South Fulton, Tennessee

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South Fulton, Tennessee
The W.W. Morris House, a historic site on State Line Road
The W.W. Morris House, a historic site on State Line Road
Location of South Fulton, Tennessee
Location of South Fulton, Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°29′48″N 88°52′45″W / 36.49667°N 88.87917°W / 36.49667; -88.87917Coordinates: 36°29′48″N 88°52′45″W / 36.49667°N 88.87917°W / 36.49667; -88.87917
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Obion
 • Total 3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2)
 • Land 3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 351 ft (107 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,354
 • Density 814.4/sq mi (314.5/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 38257
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-69900[1]
GNIS feature ID 1303727[2]

South Fulton is a city in Obion County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,354 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Union City, TN–KY Micropolitan Statistical Area.


South Fulton is located at 36°29′48″N 88°52′45″W / 36.49667°N 88.87917°W / 36.49667; -88.87917 (36.496716, -88.879193).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 284
1890 623 119.4%
1900 455 −27.0%
1910 1,391 205.7%
1920 1,650 18.6%
1930 1,988 20.5%
1940 2,050 3.1%
1950 2,119 3.4%
1960 2,512 18.5%
1970 3,122 24.3%
1980 2,735 −12.4%
1990 2,688 −1.7%
2000 2,517 −6.4%
2010 2,354 −6.5%
Est. 2015 2,261 [4] −4.0%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,517 people, 1,081 households, and 729 families residing in the city. The population density was 814.4 people per square mile (314.5/km²). There were 1,199 housing units at an average density of 388.0 per square mile (149.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.98% White, 19.47% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.20% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.56% of the population.

There were 1,081 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,462, and the median income for a family was $35,608. Males had a median income of $27,458 versus $20,212 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,983. About 15.0% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 18.1% of those age 65 or over.

Twin City[edit]

South Fulton is considered a twin city with Fulton, Kentucky. Together, they used to host the International Banana Festival in celebration of the fact that the twin cities railroad maintained an icing station for a large percentage of bananas en route to northern destinations arriving from New Orleans. A two-ton banana pudding was marched through a parade and served at the end of the parade route.

Recently this Banana Festival was brought back in 2011. In 2012, they had the 50th anniversary of the Banana Festival. This festival occurs towards the end of September and includes the pudding, seller booths, and concessions.


South Fulton was first known as Jacksonvile, and was named aptly so since land in the area once belonged to Andrew Jackson. It is recorded that Andrew Jackson sold 1,000 acres (400 hectares) in northeast Weakley County in 1823. Jacksonville existed from about 1859 until 1895 when South Fulton was first chartered. [7]

"Pay for Spray" controversy[edit]

Starting in the early 1990s, South Fulton adopted a policy of allowing people outside the city limits to be protected by the fire department, in return for a $75 annual fee. But unlike neighboring towns, which would even protect someone who had not paid (while charging them a larger fee covering expenses),[8] South Fulton would simply refuse to help anyone not on a list as having paid up.

In 2010, a member of the Cranick family of Obion County was burning trash near the family home, when it got out of control and caught the house on fire. They called 911, but the fire department refused to respond, because the Cranicks weren't on the list as having paid the tax. Understanding the premise of the free rider problem, Gene Cranick offered to pay the full cost of the department responding, but was refused.[9] The South Fulton Fire Department did show up, but refrained from helping, only protecting the property of a neighbor who had paid the tax. The Cranicks lost three dogs and the family cat, along with the house and most of their possessions.

In 2011 this happened again, with Vicky Bell, the homeowner, reporting that the fire department actually pulled up and watched, but did not help.[8]

This policy has been decried by media nationally, including Keith Olbermann,[10] and Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, who said "Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up...They get in their trucks and go."[11]

Conversely, this policy was defended by some, including Glenn Beck[12] and the National Review[13]

Two years after this controversy started, the city of South Fulton changed their policy. Going forward, any homeowner who didn't pay the $75 tax must pay $3,500 per call.[14]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  6. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b NBC: Firefighters Let Home Burn over $75 Fee — Again
    It's the second time in two years firefighters in the area have watched a house burn because of unpaid fees. Last year, Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in a house fire, along with three dogs and a cat, because the fire fee wasn't paid.
  9. ^ New York Times —Tennessee Firefighters Watch Home Burn
    Mr. Cranick later told The Associated Press that he had paid the fee in years past and that it had simply slipped his mind this year. Even when he offered to pay whatever the cost might be to put out the fire, the department refused to respond to the emergency during the two hours it took for the flames to spread from his yard to his house.
  10. ^ South Fulton Mayor David Crocker makes Keith Olbermann's 'Worst Persons'
  11. ^ NBC News: No Pay, No Spray: Firefighters Let Home Burn
    "Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up," Harold Schaitberger, International Association of Fire Fighters president, said in a statement. "They get in their trucks and go."
  12. ^ Glenn Beck: Fireman let house burn over $75
    This is the same argument that we have almost every day. It’s social justice or equal justice. Equal justice is you didn’t pay your 75 bucks, the house burns to the ground; because your neighbor did pay the 75 bucks, we’re going to watch over their house. Social justice is, Well, your house is on fire, we’re here, anyway. We’re going to put it out.
  13. ^ National Review — Pay-for-Spray Fire Department: Doing the Right Thing
    And, for their trouble, the South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before.
  14. ^ NPR — Tenn. Town Fights Fire With Money
    And that's the thing I think folks might be overlooking. There's a possibility that if you live far enough out in the county that you might lose all your possessions by the time the fire department could get there anyway. If you haven't paid now and you ask the fire department to come out you not only have that tragic part of it, but you're going to have to pay $3,500 for it. Whereas before, just didn't have it.