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Greenville, Mississippi
Greenville Welcome Sign.jpg
Nickname(s): 
The Heart & Soul of The Delta
Motto(s): 
The Best Food, Shopping, & Entertainment In The South
Location of Greenville in Washington County
Location of Greenville in Washington County
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Country  United States
State  Mississippi
County Washington
Incorporated June 24, 1870
(152 years ago)
 (1870-06-24)
Government
 • Type Municipal Government
Area
 • City 27.67 sq mi (71.66 km2)
 • Land 26.89 sq mi (69.66 km2)
 • Water 0.77 sq mi (2.00 km2)
Elevation
131 ft (40 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 34,400
 • Estimate 
(2019)
29,085
 • Density 1,081.43/sq mi (417.55/km2)
 • Urban
38,300
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
38701–38704, 38731
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-29180
GNIS feature ID 0670711
Website www.greenvillems.org

Greenville is a city in, and the county seat of, Washington County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 34,400 at the 2010 census. It is located in the area of historic cotton plantations and culture known as the Mississippi Delta.

History

This area was occupied by indigenous peoples when explored by the French, who established a colony at Natchez, Mississippi, the home of the historic Natchez people, and later European-American colonists. The United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, and forced most of the Southeastern tribes to Indian Territory during the following decade.

Greenville was founded in 1824 by William W. Blanton, who filed for land from the United States government. He was granted section four, township eighteen, range eight west. This plot now constitutes most of downtown Greenville.

Greenville became the county seat in 1844. The two previous county seats, New Mexico and Princeton, had both caved into the Mississippi River.

The current city of Greenville is the third in the State to bear the name. The first, located to the south near Natchez, became defunct soon after the American Revolution as European-American settlement was concentrated to the east.

The second is the parent city to the present one and was settled in the early 19th century. It was named by its founders for General Nathanael Greene, beloved friend of George Washington, for whom the county was named. This Greenville was located three miles from the present site. Today it is the site of the city’s industrial fill. The second town was a thriving hamlet in the days before the Civil War. As county seat, it was the trading, business, and cultural center for the large cotton plantations that surrounded it. Most plantations were located directly on the Mississippi and other major navigable tributaries. The interior bottomlands were not developed until after the war.

The town was destroyed during the Union Army's actions related to the siege of Vicksburg. Troops from a Union gunboat landed at Greenville. In retaliation for being fired upon, they burned every building. The inhabitants took refuge in plantation homes of the area. When the war ended, veterans of Mississippi regiments found Greenville in a state of ruin. The former residents soon decided to build again. The place chosen was the highest point on the Mississippi River between the towns of Vicksburg and Memphis. Much of the land then belonged to the Roach and Blanton families; the major part of the area selected was on property owned by Mrs. Harriet Blanton Theobald. She welcomed the idea of a new Greenville, donating land for schools, churches and public buildings. She was called the "Mother of Greenville". Major Richard O’Hea, who had planned the wartime defense fortifications at Vicksburg, was hired to lay out the new town.

Greenville recovered prosperity, still based on cotton, despite its decline. Residences and other buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a center of Delta culture in the early 20th century.

Nelson Street

African Americans in the Delta developed rich varieties of innovative music. Nelson Street is a historic strip of blues clubs that drew crowds in the 1940s and 1950s to the flourishing club scene to hear Delta blues, big band, jump blues and jazz. Record companies came here to recruit talent. It was the equivalent of Beale Street in mid-20th century Memphis.

The Mississippi Blues Commission was established to commemorate this music in Mississippi history and culture; it has identified sites throughout the Delta as part of the Mississippi Blues Trail. Southern Whispers Restaurant on Nelson Street was the second site identified on this trail; this was a stop on the chitlin' circuit in the early days of the blues. The historic marker in front of the restaurant commemorates the importance of this site in the history of the development of the blues in Mississippi.

Geography

Walnut street 1994 b
Walnut Street, 1994

Greenville is located on the eastern bank of Lake Ferguson, an oxbow lake left from an old channel of the Mississippi River. One floating casino is located on the lake near the downtown area known as the Lighthouse Point Casino, with a second just west of the city near the Greenville Bridge known as Harlow's Casino Resort. Chicago Mill and Lumber Co. operated a lumber mill on the lake two-tenths of a mile south of the casino levee parking lot; the mill specialized in making hardwood boxes until it closed.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.7 square miles (72 km2), of which 26.9 square miles (70 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) (2.82%) is water.

