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Greenville, Mississippi
City of Greenville
Washington Avenue Greenville.jpg
Nickname(s): The Heart & Soul of The Delta
Motto: The Best Food, Shopping, & Entertainment In The South
Location of Greenville in Washington County
Location of Greenville in Washington County
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
County Washington
 • City 71.6 km2 (27.757 sq mi)
 • Land 69.6 km2 (26.9 sq mi)
 • Water 2.0 km2 (0.8 sq mi)
Elevation 40 m (131 ft)
Population (United States Census 2010)
 • City 34,400
 • Density 793/km2 (1,279/sq mi)
 • Urban 34,400
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 38700–38799
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-29180
GNIS feature ID 0670711

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


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.


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


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%
Est. 2015 32,156 −6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 Estimate

As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 33,928 people residing 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.

As of the census of 2000, there were 41,633 people, 18,784 households, and 14,422 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,548.8 people per square mile (598.0/km²). There were 16,251 housing units at an average density of 604.6 per square mile (233.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 28.92% White, 69.60% Black, 0.07% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.71% of the population.

There were 14,784 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.8% were married couples living together, 27.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. Of all households, 25.8% were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city, the population was spread out with 31.4% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,928, and the median income for a family was $30,788. Males had a median income of $29,801 versus $20,707 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,992. About 25.7% of families and 29.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.2% of those under age 18 and 23.6% of those age 65 or over.


Greenville Bridge-1
Greenville Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge crossing the Mississippi River.


Greenville Mid Delta Regional Airport, located in unincorporated Washington County, northeast of downtown Greenville, serves the city and the Mississippi Delta region.Commercial air service is provided by Boutique Air with daily nonstop flights to Nashville, TN and Dallas, TX.


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.


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.

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