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Collins, Mississippi
City
Covington County Courthouse in Collins
Covington County Courthouse in Collins
Motto: Come Grow With Us!
Location of Collins, Mississippi
Location of Collins, Mississippi
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Covington
Settled Late 1800s
Incorporated November 24, 1906
Named for Fred W. Collins
Area
 • Total 7.99 sq mi (20.69 km2)
 • Land 7.96 sq mi (20.62 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
Elevation 292 ft (89 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,586
 • Density 325/sq mi (125.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 39428
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-15140
GNIS feature ID 0668700

Collins is a city in Covington County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 2,586 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Covington County.

History

From Williamsburg Depot to Collins

Collins was originally incorporated as Williamsburg Depot in 1899. The Gulf and Ship Island Railroad had completed construction, and bypassed Williamsburg, the county seat at that time. The sawmills moved to the new town of Williamsburg Depot in order to be closer to the railroad. As lumber was an important industry during the time, the town moved with them. Not long after, Williamsburg Depot grew to a town of 6,000 - 7,000 people.

Eventually, the difficulties of having such a long town name, Williamsburg Depot, became clear. The length caused many people to write it over their stamps, voiding the postage. In order to correct this issue, the postmaster asked to have the town name changed in 1905, and the postal service came up with a short and easy name "Bad". For reasons that may be clear, the residents rejected this name, and eventually came up with Collins, in honor of Fred W. Collins, leader of the state's Republican party and U. S. Marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi. The town's name was officially changed on November 24, 1906.

Becoming the County Seat

In 1906, a portion of the west side of Covington County became Jefferson Davis County. As a result, Williamsburg lost its position at the center of the county, and a new county seat was needed. Collins eventually emerged over Seminary and Ora as this location, and a new county courthouse was built. The first court was held in 1908.

Decline and Resurgence

Eventually, the lumber industry in Collins exhausted the timber resources and moved. The town population dwindled from 7,000 to 700. However, industry began to return to the town in 1936 when U.S. 49 and U.S. 84 were built, putting the town at the crossroads of these two major highways. In addition, the Plantation Pipeline was run from Baton Rouge to the east coast. It passed through the community of Kola, which was soon annexed by Collins.

Geography

Collins is located near the center of Covington County, along the southwest side of Okatoma Creek, a tributary of the Bowie River and part of the Pascagoula River watershed.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Collins has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.7 km2), of which 8.0 square miles (20.6 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.37%, is water.

Climate data for Collins, Mississippi (1981-2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 57.8
(14.33)
62.0
(16.67)
69.1
(20.61)
75.7
(24.28)
82.3
(27.94)
88.0
(31.11)
90.3
(32.39)
90.2
(32.33)
85.5
(29.72)
76.7
(24.83)
68.3
(20.17)
59.6
(15.33)
75.46
(24.144)
Daily mean °F (°C) 46.2
(7.89)
50.1
(10.06)
57.0
(13.89)
64.2
(17.89)
71.8
(22.11)
78.1
(25.61)
80.7
(27.06)
80.4
(26.89)
75.1
(23.94)
65.0
(18.33)
56.5
(13.61)
48.4
(9.11)
64.46
(18.032)
Average low °F (°C) 34.6
(1.44)
38.2
(3.44)
45.0
(7.22)
52.6
(11.44)
61.3
(16.28)
68.3
(20.17)
71.1
(21.72)
70.6
(21.44)
64.7
(18.17)
53.3
(11.83)
44.8
(7.11)
37.1
(2.83)
53.47
(11.926)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.69
(144.5)
5.50
(139.7)
5.84
(148.3)
4.84
(122.9)
5.10
(129.5)
4.49
(114)
4.83
(122.7)
4.61
(117.1)
3.90
(99.1)
3.86
(98)
5.05
(128.3)
5.25
(133.4)
58.96
(1,497.6)
Snowfall inches (cm) 0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
0.2
(0.5)
Source: National Weather Forecast Office

