Introduction to Hattiesburg, Mississippi
The Mississippi city of Hattiesburg, county seat of Forrest County, is centrally located, about 90 minutes from the state capital of Jackson and roughly the same distance from New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. Hattiesburg is home to the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, and Camp Shelby, the largest National Guard training base east of the Mississippi River. Known as the "Hub City," Hattiesburg is situated at the intersections of Interstate 59 and U.S. Routes 11, 49, and 98.
Founded in 1882 by pioneer lumberman Captain William H. Hardy and incorporated in 1884, Hattiesburg was originally called Twin Forks and later Gordonville. The city's final name of Hattiesburg was designated in honor of Hardy's wife Hattie. A giant in the timber industry during the late 1800s, Hattiesburg today stands as a principal educational, retail and medical center for the southeast Mississippi region. Despite its geographical location 75 miles inland, Hattiesburg was hit very hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although damage was not catastrophic to the same degree as New Orleans and other coastal areas, around 10,000 structures received major damage of some type, power was out for up to two weeks, and about 80 percent of the city's roads were blocked by trees. Nevertheless, Hattiesburg has been recognized nationally over the last several years for its livability, especially in the area of health care.
Attractions in and around Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg has a lot to offer in terms of arts, culture, and entertainment. Here is a list of some of its more popular attractions:
- Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby: Houses memorabilia from the Civil War, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf Wars
- Library of Hattiesburg: Home to a unique circular mural with historical and contemporary images of South Mississippi
- Flint Creek Water Park: Features four giant waterslides, plus fishing, swimming, water skiing, boating, hiking, and camping
- Pep's Point: A spring-fed lake facility offering a sandy beach, swimming, water slides, boat rentals, and picnic areas
- Degrummond Children's Literature Museum: Located on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi
- Saenger Theater: An elegant 1,000 seat movie palace located in downtown Hattiesburg
- William Carey College Theatre and Carey Dinner Theatre: Musical productions are presented from mid June to late July. Other theater productions are presented in April, October, and November
- Hattiesburg Zoo at Kamper Park
- Hattiesburg's African American Military History Museum
- Hattiesburg Area Historical Society Museum
- Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
- University of Southern Mississippi's Museum of Art
- Lucile Parker Art Gallery at William Carey College
Sports fans will recognize the rich history of the University of Southern Mississippi athletics. The Southern Miss Golden Eagles compete in the C-USA Conference and participate in the NCAA's Division I (Division I-A for football). For professional sports, a fan's best bet is to take the 90-minute drive to New Orleans, where major league caliber sports can be found. The New Orleans Saints of the National Football League play their games in the recently restored Superdome, and basketball fans in New Orleans can watch the NBA's New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.