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Meridian, MS

Meridian's history begins in the 1830s. During the Civil War, General Sherman burned the city to the ground and declared "Meridian no longer exists." However, Meridian rebounded and is currently recognized as the sixth-largest city in Mississippi, with more than 38,000 residents. It was once the largest city in the state but suffered with the phasing out of the railroad industry, leading to a fairly steady population decline since the mid-20th century.

Today's Meridian, however, is focused on growth. A comprehensive development plan created in 2003 is intended to guide the city in revitalizing its historic downtown and attracting new commercial interests.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

One of the primary attractions in Meridian is its heritage, and the city proudly boasts about its historical neighborhoods, including nine separate districts that have been featured in the National Register of Historical Places. These areas reflect the history of American architecture and provide insight into many different periods of the city's history.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

In addition to the many landmarks and historical locations featured prominently in the historical districts, there are several other places of interest:

SHOPPING

Meridian offers several malls and shopping centers, including:

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

The largest employers in terms of industry are health care and welfare-related programs. Meridian is also home to a pair of military facilities that employ a combined 4,000 workers, and the city is in the midst of an economic development project intended to bring several new manufacturing businesses and shopping centers to the area. Both the median household income and the median home value are substantially below the state average, and nearly 25 percent of all families living in Meridian fall below the poverty line.

EDUCATION

The city is home to Meridian Community College, a public school granting two-year degrees that is located near the downtown district, as well as a local campus of Mississippi State University. Among the colleges and universities located roughly 100 miles from Meridian are the MSU main campus in Starkville, the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.


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