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Jackson County Fairgrounds get new historical marker

Pictured (L-R): Judy Ganton, Jerry Glaser, Linda Hass, Kyle Lewis, Mike Way and one other unidentified person standing near the mark with the Jackson County Fair tomorrow.
Jackson County Historical Society
The new Jackson County Historical Marker was dedicated on Sunday.

The Jackson County Historical Society has unveiled a new marker telling the history of the county fairgrounds in Jackson.

On Sunday, the historical society’s latest marker was dedicated at the fairgrounds just as this year’s county fair was getting underway. The sign is located in front of the America One Credit Union Event Center near Ganson Street.

The founder of the historical society Maurice Imhoff says the marker differs from State of Michigan history markers because this one includes visuals. It bears an image from more than a century ago of the property’s namesake, a former Jackson city council member.

“There’s a photo of James Keeley on there,” Imhoff explained. “There’s a photo of the fairgrounds in the very early 1900s. It’s a visual to really take you back to that time period.”

One of the most unusual events ever staged at the fairgrounds was the head-on collision of two trains.

"They would take two massive steam locomotives that were about to be decommissioned and smash them into each other and take them for parts,” Imhoff said.

"That’s something I don’t think would pass any sort of liability insurance in today’s world."

Keeley Park became better known as the county fairgrounds over time, but in recent years, Keeley’s name has been restored to the site.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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