Did You Know?

Here's a collection of some of Hattie’s favorite and little-known facts about her hometown, Hattiesburg:

The All-American Rose Garden, located at the entrance to the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi, was planted in 1973 and granted Public Rose Garden accreditation in 1975 by All-American Rose Selections Inc. Today the garden features more than 750 award-winning All-American Rose and Hybrid T-selections.

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre the NFL’s only three-time MVP, graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi where he played college football as the quarterback for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Brett has a permanent residence in Hattiesburg.

Camp Shelby, established during World War I, is the largest reserve component training site in the country. It continues to serve America as a leading mobilization station for troops going abroad.

The University of Southern Mississippi houses the de Grummond Exhibit, the world’s largest collection of original manuscripts and illustrations in the field of children’s literature.

The Freedom Summer activities of 1964 were based out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Numerous sites on the Freedom Summer Trail chronicle activities by whites and blacks to register African Americans as voters and to offer improved education during this period of time.

The Historic USO Club is the only remaining WWII-era USO Club built specifically for black soldiers which remains in public service today. It is now the home of the African American Military History Museum and is proposed to become a national landmark.

The Longleaf Trace, a 41-mile recreational trail converted from an old abandoned railway, is Mississippi’s only certified Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project.

In 1929, the Graves brothers of Hattiesburg, with the help of Paramount Records, recorded some of the first known rock and roll music, playing as the Mississippi Jook Band. A Mississippi Blues Trail historical marker, located on Mobile Street, commemorates the work of the Graves brothers.

Located in the historic Saenger Theater, the Robert Morton Pipe Organ is one of only seven remaining Robert Morton organs still in its original location today. This is important because each Robert Morton organ was custom built for its home facility. This organ is far different from a normal church organ because it includes electro-pneumatic controllers to actually play instruments other than pipes. Such instruments include snare drums, bass drums, cymbals, bells, xylophones, etc.

On July 8, 1889, John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain fought America’s last sanctioned bare-knuckle heavyweight championship fight just outside Hattiesburg. Sullivan won after 75 rounds. A historical marker stands on Richburg Road commemorating the Sullivan-Kilrain fight.

Hattiesburg is sometimes called “The Hub” as it was, in earlier times, the junction of several major rail lines. Today, that moniker refers to Hattiesburg’s location on central routes less than 100 miles from the state capital of Jackson as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast, New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

The Spirit That Builds is a 167-foot circular mural painted on sandblasted stainless steel panels by internationally renowned artist William Baggett, and it hangs in the rotunda of the Hattiesburg Public Library. The project took Baggett three years to complete.