Dyersburg, Tennessee

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Dyersburg, Tennessee
The old Bank of Dyersburg
The old Bank of Dyersburg
Official seal of Dyersburg, Tennessee
Motto: "Dyersburg...the Gateway to Everywhere"[1]
Location within the U.S. State of Tennessee
Location within the U.S. State of Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°2′N 89°23′W / 36.033°N 89.383°W / 36.033; -89.383Coordinates: 36°2′N 89°23′W / 36.033°N 89.383°W / 36.033; -89.383
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Dyer
 • Mayor John Holden
 • Total 15.1 sq mi (39.2 km2)
 • Land 15.1 sq mi (39.0 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 292 ft (89 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 17,145
 • Density 1,100/sq mi (440/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 38024-38025
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-22200[2]
GNIS feature ID 1283267[3]
Website City of Dyersburg, Tennessee

Dyersburg is a city in and the county seat of Dyer County, Tennessee, United States,[4] 77 miles (124 km) north-northeast of Memphis on the Forked Deer River. The population was 17,145 at the 2010 census. Located in Northwest Tennessee, Dyersburg is the gateway to middle America. Dyersburg is a regional retail, medical, employment and cultural center for more than 300,000 people who live in Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri. The USDOT project linking Canada and Mexico within the United States includes Dyer County. Dyer County offers many amenities, but with a small town atmosphere. Quality schools, a low crime rate, moderate climate, low cost of living, and plenty of recreational activities are just some of the reasons people enjoy living in Dyer County. As a regional center, Dyersburg offers a variety of medical services and cultural opportunities not usually found in a city of its size.


19th century[edit]

The lands that make up Dyer County once belonged to the Chickasaw tribe. The final treaty by which they relinquished all of West Tennessee was signed in 1818.

In 1823[5] the General Assembly of Tennessee passed an act to establish two new counties immediately west of the Tennessee River, Dyer County being one of them. John McIver and Joel H. Dyer donated 60 acres (240,000 m2) for the new county seat, named Dyersburg, at a central location within the county known as McIver's Bluff. In 1825,[5] Dyer surveyed the town site into 86 lots. The first courthouse was built on the square in 1827. The current Classical Revival-style courthouse, designed by Asa Biggs in 1911, centers a downtown historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Situated as the hub of steamboat navigation on the Forked Deer River, Dyersburg grew as a river town, especially once the Grey Eagle made the first successful steamboat trip in 1836. The county's first industrial boom dates to 1879, when the steamboat Alf Stevens shipped timber from A. M. Stevens Lumber Company of Dyersburg to St. Louis, Missouri markets. The Stevens company established a large sawmill in 1880 and opened a planing mill in 1885. The Bank of Dyersburg opened in 1880, while another timber industry, Nichols & Co. Wooden Bowl Factory, began operations in 1881.

The arrival of the Newport News and Mississippi Valley Railroad in 1884 further expanded market possibilities; a branch line, the Dyersburg Northern, soon linked the county seat to Tiptonville. The new railroad links encouraged the creation of new industries and businesses. In 1884, for example, investors established the Dyersburg Oil Company, a cottonseed factory. This company remained locally important through the twentieth century.

20th century[edit]

Between 1909 and 1914, Dyersburg emerged as a regional railroad hub as it became the junction point for three different lines, led by the Illinois Central Railroad.

The Edward Moody King House is on the National Register of Historic Places

During World War II, an emergency landing strip was built in Dyersburg. Industry continued to expand and Dyer County became a regional medical, educational, retail and distribution center. The establishment of Dyersburg State Community College in 1969 enhanced educational and cultural opportunities in the county.

In the last two decades, two major highway projects have modernized the city's transportation system: Interstate 155 links Dyersburg with Caruthersville, Missouri, via the Caruthersville Bridge, the only highway bridge over the Mississippi River between Cairo, Illinois, and Memphis. The four-lane expansion of U.S. 412 connects Dyersburg to I-40 at Jackson.

On March 5, 1963 a Piper Comanche plane carrying country singers Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, pilot and Miss Cline's manager Randy Hughes stopped for gas in Dyersburg. The plane crashed just 20 minutes later in inclement weather near Camden, Tennessee.

