Back over 100 years ago, Jackson's beloved Michigan Avenue was originally called Main Street.....and wow, what a scene it was. The sidewalks and shops, were so crowded, people had to walk in the street.

One of the fondest memories any longtime Jacksonian could have is spending time shopping for the holidays on downtown Michigan Avenue. It all began when we were kids and our moms would drag us all down there while they did their shopping.

One way the moms would placate the kids would be to take them into Woolworth's, where there were plenty of things for kids to see, touch, and wish for...and then whine “I wannit! I wannit!” for a length of time. Comics, lunch counter for a burger or ice cream, loved going to Woolworth's.

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But taking a kid downtown wasn't all fun...for the kid. We were dragged down there to go to a doctor's office and either get a shot or get scraped for allergies. Or we'd be hauled into a shoe store and try on endless pairs of shoes until mom found the pair that SHE wanted you to have.  Forget the PF Flyers, Red Ball Jets, or Keds sneakers...we got stuck with black or brown dress shoes that hurt our feet. Or worse yet, you'd be stuck waiting around in a women's shop while mom looked for that perfect slip, brassiere, or underwear....and then your friends would walk by the window and see you.

The fun wasn't over, though. There was the Capitol Theatre right there on Michigan Avenue, the Michigan Theatre right around the corner, and for a while, the Family Theatre. Then in the late 60s Record Hut was on the SW corner of Michigan and Mechanic where we went when we were old enough to drive ourselves downtown.

The Fairy Gardens Chinese restaurant, Field's, the downtown Big Boy restaurant and others I enjoyed as a kid are all dust in the wind.

The photos in the gallery below reveal shops and stores that are somewhat older than our youth days, however. These images (from when Michigan Avenue was once called 'Main Street') are mostly from the early 1900s-1920s, one from 1898, and are all curiously fun to see. Have a look!

Main Street (Now Michigan Avenue), Jackson: 1898-1920s


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Michigan's Old Main Streets, Part 4

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