See Rock City

See Rock City

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hernando, MS

Hernando is a city in central DeSoto County, Mississippi. The population was 6,812 at the 2000 census. The 2006 census estimate reflects a population of 10,580. Hernando is the county seat of DeSoto County, the second most populous county in the Memphis metropolitan area.[1]. US Hwy 51 and the I-55 freeway traverse the entire city from north to south. Hernando's historic downtown square, which surrounds the county courthouse, sits at the intersection of Commerce St. and US-51.

Famous residents:

Frank Stokes, blues musician,

Garfield Akers, blues musician,

North Mississippi Allstars, blues-rock band,

George "Wild Child" Butler, blues musician,

Historical Facts:

1541 Hernando DeSoto discovers Mississippi River.

1817 Mississippi enters the Union as the 20th state,

1832 Treaty of Pontotoc Creek signed; Chickasaw Indians cede lands to U.S. government.

1833 Settlement of Jefferson (known today as Hernando) established,

1836 Mississippi Legislature designates Hernando as county seat of DeSoto County

Edward Orne of Boston & Mississippi Land Co. gives 40 acres for county seat site

Fred de Funick maps city.

First courthouse built one-quarter mile south of town square.

1839 First newspaper, the Hernando Free Press, established with Felix LaBauve as


1840 Town of Hernando incorporated,

1841 Bill passed to incorporate the Commerce, Hernando and Eastport Railroad,

1845 Nathan Bedford Forrest elected constable of Hernando,

1846 - Patton Anderson forms company from DeSoto County during Mexican War

Nathan Bedford Forrest elected coroner of DeSoto County.

1852 Construction begins on Hernando Plank Road; Mississippi & Tennessee chartered.

1855 Memphis to Hernando Railroad link completed.

Second courthouse built on Hernando Square,

1861 Civil War begins,

1863 Union troops burn Hernando courthouse,

1864 Nathan Bedford Forrest leads famous raids into Memphis,

1866 First school board organized in DeSoto County,

1870 Congress votes Mississippi back into Union,

1871 First free public school in county, Hernando Male Academy, formed,

1872 "French Castle" court house completed.

First free school for blacks established in county,

1876 Yellow Fever epidemic hits Hernando,

1879 Felix LaBauve dies, leaves endowment for University of Mississippi

scholarships for orphans.

1890 Hernando Bank chartered,

First high school established in Hernando,

Mississippi/Tennessee border agreed upon by both states,

Mississippi constitution approved,

1893 First black high school established,

1900 Smallpox epidemic hits Hernando,

1901 First free nine month school, Randle University, opens in Hernando,

1913 County’s first automobile agency, Ford dealership opens in Hernando,

1929 Great depression; Alma Gray Horn writes History of DeSoto County 1836 to 1861.

1940 French Castle courthouse burns,

1942 New courthouse completed,

1943 Arkabutla Lake dam completed.

1953 Goldsmith's donates DeSoto murals to county,

1970 Integration of public schools.

1973 Hernando civic clubs purchase property for youth baseball and horse shows known

as Hernando Civic Center.

1978 Hernando Industrial Park developed,

1988 John Grisham publishes A Time to Kill, with scenes depicting Hernando,

1989 City of Hernando hires first full time fireman,

1990 Movie Blind Vengence, starring Gerald McRainey is filmed on Hernando Court


1997 Hernando becomes first Small Towns Main Street program in state of Mississippi

DeSoto County Courthouse, Hernando Court Square placed on National Register of

Historic Places.

2000 Census data reflects town’s population doubles since 1990,

2002 Hernando leads DeSoto County in highest average price of homes sold.

Mississippi Department of Transportation begins work on New Highway 304 bypass.

2003 Historic DeSoto Museum opens,

First Regional Library completes expansion and renovation,

City and Chamber of Commerce launch community website,

2005 City and Chamber of Commerce launch improved community website.

The Main Street Story

On May 13, 1997, Hernando joined the elite ranks of approximately a dozen other Mississippi communities by becoming a part of Main Street, U.S.A., a downtown revitalization program that has transformed downtowns throughout the country.

The program, which is administered nationally by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and, at the state level, the Mississippi Main Street Association, uses a four-point approach - organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring - to preserve, promote and enhance the downtown areas of historic communities.
In the decade that has followed its induction into the program, Hernando has become an example of what downtown revitalization is all about.

"From humble beginnings in 1997, Hernando Main Street has established itself as one of the shining stars in the Mississippi Main Street Association network which now totals 51 active Main Street programs," said Mississippi Main Street Executive Director Bob Wilson. "We are extremely proud of Hernando for all its accomplishments and plans for continued growth and development in the years to come."

On May 11, 2007 - nearly 10 years to the day that it received its designation as a Main Street community - Hernando celebrated its anniversary and released some very impressive statistics related to the program.

According to program estimates, Main Street has either directly or indirectly influenced more than $40 million in public and private reinvestment and sparked nearly 40 new businesses and 100 new jobs in Hernando's downtown area.

The program has also fostered a new spirit of community pride and beautification throughout the town.

"This program has made a visible impact on how local residents and visitors alike see our community," said Hernando Main Street/Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian Goff. "As a result, Hernando is, today, a very desirable place to live, shop and visit. And, its appeal continues to increase on a daily basis."

Defined by the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad to the north and east; Oak Grove Road to the south and Scott Road to the west, the Hernando Main Street district includes a broad mix of buildings and business uses. The district encompasses everything from residential neighborhoods to professional offices, restaurants and upscale retail shops. In addition, city and county government offices are located downtown - along with the DeSoto County Museum.

Throughout the year, Hernando Main Street and other local community organizations host a plethora of events within the Main Street district. Many of these events such as the Hernando A'Fair, Celebration of Art and the Hernando Music & Heritage Festival, take place on the historic town square. But, others such as the Hernando Christmas Open House and the Hernando Christmas Parade are far more reaching than just the square.

"Downtown is a true asset of our community and our county," Goff said. "Through the Main Street program, we are able to help preserve and promote those assets - along with other historic areas of our community so that more and more people can appreciate them each and every day."