Starkville, Mississippi

Starkville, Mississippi

Cotton District
Nickname(s): StarkVegas,[1] Boardtown[2]

Location of Starkville, Mississippi
Starkville, Mississippi

Location in the United States

Coordinates: 33°27′45″N 88°49′12″W / 33.46250°N 88.82000°W / 33.46250; -88.82000
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
County Oktibbeha
City 1835
  Type Mayor-Council government
  Mayor Parker Wiseman (D)[3]
  Total 25.8 sq mi (66.9 km2)
  Land 25.7 sq mi (66.5 km2)
  Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 335 ft (102 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 23,888
  Density 851.4/sq mi (328.7/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 39759-39760
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-70240
GNIS feature ID 0678227
Website City of Starkville

Starkville is a city in and the county seat of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, United States.[4] The Starkville Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Oktibbeha County. The population was 23,888 at the 2010 census.

Starkville is an anchor of the Golden Triangle region of northeast Mississippi which consists of Starkville, Columbus, and West Point.

The campus of Mississippi State University is located adjacent to and partially within the east of Starkville. As of the fall of 2011, MSU has over 20,000 undergraduate students,[5] more than 4,000 graduate students, and more than 1,300 staff. The university is also the largest employer of Starkville. Students have created a ready audience for the Magnolia Film Festival. Held every February, it is the oldest film festival in the state. Other major events held in Starkville and heavily supported by the MSU Student Body are the Dudy Gras Parade, Cotton District Arts Festival, Super Bulldog Weekend, Old Main Music Festival, Ragtime & Jazz Music Festival, and Bulldog Bash.


The Starkville area has been inhabited for over 2100 years. Artifacts in the form of clay pot fragments and artwork dating from that time period have been found east of Starkville at the Herman Mound and Village site, a National Historic Register site that can be accessed from the Indian Mound Campground. Shortly before the American Revolutionary War period, the area was inhabited by the Choccuma (or Chakchiuma) tribe, who were annihilated about that time by a rare alliance between the Choctaw and Chickasaw.[6] The modern early settlement of the Starkville area was started after the Choctaw inhabitants of Oktibbeha County surrendered their claims to land in the area in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. White settlers were drawn to the Starkville area because of two large springs. A mill southwest of town provided clapboards which gave the town its original name, Boardtown. In 1835, Boardtown was established as the county seat of Oktibbeha County and its name was changed to Starkville in honor of Revolutionary War hero General John Stark.[7]

On March 21, 2006, Starkville became the first city in Mississippi to adopt a smoking ban for indoor public places, including restaurants and bars. This ordinance went into effect on May 20, 2006.[8]


Starkville is located at 33°27′45″N 88°49′12″W / 33.46250°N 88.82000°W / 33.46250; -88.82000 (33.462471, -88.819990).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.8 square miles (66.9 km²), of which 25.7 square miles (66.5 km²) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) (0.58%) is water.

US Highway 82 and Mississippi Highways 12 and 25 are major roads through Starkville. The nearest airport with scheduled service is Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR). George M. Bryan Field (KSTF) serves as Starkville's general aviation airport. There are multiple privately owned airstrips in the area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201525,366[10]6.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
Downtown Starkville, Mississippi
Montgomery Hall is one of twenty-two sites in Starkville listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Cooperative Creamery Station in Starkville, 1939

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 23,888 people, 9,845 households, and 4,800 families residing in the city. The population density was 936.4 people per square mile (328.7/km²). There were 11,767 housing units at an average density of 396.7/sq mi (153.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 58.5% Non-Hispanic White, 34.06% African American, 0.2% Native American, 3.75% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 9,845 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.1% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 29.7% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 15.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,357, and the median income for a family was $40,557. Males had a median income of $35,782 versus $23,711 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,787. About 19.1% of families and 33.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.3% of those under age 18 and 17.8% of those age 65 or over.


Starkville boasts over 80 places of worship, accommodating almost all religious traditions, largely due to the presence of Mississippi State University, which attracts people with a diverse range of nationalities.[13] As of October 2007, approximately half (49.74%) of people in Starkville claim a religious affiliation, with (41.59% ) self-identifying as Protestant. Starkville has small percentages of Catholic, Hindu, Mormon, and Islamic adherents as well, and moderate percentages of Baptist (25%) and Methodist (11%) adherents.[14][15]

Arts and culture

The Cotton District

Main article: The Cotton District

The Cotton District is a community located in Starkville and was the first new urbanism development in the world.[16] It was founded by Dan Camp, who is the developer, owner and property manager of much of the area.[17] The Cotton District has elements of Greek Revival mixed with Classical or Victorian. The Cotton District is a walkable neighborhood that contains many restaurants and bars in addition to thousands of unique residential units.


Starkville is located in Mississippi's 3rd congressional district and its 3rd state Supreme Court district.


Public schools

The City of Starkville is served by the Starkville School District. Starkville High School athletics are designated as Class 6A, Region 2. The Yellowjacket football team is one of the most successful in the state of Mississippi, with 10 title game appearances and 6 state championships since 1981 (most recent being in 2015).

Private schools

Notable people

Famous American pilot Charles Lindbergh made a successful landing on the outskirts of Starkville in 1927 during his famous Guggenheim Tour[50] and stayed at a boarding house in the Maben community. Lindbergh later wrote about that landing in his autobiographical account of his barnstorming days, titled "WE."

