Ella Sharp Park is located on 562 acres along the banks of the Southwest Branch of the Grand River in beautiful Jackson, Michigan. The various topographies of the park range from relatively flat to heavily rolling and hilly. This geology provides a great location for a park full of fun and activities for everyone. The park’s borders hold a challenging golf course, beautiful flower gardens, miles of hiking trails, basketball courts, soccer fields, a golf learning center, softball fields, and many other facilities for athletics and casual enjoyment of the outdoors.
The acquisition of parks throughout the history of Jackson was largely the result of donations by civic-minded citizens. The largest park donation to the city was made by Ella W. Sharp who bequeathed her farm to the City to be developed as a park and maintained through a trust fund from her estate. Ella Sharp died in November 1912, and an executor was appointed December 1912. The Jackson Common Council accepted the gift January 1913 and appointed a three member board of trustees who defined the property boundaries in 1914 and commissioned Winiford C. Trout to design the park. Mr. Trout began development of the former 530-acre farm of Ella W. Sharp in 1915 with $40,000 from a trust fund she had left to the City of Jackson. Working with Fargo Engineering Company, Mr. Trout laid out the park roadways, planned the picnic and play areas, including the golf course, tennis courts, and ball diamonds, as well as the gardens. He served as park supervisor for more than 20 years, living with his wife and daughter in the Sharp home which has become the Ella Sharp Museum.