Gamyn Park Historic District
Gamwyn Park Historic District, Bounded by Gamwyn Park Dr., N. Gamwyn Dr., E. Gamwyn Dr., S. Dr., and W. Gamwyn Dr. Greenville

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 760
1870 890 17.1%
1880 2,191 146.2%
1890 6,658 203.9%
1900 7,642 14.8%
1910 9,610 25.8%
1920 11,560 20.3%
1930 14,807 28.1%
1940 20,892 41.1%
1950 29,936 43.3%
1960 41,502 38.6%
1970 39,648 −4.5%
1980 40,613 2.4%
1990 45,226 11.4%
2000 41,633 −7.9%
2010 34,400 −17.4%
2019 (est.) 29,085 −15.5%
Sources:
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2020 census

Greenville Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 4,821 16.25%
Black or African American 23,787 80.17%
Native American 33 0.11%
Asian 264 0.89%
Pacific Islander 3 0.01%
Other/Mixed 493 1.66%
Hispanic or Latino 269 0.91%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 29,670 people, 12,142 households, and 7,405 families residing in the city.

2013 ACS

As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 33,928 people living in the city. 75.9% were African American, 21.7% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.9% from some other race and 0.7% from two or more races. 1.2% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

1990 census

As of the census of 1990, there were 45,226 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 59.41% (26,867) Black or African American, 39.54% (17,881) White, 0.08% (37) Native American, 0.41% (185) Asian, and 0.01% (4) from other races. 0.56% (252) were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Transportation

Air

Greenville Mid Delta Regional Airport, located in unincorporated Washington County, northeast of downtown Greenville, serves the city and the Mississippi Delta region. Commercial passenger air service is currently provided by Contour Airlines with nonstop Embraer regional jet flights to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Nashville (BNA).

Highway

U.S. Highway 82, U.S. Highway 61 and the Great River Road (Mississippi Highway 1) are the main transportation arteries through the Greenville area. U.S. Highway 82 is a major part of the Mississippi Delta's transportation network, as it connects to Interstate 55 and other major four-lane highways. In addition, the U.S. Highway 82 bypass is being constructed to provide a transportation route at the southern end of the Delta, connecting at the new Mississippi River Bridge and ending near Leland. The four-lane Greenville Bridge, a $206 million cable-stayed span crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas, opened in 2010, replacing the two-lane Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge, which opened in 1940.

Rail

The Columbus and Greenville Railway operates the Greenwood–Greenville rail line for freight traffic. North of Greenville, the Great River Railroad's line to Rosedale branches off.

Sites

The Winterville Mounds Historic Site, with more than twelve earthwork mounds constructed by people of the Plaquemine Mississippian culture, is a survival north of the county seat of the deep indigenous history along the Mississippi River. This culture was particularly prominent from 13th to the 15th centuries, long before European exploration. Earthwork mounds were built by peoples in this area from the 9th century. The people in this region were influenced by the larger Mississippian culture, which built similar ceremonial sites throughout the Mississippi Valley and its tributaries. The historic Natchez people are considered the only contemporary surviving group of the Mississippian culture at the time of European exploration.

The Winterville Mounds has been designated as a state park and National Historic Landmark. A museum on the grounds displays artifacts recovered in professional excavations and adds to the interpretation of this complex, and the park has walking trails. It is located about 3 miles north of the city. It can be reached at 2415 Highway 1 N.

Sister cities

Economy

Circa 2008 there were ten grocery stores operated by ethnic Chinese people. There were 42 such stores in the city in 1951, but since then there had been a flight of ethnic Chinese from the Delta.

Sports

The Greenville Bucks were a minor-league baseball team in the Cotton States League from 1922 to 1955.

The Greenville Bluesmen were an independent minor league professional baseball team from 1996–2001 in Greenville.

The Mississippi Miracles, formerly the Mississippi Stingers, were an American Basketball Association franchise from 2004–2006 in Greenville.

Greenville will become host to a mega-sports complex for young athletes.

Education

Most of Greenville is served by the Greenville Public School District, while a small portion of the city lies in the Western Line School District. Greenville High School is the public high school of the Greenville district, while O'Bannon High School serves Western Line residents.

The private schools, Washington School and Greenville Christian School, also serve the city, as well as St. Joseph Catholic School (K-12), a parochial school which is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson. The diocese formerly operated Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School, which merged into St. Joseph in 2016.

The Greenville Higher Education Center offers non-credit community courses and credit courses from Delta State University, Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC), and Mississippi Valley State University. All of Washington County is in the service area of MDCC.

Notable people

Born in Greenville

Greenville-related

  • Ray Brown, NFL football player
  • Hodding Carter, Pulitzer Prize-journalist, managed the city's Delta Democrat Times. His descendant Hodding Carter III, also a journalist, lived and worked here during and after the civil rights movement.
  • Holt Collier is buried in Greenville. Collier was an African-American bear hunter and sportsman; he served as the guide for President Theodore Roosevelt on a bear hunt in Sharkey County. In January 2004 the Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge was established on Collier's "historic hunting grounds" south of Greenville.
  • Samuel Gibbs French (1818-1910), Confederate Major General, managed a plantation in Greenville
  • John F. Harris, Mississippi State Representative from Greenville elected in 1890.
  • Clarke Reed, Mississippi state Republican chairman from 1966 to 1976, was instrumental in the nomination of Gerald R. Ford, Jr., at the 1976 Republican National Convention, has resided in Greenville since 1950; he is a businessman and investor.

Images for kids

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