Ward Street downtown
Location of Caruthersville, Missouri
|• Total||5.24 sq mi (13.57 km2)|
|• Land||5.16 sq mi (13.36 km2)|
|• Water||0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)|
|Elevation||276 ft (84 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||6,116|
|• Density||1,195.3/sq mi (461.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0715460|
Caruthersville is the most populous city in and the county seat of Pemiscot County, Missouri, United States, located along the Mississippi River in the bootheel of the state's far southeast. The population was 6,168, according to the 2010 Census.
Caruthersville lies in Missouri's Bootheel on the Mississippi River. The word "Pemiscot" comes from the Indian word "pemiskaw" meaning "liquid mud". Mississippi waters have frequently flooded the flatlands. While those waters have brought disaster to Caruthersville homes, they have also attracted people to the region because of the fertile alluvial land they have helped to create.
Native Americans inhabited the land around Caruthersville before European settlement, they were part of the civilization that built huge earth mounds throughout the Mississippi Valley. One such land mass remains, rising 270 feet above sea level about four miles southwest of Caruthersville. It stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding delta-like plain.
John Hardeman Walker and G. W. Bushey laid out and platted the town of Caruthersville in 1857. The town was named to honor Samuel Caruthers, who first represented the area in Congress. The City of Caruthersville was incorporated on May 18, 1874. The first few decades of the town's growth can be documented through Sanborn Maps, which recorded building ownership, materials, and use.
In 1893, Missouri's General Assembly created the Saint Francis Levee District to alleviate that part of the Saint Francis basin lying within the counties of Dunklin, New Madrid, and Pemiscot. This act authorized taxes for the purpose of building, repairing, protecting, and maintaining levees in the district.
Jazz singer Donna Hightower (1926-2013) was born in Caruthersville. She recorded for Decca, RPM and Capitol Records in the United States during the 1950s and later moved to Europe, where she sold millions of records in the 1970s while recording for Discos Columbia (Columbia Records-Spain).
Sterling Price Reynolds (1861–1968) devoted his working life to draining the swamps in the Saint Francis Levee District and protecting the city from flooding. He created the Little River Drainage District which helped turn the bog laden area into rich cotton producing soil. Eventually, Reynolds became Chief Engineer for the Saint Francis Levee, a position he held until his retirement at age 101. Caruthersville paid tribute to him at that time by dedicating a park in his honor.
In February 1969, construction began on a bridge across the Mississippi at Caruthersville. Completed in 1976, it is the only bridge to cross the Mississippi River between Cairo, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.
During the night of April 2, 2006, 60% of Caruthersville was severely damaged or destroyed by a string of tornadoes that passed through the Midwestern United States. At least two persons were confirmed killed in Pemiscot County as a result of the tornado. On Monday morning, local police, state troopers, and national guard had barred entrance into Caruthersville and issued it as a "no fly zone" to anyone who was not a resident, an emergency worker, or a member of the newsmedia. According to the emergency management director from a nearby county, as many as 1,500 people were displaced by the storm, which struck the southwest side of the city. As reported by Caruthersville's mayor, Diane Sayre, there were no confirmed fatalities within city limits, but electricity and water services were disabled. Several churches, landmarks, and schools were destroyed or severely damaged, including St. John's Episcopal, Jesus Name Tabernacle, Faith Missionary Baptist, Caruthersville Municipal Airport, Caruthersville Cotton Warehouse, the Boy's and Girl's Club of the Bootheel, Knox's Drive In, the Kwik Chek, Caruthersville High School, and Caruthersville Middle School. There were no deaths in Caruthersville.
In November 2006, the Caruthersville City School District put a bond issue on the ballot to build a new high school, which was 85 cents per $100 assessed. This issue was defeated by a vote of 827 to 631.  Caruthersville High School was torn down, and was rebuilt. The building was completed in February 2011. The Senior Class of 2010 graduated in May as the only class in Caruthersville High School history to never have class in a high school building. The Class of 2009 were freshmen when the tornado hit, becoming the last class to be in the old high school building, and the Class of 2011 were the first seniors to graduate from the new high school building.
Mayor Rick Davis died in a house fire on July 24, 2014. Rick is the 2nd mayor in a row to die in office. Previous mayor, Diane Sayre, also died in office, as did the next acting Mayor Pro Tem Frank Morgan. Cause of death is currently under investigation.
The Mayor's death follows a recent crime spree in Caruthersville. On June 26, two city hall employees were attacked with a knife by suspect Richard Edward Jaworski, 50, of Caruthersville. Police say the suspect entered the municipal building on June 26 and stabbed a water clerk 13 times after his water had been turned off.
Caruthersville is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.24 square miles (13.57 km2), of which, 5.16 square miles (13.36 km2) of it is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water. The city is located in the state's bootheel along the western bank of the Mississippi River within the seismically active New Madrid Seismic Zone. The Caruthersville Bridge is the only bridge crossing along the river between Cairo, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.(36.184723, -89.661404).
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Caruthersville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,168 people, 2,454 households, and 1,567 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,195.3 inhabitants per square mile (461.5/km2). There were 2,727 housing units at an average density of 528.5 per square mile (204.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.89% White, 33.09% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.11% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.76% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.35% of the population.
There were 2,454 households of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 22.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.1% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.10.
The median age in the city was 34.2 years. 29.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.4% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 14.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.6% male and 53.4% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,760 people, 2,643 households, and 1,723 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,290.8 people per square mile (498.1/km²). There were 2,999 housing units at an average density of 572.7 per square mile (221.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.08% White, 31.41% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.66% of the population.
There were 2,643 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the city the population was spread out with 32.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $19,601, and the median income for a family was $23,454. Males had a median income of $25,821 versus $17,434 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,034. About 28.1% of families and 35.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 50.3% of those under age 18 and 23.4% of those age 65 or over.
Major resources for the Caruthersville area include commerce supplied by the Mississippi river barge and transport industry as well as agriculture which accounts for 60% of the local economy. Large portions of the cash crops grown in the area, rice, soy beans and cotton are sent through the Mississippi River transportation industry to distribution points along the Mississippi delta region. There is now a riverboat casino in Caruthersville which has revived the local economy and provided a new source of tourist revenue.
- Cedric the Entertainer
- Donna Hightower
- Clarke Reed
- Reggie Young
- James Arthur Oliver - Zoologist and Herpetologist
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Caruthersville, Missouri: Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010, 2010 Demographic Profile Data". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Burea. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- Earngey, Bill (1995). Missouri Roadsides: The Traveler's Companion. University of Missouri Press. p. 40.
- Eaton, David Wolfe (1917). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 338.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 70.
- Sanborn Maps for Missouri: Caruthersville, University of Missouri Digital Library. Accessed 2011-03-14.
- The History of Caruthersville
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Climate Summary for Caruthersville, Missouri
- City of Caruthersville
- Caruthersville Public Library
- Caruthersville School District
- Historic maps of Caruthersville in the Sanborn Maps of Missouri Collection at the University of Missouri