Covington County Courthouse in Collins
|Motto: Come Grow With Us!|
Location of Collins, Mississippi
|Incorporated||November 24, 1906|
|Named for||Fred W. Collins|
|• Mayor||V. O. Smith|
|• City Clerk||Suzette Davis|
|• Deputy Clerk||Carrie Underwood|
|• Alderman At-Large & Mayor ProTem||Bobby A. Mooney|
|• Total||7.99 sq mi (20.69 km2)|
|• Land||7.96 sq mi (20.62 km2)|
|• Water||0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)|
|Elevation||292 ft (89 m)|
|• Density||325/sq mi (125.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0668700|
- 1 History
- 2 Infrastructure
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Arts & Culture
- 6 Parks and recreation
- 7 Education
- 8 Media
- 9 Hurricane Katrina and Duryea Adopt-A-Town
- 10 Notable people
- 11 References
- 12 External links
From Williamsburg Depot to Collins
Collins was originally incorporated as Williamsburg Depot in 1899. The Gulf and Ship Island Railroad had completed construction, and bypassed Williamsburg, the county seat at that time. The sawmills moved to the new town of Williamsburg Depot in order to be closer to the railroad. As lumber was an important industry during the time, the town moved with them. Not long after, Williamsburg Depot grew to a town of 6,000 - 7,000 people.
Eventually, the difficulties of having such a long town name, Williamsburg Depot, became clear. The length caused many people to write it over their stamps, voiding the postage. In order to correct this issue, the postmaster asked to have the town name changed in 1905, and the postal service came up with a short and easy name "Bad". For reasons that may be clear, the residents rejected this name, and eventually came up with Collins, in honor of Fred W. Collins, leader of the state's Republican party and U. S. Marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi. The town's name was officially changed on November 24, 1906.
Becoming the County Seat
In 1906, a portion of the west side of Covington County became Jefferson Davis County. As a result, Williamsburg lost its position at the center of the county, and a new county seat was needed. Collins eventually emerged over Seminary and Ora as this location, and a new county courthouse was built. The first court was held in 1908.
Decline and Resurgence
Eventually, the lumber industry in Collins exhausted the timber resources and moved. The town population dwindled from 7,000 to 700. However, industry began to return to the town in 1936 when U.S. 49 and U.S. 84 were built, putting the town at the crossroads of these two major highways. In addition, the Plantation Pipeline was run from Baton Rouge to the east coast. It passed through the community of Kola. As storage tank farms began to be built, Collins annexed the community, and reaped the rewards.
The city of Collins lies near the intersection of two major highways, U.S. Route 49 and U.S. Route 84. U.S. 49 passes through the city southwest of the downtown; it leads 63 miles (101 km) northwest to Jackson, the state capital, and 28 miles (45 km) southeast to Hattiesburg. U.S. 98 bypasses the center of the city, crossing U.S. 49 at an interchange in the northern part of the city, and leads east 27 miles (43 km) to Laurel and west 55 miles (89 km) to the vicinity of Brookhaven.
There is not a mass transit system in place in the city of Collins; as a result, many residents drive cars in their daily life. However, there are sidewalks in many of the subdivisions around the city that link with the city center.
The city is served by Southern Pines Electric Power Association, out of Taylorsville, MS.
The city is served by Covington County Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital that opened in 1951. The hospital is active in the community, funding local educational extra-curricular activities and after school programs.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Collins has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.7 km2), of which 8.0 square miles (20.6 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.37%, is water.
|Climate data for Collins, Mississippi (1981-2015)|
|Average high °F (°C)||57.8
|Daily mean °F (°C)||46.2
|Average low °F (°C)||34.6
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.69
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||0.0
|Source: National Weather Forecast Office|
As of the census of 2005, there were 2,761 people, 904 households, and 611 families residing in the city. The population density was 353.4 people per square mile (136.5/km²). There were 1,012 housing units at an average density of 133.3 per square mile (51.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.52% White, 52.44% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.67% from other races, and 0.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.60% of the population.
There were 904 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 28.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.
According to the 2000 Census, the city's language is mostly homogenous, with 2,280 (96.65 %) of the population speaking English as at home. However, there are a marginal amount of Spanish (49 or 2.08%) and French (30 or 1.27%) speakers living in the city.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,661, and the median income for a family was $23,068. Males had a median income of $23,795 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,912. About 34.1% of families and 39.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 59.3% of those under age 18 and 16.5% of those age 65 or over.
Arts & Culture
The city of Collins has various attractions to for both visitors and locals.
Annual Cultural Events
Named after the Okatoma river, which runs through the county, the Okatoma Festival is held every May 2. It is held in downtown Collins, and features carnival rides, vender booths, and local cuisine. In addition, there is a 5K run held in the morning.
Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch
On Saturdays and Sundays, from the middle of September to the beginning of November, Mitchell Farms hosts the Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch & Maze. The event consists of many attractions, such as wagon rides, corn maze, animal barn, and a goat castle.
