William Sparks: Successful business man who was part of the Withington-Sparks company. The company was involved in producing automobile parts and played a major role in producing war items during World War 2. Sparks and his wife Matilda, contributed to building on of Jackson’s most well known landmarks, Cascades.Sparks “envisioned an illuminated set of waterfalls and fountains that wourld form the centerpiece of a green and wooded ‘meditation center’ for Jackson’s citizens”(Ella Sharp Museum, p. 119). The project started in 1931 and brought many jobs to Jackson workers during the Depression.
Jackson women who made a difference
Zelie Emerson, senior, pushed for Andrew Carnegie to donate $15,000 to finish the downtown Jackson library.
Ella Merriman Sharp, a member of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, was a local figure who worked tirelessly at regional, state and national levels for civic improvement, forestry and women’s clubs during the late part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. When she died, she left her large family farm, which adjoined the city, for the development of a park, and her home for the nucleus of a museum. This gift has been called one of the three most important things to happen to Jackson in the 20th century (Community Link, 2014).
There are many other Jackson natives who went and did great things beyond even just Jackson. Tony Dungy is from Jackson and now is a NFL coach and Superbowl champion. James McDivitt and Alfred Worden were both famous astronauts that lived in Jackson.
By Elaine Brewster