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Holly Springs City

Holly Springs City Hall is located at 160 South Memphis Street, Holly Springs, MS 38635; phone: 662-252-4652.

Beginnings [1]

Holly Springs ranks as one of Mississippi's most architecturally and historically significant rural communities. The leading role Holly Springs played in the areas of agriculture, education, politics and transportation is preeminent in the history of pre-Civil War Mississippi. Today, the vigor and success of Holly Springs is seen in the richness and variety of its nationally recognized architectural resources. Although less conspicuous, the continued accomplishments of Holly Springs during the postwar era and continuing well into the twentieth century are illustrated by an outstanding collection of period architecture and several sites important to black history, Reconstruction and the development of commerce and transportation in Mississippi.

Holly Springs is located on the site of a cotton plantation established in 1830 by Robert Burrell Alexander, a native of Virginia who purchased the land from the Chickasaw Indians. After the Treaty of Pontotoc (October 22, 1832) opened the area to full-scale settlement, the cession lands were divided into counties by the Mississippi legislature, which created Marshall County on February 9, 1836 (Rowland, History of Mississippi, p. 787). An infant settlement, which had been established two years earlier on Alexander's plantation near the springs, known variously as Clarendon, Paris and finally as Holly Springs, was selected as the seat of Marshall County. Proceeds from the sale of donated land paid for the cost of building a courthouse and jail on the public square in the center of the new community. Soon frame and brick commercial buildings lined the streets facing the square following a favored plan for a county seat in 19th century Mississippi. Typically, the streets leading into the public square were residential in character.

Supported by a prosperous agricultural economy, Holly Springs developed rapidly into the leading community of north Mississippi. Despite the Panic of 1837 which devastated much of the nation, bankers, brokers and merchants prospered in Holly Springs. By 1840, forty lawyers served the town, along with myriad other professionals who had followed the planters into the area.

  1. Gary Sachau and Pam Guren, Architectural Historians, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources of Holly Springs (Partial Inventory: Historic and Architectural Sites), nomination document, 1983, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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