city to work in the many jobs available with the Michigan Central Railroad.

How old is this large Gothic style church?  It was built in 1856 and it has now been in use for 166 years!   Built in the cruciform style, the church’s exterior was originally covered with red bricks.  Due to accumulated soot and grime, in 1933 the bricks were stripped off and they were replaced with Indiana limestone.  From a family viewpoint, my mother’s youngest brother was married in this church.

Not far from St. John the Evangelist Church, at the corner of Cooper Street and Armory Court, one can find remnants of the original Michigan State Prison, also sometimes known as the Jackson State Prison.  It’s hard to look more “Gothic” than this structure is…

The first prison structure here was built in 1842 and it became the original nucleus of the city.  The enclosed area, about 20 acres, was always overcrowded.  At its peak capacity, it housed 2,200 to as many as 3,840  inmates in 4 cell blocks and a dormitory.  In the older blocks, the cells were only 7 feet long by 3.33 feet wide and 6.5 street high.  “Roomier” new cells built in 1904, measured 9 feet by 5.5 feet by 7 feet.  The postcard from my collection shows the prison in the early 1900s.

By 1882, the old prison was the largest walled prison in the world and it housed a population equivalent to fully a quarter of Jackson’s citizens.  This old prison was replaced by a new facility in 1924 and the name was changed to the State Prison of Southern Michigan.

The old prison, now referred to as Armory Arts Village, a resident artists’ community, offers a variety of tours as well as a shopping opportunity.  Check it out at https://historicprisontours.com/.

From a religious experience in an uplifting church to criminals languishing in gloomy surroundings, I thought that I’d cheer things up a bit with this happy colorful mural that was part of the “Bright Walls Festival”.

Time to face up to the end of a bad day for weight watching…our 4th and final meal of the day.  Other than visits to my mother, I left Jackson over 60 years ago.  Streets have been rerouted and the city has significantly changed.  One improvement appears to have been the addition of new dining experiences…

I had decided that we’d meet my cousins for dinner at The Grand River Brewery and they’d approved of my choice.  Typical for a large brew-pub, the look is almost purely industrial.  The space was so big that our table seemed like an island.  The restaurant was very busy with both inside and outside diners.   

These are my cousins, Darleen and her daughter, Kayleigh.  They are part of the lineage descending from my father’s brother Clifford Myers.  Up until about 2015, I didn’t know anyone on my dad’s side of the family…but the internet solved that issue and I've now met several Myers relatives!  Darleen is a retired medical professional and Kayleigh is focused on teaching.  Kayleigh and her mom are very close and Kayleigh is quite adventurous having experienced quite a bit of international travel despite her youth…

I didn’t try to keep track of who ate what.  This was the “Pulled Pork Sammy”, house-smoked BBQ pork with the restaurant’s signature BBQ sauce served on a house-baked brioche bun.  It was served with ‘Kennebec’ fries… ($16.00) “Sammy”…not an appetizer term for a sandwich even if the result is tasty.

Adult beverages were enjoyed all around…and yes Kayleigh is over 21.  In addition, I ordered a Bavarian Pretzel with mustard and a side of Béchamel sauce. ($14.00 with the Béchamel sauce) In addition, the table enjoyed a pile of fried cheese curds. ($12.00) I didn’t take photos of the appetizers…

Two of the ladies ordered the Fish and Chips. ($17.00 each) The fish was cream ale battered Canadian Walleye and, as I had to ‘help’ Laurie avoid wasting food, I learned that it was very nice indeed.

I’d ordered the Reuben…with Grobbel’s corned beef, Swiss cheese, John’s bacon sauerkraut and a nice mustard instead of Russian dressing.  This sandwich came on house-baked Jewish rye bread. ($18.00) The French fries were decent but I helped them along by dipping them in the remaining béchamel sauce.

Our observant waitress, Jessica, noted our picture taking and she volunteered to take this group photo of Darleen, yours truly, Laurie and Kayleigh.  Thanks Jessica!  We had a very nice visit and we all caught up on each other’s lives…

The Grand River Brewery is located at 117 West Louis Glick Highway just a block off of downtown Jackson.  Phone: 517-962-2427.  Website: https://www.grandriverbrewery.com/.  This restaurant/brewery is open 7 days a week.

I thought that I’d end with a photo of the moon that I took from the parking lot as well as an appropriate wall mural from “The Bright Walls Festival”.  So long Jackson, it was fun revisiting the past and learning about the present.

Next, we visit an unusual museum in a small town near Jackson with collections that most of us can only dream about…automobiles and much, much more.

Note: Laurie and I are still recovering from Covid infections and we’re so happy that we’d been vaccinated and boosted to the max.

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. The remnants of the Michigan State prison still looks impressive. I thought Evangelist churches usually look quite modest...but this one here gives me the opposite feeling. The dinner with your cousins looked very tempting.

  2. How fun to meet relatives later in life. I have some in-law families where cousins grew up together and are better than siblings. Then there's my family where maybe the ones that stayed put where they were born had that happen, but we moved away from my cousins, so I'm now just getting to know them on the internet.

  3. Definitely not a good day for the waistline but the food looked good.

  4. It is hard and often fruitless to even consider trying to diet when traveling, especially when there are such delicious foods. The family meet up was an added bonus.