“A great place to live and work”
Chickasaw County, located in the hills of Northeast Mississippi, took its name from the Chickasaw Indians that once inhabited the area. Houston, established in 1836, was named after Sam Houston who served as both governor of Tennessee and the Republic of Texas. Joel Pinson donated the land to build the town of Houston. Pinson agreed to donate the land on the condition that the town be named after his long-time friend.
Chickasaw County is one of those rare counties with two county seats. Houston was named the county seat shortly after being established. Later, because flooding made it difficult to reach Houston from the eastern side of the county, Okolona was also named a county seat.
Today Houston has a population of 3,600 based on 2010 Census and enjoys a small town atmosphere with a heart full of “Southern hospitality.” Chickasaw County has something to offer everyone. Like many rural areas, Chickasaw County has historically had a strong farming base. In addition to row crops such as cotton, soybeans and corn, Chickasaw County is diverse with timber, pork and catfish production. But that strong farming base has not prevented the county from being very active and aggressive in its industrial development. The Chickasaw Development Foundation in Houston, founded in 1953, is one of the oldest chamber/economic development organizations in Northeast Mississippi. The CDF has served as a catalyst for bringing about industrial growth in Chickasaw County.
Although Chickasaw County ranks 53rd in population in Mississippi, the county ranks 13th in the State of Mississippi in manufacturing jobs. Five of the top 100 companies in Mississippi have either headquarters in or are located in Chickasaw County. Chickasaw County industries manufacture a wide variety of products such as wood products, upholstered furniture, polyfoam, cotton batting, carpet underlay, PVC pipe, wood turnings, shipping containers, specialized farming equipment, kitchen and gun cabinets and steel fabrication. Chickasaw County is home to the third largest furniture manufacturer and one of the largest privately owned companies in the furniture industry in the United States. In northeast Mississippi, Chickasaw County ranks third in manufacturing facilities.
Education has always been of the utmost importance to the people of Chickasaw County. The first Carnegie Library in the State of Mississippi was constructed in Houston in 1909. That creativity, imagination and desire to excel that existed in 1909 still prevails today in the “Sundancer”, a world class state-of-the-art solar car developed by students at the Houston High School Vocational Center. In July 2000, Houston became the only school in the State of Mississippi to enter the Winston Solar Challenge in Dallas, Texas. The “Sundancer” placed sixth in competition. In July 2001, after spending one year redesigning and rebuilding the Sundancer, the Houston Solar Race Team raced again in the Winston Solar Challenge and finished in first place. The 2001 Winston Solar Challenge was an open road race from Austin, Texas to Columbus, Indiana. The Sundancer was again the only entry from Mississippi and was the only car to run the entire 1,400 mile course, finishing over 240 miles ahead of the second place solar car. In July 2002, the Houston Solar Race Team with “Sundancer” became the first team in the history of the Winston Solar Challenge to win back to back races. The “Sundancer” won national competition in 2003 as well as 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2003 the Winston Solar Challenge raced from Austin, Texas to Orlando, Florida. As a tribute to the students involved with the “Sundancer”, the race traveled through Houston. Then in July the Houston team and the “Sundancer” competed in the World Solar Challenge, a 13 day race from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia. They competed with other high schools, as well as with universities and commercial car manufacturers. The Houston High School team became the first high school team to ever complete the race. In 2007, the Winston Solar Challenge raced through Houston on the way to New York City, winning yet another first place victory. The Houston Solar Race Team returned from the Outback in October of 2007 and has the distinction of being the only High School team to complete the race for two years.
Recreational activities are unlimited in Chickasaw County. The area abounds with nature’s best in fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation. Four miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway, the scenic 319 mile parkway that runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, lies beautiful Davis Lake, a 201 acre lake located in the heart of the Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area. The Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area, part of the Tombigbee National Forest with over 28,000 acres of land in Chickasaw County, is today much like it was when Mississippi was first settled.
From people like Former United States Congressman, Jeff Busby, one of Chickasaw County’s early citizens who wrote and introduced the legislation to build the Natchez Trace Parkway, to the hard working dedicated employees that make up today’s workforce, Chickasaw County’s greatest asset has always been its people.
Whether a native or newcomer, Chickasaw County welcomes all and has something to offer everyone.
Points of Interest in Chickasaw County
First Carnegie Library in the State: The Houston Carnegie Library located at 105 West Madison Street in Houston was the first Carnegie library built in the state of Mississippi.
Second Carnegie Library in the State: The Okolona Carnegie Library located on Main Street in Okolona was the second Carnegie library built in the state of Mississippi.
Chickasaw County Courthouse: Located at # 1 Pinson Square, in the center of Houston. The original courthouse was burned by Union troops during the War Between the States.
Chickasaw County Coliseum: Located on Starkville Road in Houston hosts rodeos, horse shows as well as 4-H events annually.
Natchez Trace Parkway: There are a number of historical and scenic landmarks along the Natchez Trace in Chickasaw County.
Davis Lake: Located four miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway, north of Houston. Davis Lake is a beautiful 201-acre lake located in the heart of the Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area.
Tombigbee National Forest: Includes the Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area.
Confederate Cemetery: Located inside the City of Okolona.
Joe Brigance Park: Located at 635 Starkville Road in Houston the Joe Brigance Park is home of the Kids’ Park, a modern state-of-the-art park constructed by the citizens of Houston for children in the area.
Houston Flywheel Festival: Houston hosts the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association twice each year during the last full weekends in April and September. The Spring Flywheel Festival held the last weekend in April is one of the largest events in the State of Mississippi, attracting almost 20,000 visitors from more than twenty states. In addition to antique tractors and antique engines on display, there are arts and crafts, flea market items and food vendors. Live entertainment is also provided as well as many other events for young and old alike. An antique steam tractor is on permanent loan from the State of Mississippi and is on display in the park.