Dyersburg was mentioned in the lyrics of the song, "Tennessee" written and performed by the 1990s Hip Hop group Arrested Development.

Recent history[edit]

On September 17, 2003, Harold Kilpatrick Jr. took 18 people hostage in a classroom at Dyersburg State Community College. He wrote a note saying he "wanted to kill some people and die today" and claimed to be a part of al-Qaeda. Kilpatrick suffered from a severe case of schizophrenia and paranoia. Since he had been without health insurance for some time, he was not on the appropriate medications and his mental disabilities are believed to be the cause of his actions. Upon locking himself and his hostages in an upper story classroom, his only demands were a pizza and some water. Police would not let any of his family members near the facility, though his sister tried desperately to convince the police that she could help and that her brother needed mental medical attention urgently. After nine hours or more, a single gunshot sounded from inside the classroom, which caused the Dyersburg police to take action. They forcibly entered the room and opened fire, killing Kilpatrick and wounding two students. Hostages from that day have described Kilpatrick as being rather friendly, though nervous, and that he had dropped his gun causing an accidental discharge (the shot the police heard).


Dyersburg is located at 36°2′22″N 89°22′58″W / 36.03944°N 89.38278°W / 36.03944; -89.38278 (36.039440, -89.382766).[6] The city's proximity to the New Madrid Fault Zone makes it a place at risk for future earthquakes.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.1 square miles (39 km2), of which 15.1 square miles (39 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.53%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 683
1880 1,010 47.9%
1890 2,009 98.9%
1900 3,647 81.5%
1910 4,149 13.8%
1920 6,444 55.3%
1930 8,733 35.5%
1940 10,034 14.9%
1950 10,085 0.5%
1960 12,499 23.9%
1970 14,523 16.2%
1980 15,856 9.2%
1990 16,317 2.9%
2000 17,452 7.0%
2010 17,145 −1.8%
Est. 2012 17,043 −0.6%
Sources:[2] [7]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 17,452 people, 7,036 households, and 4,517 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,158.7 people per square mile (447.4/km²). There were 7,885 housing units at an average density of 523.5 per square mile (202.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.68% White, 22.02% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.

There were 7,036 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,232, and the median income for a family was $34,754. Males had a median income of $30,898 versus $21,337 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,388. About 17.4% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 19.0% of those age 65 or over.


The Dyersburg State Gazette is a daily broadsheet newspaper published in Dyersburg. The paper has served Dyersburg and Northwest Tennessee since 1865.[8]

The newspaper has a circulation of 7,900,[9] and is owned by Rust Communications.[9]

Notable people[edit]


Dyer County School System[edit]

  • Fifth Consolidated Elementary School
  • Finley Elementary School
  • Holice Powell Elementary School
  • Newbern Elementary School
  • Northview Middle School
  • Trimble Elementary School
  • Three Oaks Middle School
  • Dyer County High School

Dyersburg City School System[edit]

  • Dyersburg Primary School
  • Dyersburg Intermediate School
  • Dyersburg Primary School
  • Dyersburg High School

Higher Education[edit]

  • Dyersburg State Community College


  • Christ Classical Academy


  • McIver's Grant Public Library, Dyersburg
  • Newbern Library, Newbern


Dyersburg/Dyer County is home to 78 places of worship of various denominations.


Dyersburg Community Orchestra


Dyersburg Regional Medical Center


  • Dot Foods
  • Ermco
  • Firestone
  • Hexpol
  • Nordyne
  • NSK
  • Polyone
  • Sun

Dyersburg/Dyer County recently received nationwide recognition for growth in facility projects per capita. Dyersburg is listed as one of the top 10 micropolitans across the United States in March 2015.


  • Dyersburg Regional Airport, KDYR, DYR by the FAA - 275 Acres

The Tennessee Aviation Association,a division of Tennessee Department of Transportation, recognized the Dyersburg Regional Airport with the 2015 Award of Excellence for most improved airport.


  1. ^ "City of Dyersburg, Tennessee". City of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b DYER COUNTY
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/4722200.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Dyersburg State Gazette". Dyersburg State Gazette. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Dyersburg News State Gazette". YP Intellectual Property LLC. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]