Hattiesburg, Mississippi: A Rich History Of the South Blended with a Love For Football


Hattiesburg, Mississippi may have a history embedded in the lumber industry, but it’s the location and beauty of the area that has drawn residents and visitors alike.  It may therefore be surprising to find out that Hattiesburg has also played an important role in U.S. Government Cold War activities and that they are avid sports fans. The University of Southern Mississippi proudly calls its home in Hattiesburg and they are proud of the M.M. Roberts Stadium, home to The Golden Eagles football team.  This pride is seen at any given game, with all eyes on the football scoreboards to cheer their team on.

The original inhabitants of the area we now call Hattiesburg was the Native American Choctaw Tribe. Hattiesburg was named after the founder’s wife, Hattie and originally had around four hundred European American settlers in its early days.  When the railroad service was built, Hattiesburg, like many towns, began to experience prosperity. The railroad began the bloodline for transportation of goods and supplies.  This connected their booming lumber industry with a deep waterway to the Gulf.  Hattiesburg actually became a center focal point for a number of railway lines and earned itself the name of “The Hub City”.

The United States Government recognized the important location and built a fort, a number of hospitals and schools. As the Cold War encroached on the country, the salt domes located in Hattiesburg were used for nuclear experimentations with detonations underground as a method of measurement. The experiments were halted when it was deemed that the radiation levels would eventually be too high for the environment.

The Civil Rights Movement was played out in Hattiesburg.  When a Black American Korean War Veteran applied and was then denied attendance of a local college, mysterious charges were filed against him which landed him in prison. This prompted years of negative notoriety for the Hattiesburg area to prove the lack of equality and attempt to change the politics. Protests and rallies were held on the topic of racial inequality which eventually led to the involvement of the local Ku Klux Klan in an attack on a local Black leader.  The point was made that Black Americans could not vote in the area and it was a terrible price to pay.

In later years, Hattiesburg began to refurbish and upgrade their historical areas. The realization that the town could invite visitors and tourists gave them the opportunity to add hotels, restaurants and shopping. Gala events and festivals are now held with year round attendance.

The residents of Hattiesburg are avid supporters of the local college sports. The Roberts stadium is filled to capacity as the area cheers their football teams on, with scores updated on the football scoreboards. The natural beauty of the area also offered the addition of some of the best golfing greens around. A visitor can canoe down the river and attend one of the many plays in the theatre.  Hattiesburg has spent many years growing their community and displaying an enlightened attitude.  The residents take pride in their city and offer anyone that stops by a wonderful touch of southern hospitality.  The restaurants in the area may have a multicultural selection, but it’s the down home southern cooking that attracts people from all over the country.  Hattiesburg is a little touch of the south, with a warm welcome to everyone that visits.

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