Originally named Twin Forks, then Gordonville, the town secured its final name, Hattiesburg, when its founder Captain William H. Hardy named the town in honor of his wife Hattie. Founded in 1882, Hattiesburg quickly became known for its vast acreage. As a result, the timber and railroad industries moved in and secured Hattiesburg future.
Although Hattiesburg is one of Mississippi's largest cities, it retains a number of qualities that make it incredibly attractive to visitors. Its historic districts, which reflect its growth throughout the years, are just one example. In fact, Hattiesburg proudly preserves one of the largest historic districts in the region, encompassing 115 acres. One such district is Hub City Historic District. Hub City shows Hattiesburg's change from railroad stop to a large, well-developed city. Landmarks of this region include the Old Federal Courthouse, and the impressive Art Deco styled Saenger Theater, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The wealth Hattiesburg enjoyed during the late 1800s and early 1900s is apparent when one visits Main Street. Homes here reflect a variety of styles, which only adds to its charm.
Of special note is the Mobile Street Historic District, which represents the accomplishments of Hattiesburg's African American community. The Freedom Summer Trail, a driving tour with over a dozen sites, educates visitors on the places and people of importance during Freedom Summer 1964.
Bicycling, bird watching, and hiking are just some of the activities enjoyed on Longleaf Trace, a rails to trails project that offers 39 miles of paved trail. An equestrian trail parallels much of the paved trail. Paul B. Johnson State Park is another stop for those who enjoy the outdoors. The park's 300-acre lake begs visitors to jump in a paddleboat or canoe, and explore.
Visitors should find the time to experience the Hattiesburg Zoo at Kamper Park. A miniature train runs through the 21-acre zoo, and features a special African section where monkeys, zebra and ostrich abound.
University of Southern Mississippi draws many young men and women from around the country, and helps keep Hattiesburg's nightlife hop.
Hattiesburg is located in the southern portion of Mississippi, approximately 90 miles south of Jackson and 70 miles north of the Gulf Coast.