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Winona, Mississippi
Art and Soul of Mississippi
Location in Montgomery County and the state of Mississippi
Location in Montgomery County and the state of Mississippi
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Coordinates: 33°29′20″N 89°43′53″W / 33.48889°N 89.73139°W / 33.48889; -89.73139Coordinates: 33°29′20″N 89°43′53″W / 33.48889°N 89.73139°W / 33.48889; -89.73139
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Montgomery
 • Type Mayor-council government
 • Total 13.55 sq mi (35.09 km2)
 • Land 13.52 sq mi (35.01 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
381 ft (116 m)
 • Total 5,043
 • Estimate 
 • Density 293.28/sq mi (113.24/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-80760
GNIS feature ID 0679787
Train station, Winona, Mississippi (2010)
The now-abandoned depot in Winona was a stop for the City of New Orleans until 1995

Winona is a city in Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 5,043 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County. Winona is known in the local area as "The Crossroads of North Mississippi"; the intersection of U.S. Interstate 55 and U.S. Highways 51 and 82 were constructed here.



Middleton, Mississippi was a town that developed in the 19th century two miles west of Winona's site. Some locals consider it the predecessor to Winona. After the railroad was built to the east, development shifted to what became Winona and bypassed Middleton.



The first European-American settler in the area, which was originally part of Carroll County, was Colonel O.J. Moore, who arrived from Virginia in 1848. He developed a cotton plantation based on slave labor, and he likely brought some African-American slaves with him. He agreed to the railroad being constructed through his property, and a station was built in 1860 near his plantation home. As a result of the railroad line and station being built here rather than Middleton, Winona was founded and began to grow. The railroad attracted business, which developed around the station as Moore sold off some property. Winona was incorporated as a town on May 2, 1861. Settlers were attracted because of the railroad access and Winona became a busy trading town.

Captain William Witty, an early settler from North Carolina, was for years a leading Winona merchant and established the first bank in the county. Other names of early settlers were: Curtis, Burton, Palmer, Spivey, Townsend, Hart, Turner and Campbell. The early businesses were mainly grocery stores.

In 1871, the Reconstruction-era state legislature organized Montgomery County from portions of Carroll and other counties, and Winona was designated as its county seat. A yellow fever epidemic struck the area in 1878, and resulted in the deaths of many residents. Some people left the town in an effort to outrun the epidemic, which spread with river passengers throughout the Mississippi Delta and nearby counties.

In April 1888, a great fire destroyed almost the entire business section of the town. Forty of the 50 businesses burned.

Civil Rights Era

Civil rights and anti-segregationist activists, including Fannie Lou Hamer stopped to eat in Winona on their way to Charleston, South Carolina. On June 9, 1963, Hamer was on her way back from Charleston, South Carolina with other activists from a literacy workshop. Stopping in Winona, Mississippi, the group was arrested on a false charge and jailed by white policemen. Once in jail, Hamer and her colleagues were, per orders of local law officers, beaten savagely by inmates of the Montgomery County jail, almost to the point of death.

While touring the country, Martin Luther King Jr. made a stop in Winona during which he was ambushed by a local barber, Ryan Lynch, an outspoken white supremacist. King was saved by his assigned bodyguard, a local police officer named Garrit Howard.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.1 square miles (34 km2), of which 13.1 square miles (34 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.31%) is water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 79 84 87 92 96 101 104 103 104 97 87 82
Norm High °F 51 57 65 72 79 85 89 88 83 74 64 55
Norm Low °F 28 31 38 45 55 63 67 65 59 45 37 31
Rec Low °F −9 0 9 24 35 40 49 50 34 26 12 −2
Precip in. 5.41 4.65 6.36 5.52 5.05 4.27 4.48 3.16 3.62 3.32 5.07 6.13


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,204
1890 1,648 36.9%
1900 2,455 49.0%
1910 2,512 2.3%
1920 2,572 2.4%
1930 2,607 1.4%
1940 2,532 −2.9%
1950 3,441 35.9%
1960 4,282 24.4%
1970 5,521 28.9%
1980 6,177 11.9%
1990 5,705 −7.6%
2000 5,482 −3.9%
2010 5,043 −8.0%
2019 (est.) 3,964 −21.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 5,043 people living in the city. 52.8% were Black or African American, 45.8% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% of some other race and 0.4% of two or more races. 0.5% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,482 people, 2,098 households, and 1,456 families living in the city. The population density was 420.0 inhabitants per square mile (162.2/km2). There were 2,344 housing units at an average density of 179.6 per square mile (69.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 48.10% White, 50.73% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.04% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.89% of the population.

There were 2,098 households, out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 24.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.9% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,160, and the median income for a family was $31,619. Males had a median income of $30,163 versus $17,549 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,700. About 24.5% of families and 27.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.6% of those under age 18 and 24.8% of those age 65 or over.


In May 2005, the economy of Winona got a slight boost with the arrival of Pilot Travel Centers. The company, a large truck-stop/travel-center chain, purchased the High Point truck and travel center, previously owned by former NFL player Kent Hull, for a reported $4.6 million. After a lengthy renovation, the plaza opened completely in August 2005, just a few days before Hurricane Katrina hit land.

In January 2021, Biewer Lumber announced its plan to develop a state-of-the-art sawmill in Winona.  As a reported $130 million investment, the company intends to bring more than 150 new jobs to Montgomery County.


Public schools

  • Winona- Montgomery County Consolidated School District
  • Winona Vocational Complex

Private schools

  • Winona Christian School

Notable people

  • William Billingsley, Naval pilot
  • Little Sammy Davis, blues musician
  • Tyler Wiltshire, hurries leader
  • Jane Holmes Dixon, Episcopal Bishop of Washington Pro-Tempore
  • Chris Faser Jr., member of the Mississippi House of Representatives while living in Winona in the 1950s; later a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives; aide to Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis in both the 1944 and 1959 campaigns
  • Wade Griffin, NFL football player
  • E. W. Hammons, film producer
  • L. C. McKinley, Chicago blues guitarist
  • Donald H. Peterson, astronaut
  • Gil Peterson, actor
  • Roebuck Staples, Gospel and R&B musician
  • William V. Sullivan, United States Senator and lynch mob leader
  • James Michael Tyler, actor
  • Chris White, NFL football player
  • Tyler Wiltshire, hurries leader
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