Starkville is one of several places in the United States which claims to have invented Tee Ball.[51] Tee Ball was popularized in Starkville in 1961 by W.W. Littlejohn and Dr. Clyde Muse, members of the Starkville Rotarians.[52] Dr. Muse was also an educator in Starkville, having been Principal of Starkville High School for many years. He also was a renowned baseball and basketball coach (one of his early teams won a State Championship. Members included Lewis Mallory, Jackie Wofford, Barry Wood, and Carse Smith.) The town itself is considered to be the Baseball Capital of the South, having been the birthplace of National Baseball Hall of Famer Cool Papa Bell and Mississippi State University, whose Diamond Dogs have made nine trips to the NCAA Baseball College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Johnny Cash was arrested for public drunkenness (though he described it as being picked up for picking flowers) in Starkville and held overnight at the city jail on May 11, 1965, which was the inspiration for his song Starkville City Jail:

They're bound to get you,

Cause they got a curfew,

And you go to the Starkville city jail.

The song appears on the album At San Quentin.

From November 2 to November 4, 2007, the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival was held in Starkville, the city where Cash had been arrested over 40 years earlier. The festival, where he was offered a symbolic posthumous pardon, honored Cash's life and music, and is expected to become an annual event.[53] The festival was started by Robbie Ward,who urged the town to hold it annually based on the premise that: "Johnny Cash was arrested in seven places,but he only wrote a song about one of those places."[54]

A song entitled Starkville appears on the Indigo Girls' 2002 album Become You.

Starkville also appears on a map of Mississippi in the controversial 2007 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

The Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville is a National Top 40 Rodeo Facility and is considered to be one of the top tourist attractions in North Mississippi.

Starkville has The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, held annually in February. It is the oldest festival in the state for independent films.

The annual Cotton District Arts Festival in Starkville, held in the Cotton District on the third weekend of April, is considered to be one of the top arts festivals in the state, drawing a record crowd of nearly 25,000 in 2008. On hand for the festivities were Y'all Magazine, Southern Living, Peavey Electronics and over 100 of the state's top artisans and 25 live bands.

Starkville is also the home of Bulldog Bash, Mississippi's largest open-air free concert.

Located on the MSU campus, the Cullis and Gladys Wade Clock Museum boasts an extensive collection of mostly American clocks and watches dating as far back as the early 18th century. The collection of over 400 clocks is the only one of its size in the region.

Starkville is mentioned in the NBC drama series, The West Wing, which aired from 1999-2006. Toby is detailing an appropriations bill and says it includes 1.7 million dollars for manure handling in Starkville, Mississippi.[55]

Crime and criminals

Notorious American gangster Machine Gun Kelly lived in Starkville for two years when he attended Mississippi State University. He enrolled in the university to study agriculture in 1917. From the beginning, Kelly was considered a poor student, having been awarded his highest grade (a C+) for good physical hygiene. He was constantly in trouble with the faculty and spent much of his academic career attempting to work off the demerits he had earned.

See also


  1. Low, Chris (15 August 2008). "Welcome to Stark-Vegas". ESPN College Football. ESPN. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  2. "What's in a name?" (PDF). Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. "MSU surpasses 20,000 with record enrollment milestone". Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  6. Galloway, Patricia. "Chakchiuma". In Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians, V. 14, Southeast. The Smithsonian Institution. pp. 496–498. ISBN 0-16-072300-0.
  7. "Starkville's History". Retrieved 2006-08-24.
  8. "Ordinance Number 2006-02" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-09-05.
  9. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  11. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. "Community Involvement". Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  14. "Starkville, Mississippi (MS) religion resources - Sperling's BestPlaces". Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  15. "Starkville, Mississippi (MS) religion resources - Sperling's BestPlaces". Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  16. Miller (January 2002). "New Towns -- Cotton District, Mississippi". The Town Paper. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  17. "'Community Visionary' Continues Shaking Up Starkville". Mississippi Business Journal. July 31, 2000.
  18. "Luqman Ali". Discogs. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. "Fred Bell". Baseball Reference. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. "Marquez Branson". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  24. "Harry Burgress". Panama Canal Authority. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. Lloyd, James B. (ed). 1981. Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967. The University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi.
  26. "Lieutenant General John W. Carpenter III". Lanbob. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  27. "MTSU's win over Ole Miss holds special meaning for coach Davis". CBS Sports. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  28. Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Hendrickson Publishers.
  30. "Bailey Howell's Mom Absolutely Knew Best". Southeastern Conference. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  31. "Gary Jackson's Biography". Votesmart. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. "Paul Jackson Show Opens". Boone County Museum and Galleries. June 19, 2013.
  33. Walker Geuder, Meridith (Fall 2008). "Back Home Again" (PDF). Mississippi State University.
  34. "Nine named BCoE Distinguished Alumni Fellows". Mississippi State University. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  35. "Ben McGee". Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  40. "Archie Pate". Negro Leagues Database. Retrieved January. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  44. "April Sykes Looks to Help USA Defend Pan American Games Gold". Rutgers University. September 27, 2011.
  48. "Williams Ponders Next Move". Starkville Daily News. July 25, 2012.
  50. Guggenheim Tour website
  51. "Tee Ball". Warsaw Youth Sports. Retrieved February 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  52. "Club History". Starkville Rotary Club. Retrieved February 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  53. "Mississippi town to honor the 'Man in Black' - US and Canada -". September 6, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  54. The New York Times "Facts Mix With Legend on the Road to Redemption." Barry,Dan. Oct.20, 2008.
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