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 2,581
1920 1,389 −46.2%
1930 935 −32.7%
1940 1,100 17.6%
1950 1,293 17.5%
1960 1,537 18.9%
1970 1,934 25.8%
1980 2,131 10.2%
1990 2,541 19.2%
2000 2,683 5.6%
2010 2,586 −3.6%
Est. 2015 2,570 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

Population

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,586 people, 910 households, and 597 families residing in the city. The population density was 324.9 people per square mile (125.5/km²). There were 1,026 housing units at an average density of 128.9 per square mile (49.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.2% White, 51.1% African American, 0.01% Native American, 0.03% Asian, 3.4% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.2% of the population.

There were 910 households out of which 65.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were husband and wife couples living together, 27.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

Languagues

According to the 2000 Census, the city's language is mostly homogenous, with 2,280 (96.65%) of the population speaking English as at home. However, there are a marginal amount of Spanish (49 or 2.08%) and French (30 or 1.27%) speakers living in the city.

Income

The median income for a household in the city was $22,661, and the median income for a family was $23,068. Males had a median income of $23,795 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,912. About 34.1% of families and 39.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 59.3% of those under age 18 and 16.5% of those age 65 or over.

Arts & Culture

The city of Collins has various attractions to for both visitors and locals.

Annual Cultural Events

Okatoma Festival

Named after the Okatoma river, which runs through the county, the Okatoma Festival is held the first Saturday in May. It is held in downtown Collins, and features carnival rides, vender booths, and local cuisine. In addition, there is a 5K run held in the morning.

Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch

On Saturdays and Sundays, from the middle of September to the beginning of November, Mitchell Farms hosts the Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch & Maze. The event consists of many attractions, such as wagon rides, corn maze, animal barn, and a goat castle.

Christmas in the Park

From the day after Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas, the Chamber of Commerce hosts "Christmas in the Park". This is a massive, drive through light display that takes up the entirety of Bettie D. Robertson Memorial Park. All items in the display are donations from local individuals. It features secular and religious aspects of the holiday.

The city has recently come under scrutiny as a result of this display. On October 19, 2015, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the City of Collins, on behalf of a local citizen, asking for displays of a religious nature to be removed from the Bettie D. Robertson City Park. The letter stated that, among other things, permanent displays of 3 Latin crosses, a statue of Jesus carrying a cross, and a globe with City of Collins displayed above Matthew 8:12 "I am the Light of the World" are unconstitutional and "tremendously un-welcoming to non-Christians". It asks for immediate removal of the displays from Bettie D. Robertson park. The letter was met with great hostility from the citizens, with some calling for the complainant to leave the county.

Tourism

The city features Grand Paradise Water Park. In addition, Mitchell Farms offers tours of the original farm buildings and event planning services, in addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Okatoma Golf club provides an 18-hole course in Oak Hills Subdivision.

Parks and recreation

There are two major parks in the city of Collins: Bettie D. Robertson and Westside Park. Robertson Park is home to "Christmas in the Park, and features athletic fields, a walking track and playground. There is also a duck pond and bird sanctuary. Westside Park features basketball courts and a playground as well.

Hurricane Katrina and Duryea Adopt-A-Town

In September 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck Collins. As most aid agencies were concentrating on major metropolitan areas such as New Orleans, small towns like Collins were seemingly overlooked. Duryea, Pennsylvania, which had experienced similar flooding as the result of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, sought a town similar in size and demographics to "adopt" and help rebuild after the devastation wrought by the largest natural disaster in the history of the town. By hosting a bazaar and through other various fundraising efforts, Duryea helped rebuild. Collins Mayor V.O. Smith and his wife, Ada, flew to Duryea to thank their mayor Keith Moss, organizer Trina Moss and the townspeople of Duryea. This led to a bond between the two towns and has included several visits to both towns.

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