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Walnut Grove, Mississippi

Walnut Grove, Mississippi

Walnut Grove (MS), 39189, United States

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Description Walnut Grove is a town in Leake County, Mississippi. The population was 1,911 at the 2010 census. Under the leadership of eight-term mayor, William Grady Smith, one of the longest-serving mayors in the state, the town had dramatically increased its population and revenues by annexing the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, privately owned and operated under contract to the state. By 2011 this was the largest juvenile facility in the nation. The troubled facility was closed in 2016.Golden Memorial State Park is located east of the town.HistoryWalnut Grove began as a European-American settlement in a nearby location, now referred to as "Old Walnut Grove". This area was developed as cotton plantations in the antebellum era. The town was incorporated in 1884. A post office was established in 1854, and in the early 1900s, electricity and street lights were installed.The Jackson and Eastern Railway was completed to Walnut Grove in 1923, and then extended to nearby Tuscola, Mississippi in 1925.The town was surveyed at its present location in 1923. Two canals were built near Walnut Grove in the late 1920s to improve transportation. Walnut Grove received a telephone franchise in 1927, and was connected to the Forest exchange.In 1962, a sewage and water system was installed, and in 1966, natural gas was installed. In 1970, the town organized and trained a volunteer fire department, though the first fire truck was not purchased until 1974.Walnut Grove's Marshall, Jake Trest, was murdered in 1979. His killer, Edward Earl Johnson, was executed in 1987.In 1981, William Grady Sims was elected as mayor of Walnut Grove and was repeatedly re-elected, serving until 2012. He was one of the longest-serving mayors in the state. By 2006 the town annexed the property of the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, which had been constructed nearby in the county in 2001, adding to its area and population. In 2009 Sims was appointed as warden by the company that owned the prison. The