History of the City of McComb
In 1872, Colonel H. S. McComb, President of The New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad Company located in New Orleans, needed more land for expansion for his growing railroad company. With that end in view, he purchased land where the City of McComb City now stands, and moved his railroad company offices and shops here. The area of land where McComb now sits was a strip of raw land covered with pine timber and dense undergrowth of vines and bushes. The land was situated on the mainline of railroad between the towns of Summit and Magnolia. McComb was chartered by the State of Mississippi that same year.
In 1873, the Mississippi Valley Company took over the land for the promotion of a town site. Lots were laid out, sold, and residences and business buildings were erected. During the same year Captain J. J. White, a veteran of the Civil War, established a large saw mill on an extensive tract of land on the southern outskirts of the new village. The J. J. White lumber interests were the first in Mississippi to operate steam locomotives on tramways for hauling logs from the forests to the mill. In addition to his lumber interests, which in the course of years grew to mammoth proportions, Captain White was also involved in many other activities that led to the development of McComb. He was an officer in the principal banking institutions, established the McComb Cotton Mill, and took an active part in public affairs in general. As a result of his active role in his church and community, J. J. White Presbyterian Church was built as a memorial to him.
New stores began to appear supplementing the railroad commissary. More residences were built for the employees of both the shops and mill. McComb had become a city. As years went on, the railroad became the Illinois Central. With its enlarged shops, its heavy through and local traffic, its increased and increasing force in every department, the business of the City of McComb grew to accommodate the demands of the company’s employees and their families.
An early industry in the city was the McComb Ice Company owned by X. A. Kramer Industries. This plant was the largest single unit ice factory in the world. At its peak, the plant produced 200 tons of ice per day and had storage for about 20,000 tons. In addition to supplying the local demand, the Kramer plant furnished large quantities of ice for the refrigerated cars of the Illinois Central Railroad to facilitate transporting trainloads of fruits and vegetables to the northern markets.
The railroad is still important to the City of McComb. The Illinois Central is now the Canadian National Railroad and the mainline still runs through the heart of the city. The railroad is a vital lifeline for many industries. The Amtrak station in McComb provides access to New Orleans and Chicago.
From its beginning as a city built around a growing railroad industry, McComb now has a very diverse economy with a major regional healthcare center and retail trade center. You will find renewal in the downtown area of McComb with fine dining, office space, housing and shopping.
McComb is strategically located 100 miles north of New Orleans, 80 miles from Jackson, and 75 miles from Hattiesburg on the transportation routes of Interstate 55 and US Highway 98. McComb is located in close proximity to Southwest Mississippi Community College as well as several major universities such as The University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, The University of New Orleans, Jackson State University and Alcorn University. McComb is surrounded by the natural beauty of scenic rivers and streams; and nestled in the rolling, pine covered hills of Southwest Mississippi.
The City of McComb is the best place in the world to live and raise a family.