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About Our City

Hattiesburg Today

Positioned at the fork of the Leaf and Bouie Rivers - the heart of south Mississippi's rolling piney woods - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, provides a unique blend of affordability and high standard of living for nearly 50,000 residents. Hattiesburg is the educational, retail and medical center for more than a quarter of a million people who live throughout the southeast Mississippi region and is also the home of the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, and Camp Shelby.

Hattiesburg is known as the "Hub City" because it is located at the intersections of Interstate 59 and U.S. Highways 49, 98 and 11. Hattiesburg is centrally located less than 100 miles from the state capital of Jackson as well as the Gulf Coast, New Orleans and Mobile. This growing micropolitan area that includes Hattiesburg, Forrest and Lamar Counties, was designated a Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1994 with a combined population of more than 100,000 residents.


Livability

During the last several years, Hattiesburg has been recognized nationally for its livability including the following areas:

  • Healthcare

  • Most Popular Destinations

  • Retirement Communities

  • Business Relocation

For more details on what the world is saying about Hattiesburg, see the City Accolades section! Continued economic expansion during the past few years has made Hattiesburg one of the most dynamic and fastest growing areas in the Southeast. With its economic beginnings in the timber industry of the late 1800s, to the mobilization of the military in 1915 and World War II at Camp Shelby, to the prosperous growth of the 1990s, Hattiesburg stands ready to move into the 21st century as a progressive, economically healthy community that nurtures a quality of life second to none.

Information provided by the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership


Our City's History

Hattiesburg was founded in 1882 by Captain William H. Hardy, pioneer lumberman and civil engineer. Early settlers to the area were of Scottish, Irish, and English desent who came from Georgia and the Carolinas, attracted by the vast acreage of virgin pine timberlands. This was an area of rich promise at a time when renewed development of the South was getting under way.

The City of Hattiesburg was incorporated in 1884 with a population of approximately 400. Originally called Twin Forks and later Gordonville, Hardy gave the city its final name of Hattiesburg, in honor of his wife Hattie. Also in 1884, the railroad, known as the Southern Railway System, was built from Meridian through Hattiesburg to New Orleans.

The commercial value of the great virgin timber stands was quickly recognized and, for a time, timberland was available for as little as 50 cents to $1.50 an acre. Mills sprang up; naval store plants came on the heels of the timber industry, and turpentine stills became as numerous as the sawmills. The completion of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad from Gulfport to Jackson, now part of the Illinois Central System, ran through Hattiesburg and ushered in the real lumber boom in 1897. Though it was 20 years in the building, the railroad more than fulfilled its promise.

It gave the state a deep water harbor, more than doubled the population of towns along its route, built the City of Gulfport and made Hattiesburg a railroad center. After World War I, Hattiesburg found a new way of life became necessary. The people of the region were able to adjust themselves and proved willing find new and diverse ways of making a living bringing with them further population booms.

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Information provided by the Hattiesburg Convention & Visitors Bureau