Christmas in the Park
From the day after Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas, the Chamber of Commerce hosts "Christmas in the Park". This is a massive, drive through light display that takes up the entirety of Bettie D. Robertson Memorial Park. All items in the display are donations from local individuals. It features secular and religious aspects of the holiday.
The city has recently come under scrutiny as a result of this display. On October 19, 2015, the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the City of Collins, on behalf of a local citizen, asking for displays of a religious nature to be removed from the Bettie D. Robertson City Park. The letter stated that, among other things, permanent displays of 3 Latin crosses, a statue of Jesus carrying a cross, and a globe with City of Collins displayed above Matthew 8:12 "I am the Light of the World" are unconstitutional and "tremendously un-welcoming to non-Christians". It asks for immediate removal of the displays from Bettie D. Robertson park. The letter was met with great hostility from the citizens, with some calling for the complainant to leave the county.
The city features Grand Paradise Water Park. In addition, Mitchell Farms offers tours of the original farm buildings and event planning services, in addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Okatoma Golf club provides an 18-hole course in Oak Hills Subdivision.
Parks and recreation
There are two major parks in the city of Collins: Bettie D. Robertson and Westside Park. Robertson Park is home to "Christmas in the Park, and features athletic fields, a walking track and playground. There is also a duck pond and bird sanctuary. Westside Park features basketball courts and a playground as well.
- Collins Elementary (K-4)
- Carver Middle School (5-8)
- Collins High School (9-12)
The school district also has a Vocational Center located in Collins, that encompasses, but is not limited to, programs of study such as Health Sciences, Construction Trades, Teacher Academy, and Business & Marketing.
The current superintendent is Clay Anglin. He will soon be replaced Arnetta Keys Crosby, who defeated him in the November 3rd elections. The Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Accreditation is Babette Duty. The Deputy Superintendent of Federal Programs is Susan Deen. The Deputy Superintendent of Special Programs is Rachel Rogers.
On the 2014 Accountability District and School Results report from the Mississippi Department of Education, Carver Middle School received an F for the 2013 school year. In contrast, Collins Elementary and Collins High School both received C's. In 2014, Collins Elementary and Collins High School remained constant with a final grade of C, while Carver Middle School raised its final grade to a D.
The city is served by the News-Commercial, a local paper based out of Collins, MS. The paper publishes every Wednesday. The Clarion Ledger, a regional paper based in Jackson, MS, is available as well.
Both WDAM and WHLT provide the city with local over-the-air television service. The former is based out of Laurel, MS, while the latter is based out of Hattiesburg, MS. There is not a local cable station located within the city.
Hurricane Katrina and Duryea Adopt-A-Town
In September 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck Collins. As most aid agencies were concentrating on major metropolitan areas such as New Orleans, small towns like Collins were seemingly overlooked. Duryea, Pennsylvania, which had experienced similar flooding as the result of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, sought a town similar in size and demographics to "adopt" and help rebuild after the devastation wrought by the largest natural disaster in the history of the town. By hosting a bazaar and through other various fundraising efforts, Duryea helped rebuild. Collins Mayor V.O. Smith and his wife, Ada, flew to Duryea to thank their mayor Keith Moss, organizer Trina Moss and the townspeople of Duryea. This led to a bond between the two towns and has included several visits to both towns.
Collins was the home of:
- Dale Houston, a rock and roll singer whose "I'm Leaving It Up To You" reached No. 1 in 1963
- Film legend Dana Andrews was born on a farmstead just outside Collins, but was raised in Huntsville, Texas
- Actor Gerald McRaney
- NFL star Correll Buckhalter
- NBA star Randolph Keys
- Billy Hamilton, professional baseball player (Cincinnati Reds)
- Marilyn Mims, soprano with the Metropolitan Opera
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Collins city, Mississippi". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "About Collins". City of Collins. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- Norris-Bryant, Sandra. "City of Collins". Covington County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "History". Covington County Hospital. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "National Weather Service Forecast Office". Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "MLA Collins, Mississippi". Modern Language Association. Modern Language Association. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "Mitchell Farms Pumpkin Patch & Maze". Mitchell Farms. Mitchell Farms. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "FFRF objects to Miss. park filled with Christian displays". FFRF. October 29, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- Cavell, Elizabeth. "Unconstitutional religious display in city park" (PDF). FFRF.org. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- Baer, Holly (November 3, 2015). "This misrepresentation of church and state". Daily Mississippian. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "Attractions - City of Collins". City of Collins. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "Covington County Schools - Schools". Covington County Schools. Covington County Schools. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- "Covington County Schools - Vo-tech - Programs of Study". Covington County Schools. Covington County Schools. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
- Farrish, Carmen. "2015 Pine Belt General Election Results". WHLT 22. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "District Office". Covington County Schools. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- [chrome-extension://bpmcpldpdmajfigpchkicefoigmkfalc/views/app.html "2014 Accountability District and School Results"]. Mississippi Department of Education. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "Sister City". Central Florida Hurricane Center. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "Billy Hamilton". Baseball Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Collins.|