Living in Jackson

A True Connection to History

March 19, 2019

Generations of creative energy

Last month we were lucky enough to get a visit from Jackson's long-time resident, Sparry Sparks. Mr. Sparks came along with his wife, Nancy (pictured) to meet with our building owner, Bob LaZebnik (in orange). The reason for this important visit was a tour of office suites and a personal chat about Mr. Spark's Grandfather, William 'Captain' Sparks. Known also as 'Cap Sparks' he was a true entrepreneur and also a 6-time Mayor of Jackson, Mi. An owner of the Sparton Corporation maker of the first electric car horn and many other innovations.

'Cap Sparks' also ran his business operations in our historic Commercial Exchange building, (2301 E. Michigan Avenue). This company made some of the first known decorative radios and television sets ever. One style 'The BlueBird Radio' is an ornate design of crystal and onyx on display at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Mr. Sparks had great stories and we were all thrilled to be in his company while standing in the very office where 'The Captain' officed. This space (pictured) has memorable Art Deco details including an onyx fireplace, original light fixtures and walls adorned in a gradation of cork. One important lasting imprint on our community is the design and building of Jackson's famous man-made Falls, known as The Cascades. This imaginative idea was implemented by Captain Sparks from this very office in the late 1920's and early 1930's. There is real creative energy in this space! Thank you, Sparry Sparks for your time and wonderful history lesson. Reference our 'Jackson, Michigan' tab on this website.