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Hernando City

Hernando City Hall is located at 475 West Commerce Street, Hernando, MS 38632; phone: 662-429-9092.

The city is named for Hernando DeSoto who discovered the Mississippi River in 1541.

Beginnings [1]

The town of Hernando, originally named Jefferson, was founded in 1836 the same year that DeSoto County was formed. There is some speculation that the town may have originated as an Indian trading post, and therefore predates the forming of the county. However, there is record of the donation, by Edward Orne, of 40 acres to be used as the county seat. In 1836, this land was laid out with 172 lots surrounding a public square.

Transportation in Hernando developed steadily. In 1839, the United States established a mail route from Holly Springs to Hernando. In 1852, the state chartered a company to build a plank road from Panola to Memphis, going through Hernando. While this was originally called the Panola DeSoto Plank Road, it was later changed to the Memphis and Hernando Plank Road. In 1856, the first train ran through Hernando, on the Mississippi & Tennessee Railroad, which linked Memphis to Grenada, Mississippi. There was even a steamboat route developing in nearby Helena, Arkansas. All of this progress would come to a grinding halt with the start of the Civil War.

In 1863, Hernando was occupied by the Union troops. Many of the town's original buildings were destroyed in this time period. Hernando would be overrun many times by the Union troops before the war was over. But by 1867, Hernando was rebuilding.

The commercial center of town was originally located off the courthouse square, along East Center Street. The first street to develop as a commercial entity was Westbrook Street. Then the north and south sides of the courthouse square seemed to develop simultaneously. By 1903, all four streets around the courthouse had commercial buildings on them. The original intent of the courthouse square design had finally been fulfilled.

Hernando was primarily an agriculturally based town. The major crops grown in the surrounding area were cotton, corn, wheat, tobacco and cattle. Because of this fact, and the fact that the transportation boom never picked up in Hernando again, the town did not have a big building boom. No real industry developed in Hernando. Rather, most residents became truck farmers because of the proximity of Memphis.

  1. Jennifer Opager, Harrison Lea Stamm and Deborah Wise, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Henrnando Courthouse Square District, DeSoto County, MS, nomination document, 1997, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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