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Pearl, Mississippi
—  City  —
City of Pearl
Official seal of Pearl, Mississippi
Nickname(s): The Pearl of the South
Motto: "The City Creating Its Own Future"[1]
Location in Rankin County, Mississippi
Location of Mississippi in the United States
Coordinates: 32°16′19″N 90°06′19″W / 32.27194, -90.10528Coordinates: 32°16′19″N 90°06′19″W / 32.27194, -90.10528
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Rankin
Founded 1865
Incorporation 1973
 • Type Strong Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Brad Rogers (R)
 • Board of Aldermen Terry Ishee (R) - Dist. 1
Michael Sartor (R) - Dist. 2
Jerry Grant (R) - Dist. 3
Tommie Hill (R) - Dist. 4
Todd Jenkins (D) - Dist. 5
Gavin Gill (R) - Dist. 6
John McHenry (R) - At Large
 • Total 22.0 sq mi (57 km2)
 • Land 21.8 sq mi (56.5 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 276 ft (84.1 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,092
 • Density 1,088/sq mi (420.1/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-6)
Zip Code(s); physical locations 39208
Zip Code(s); U.S. P.O. boxes 39288
Area code(s) 601, 769
FIPS code 28-55760[2]
GNIS feature ID 0675537[3]
For additional city data see: City-Data

Pearl is a city in Rankin County, Mississippi. The population was 25,092 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Today, Pearl is a growing community across the Pearl River, for which the city was named, from Jackson. It is Mississippi's 13th largest city and the largest city in Rankin County.

Pearl is a rarity in Mississippi cities in that it does not have a downtown square. Over the years the city has developed the old Pearl High School into a city administration building that houses city hall, Pearl Police Department, public works departments and city courts. A large auditorium-style community center was built next door.


The Rankin County Press headline from June 1973

The area was settled from the 1860s as a rural farming community close to the Pearl River. Population was sparse until the mid-1900s brought in people and industries from the state capital of Jackson in Hinds County. Thereafter, growth in the area came from the urban expansion of the capital, control of flood threats from the Pearl River, accessible interstates and Jackson-Evers International Airport.

On September 16, 1968, a meeting was held to discuss the incorporation of Pearl, with all but 6 of the 657 attending residents favoring incorporation.[4] A "Boundary Committee" proposed several different possible boundaries a little more than a month later, and the following January the community voted for a 11 square miles (28 km2) boundary that included the Pearl River to Airport Road, excluding East Jackson and all areas south of Interstate 20 except Cunningham Heights and Grandview Heights. A majority at that meeting also agreed on naming the city "Pearl", in preference to the also-proposed "Riverview" and "Brightsville", and named the first mayor, Harris Harvey, and council members Jimmy Joe Thompson, W.D. McAlpin, James Netherland, Ophelia Byrd, Mack C Atwood, W.L. Maddox and Bobby Joe Davis. With the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling of June 5, 1973, the incorporation could go ahead. A week later, the charter was issued, and on June 29, 1973 Governor William Winter presided over the first annual Pearl Day Celebration, with the swearing in of the city's new officials, who met for the first time on July 3, 1973.

  • The Pearl Municipal Separate School District was created on May 18, 1976 by an Ordinance of the City of Pearl Mayor and Board of Alderman.
  • The first franchise by the City of Pearl for cable television to be installed was granted on July 6, 1976.
  • The Pearl Chamber of Commerce was formed on August 24, 1978.
  • Pearl voters approved a $1.5 million bond issue to construct a new junior high school on December 1, 1981.
  • The Rankin County campus of Hinds Community College opened in Pearl on July 1, 1983.
  • A Community Center is next door to City Hall. Its clock tower includes inscriptions of the names of graduates of Pearl High School for the period 1949 through 1989 while the high school occupied this site.
  • The Mississippi Braves baseball team play in Trustmark Park in Pearl.
  • A 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2) library opened near City Hall on July 18, 2005.


Pearl is located at 32°16′19″N 90°6′19″W / 32.27194, -90.10528 (32.271979, -90.105266).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.0 square miles (57 km2), of which 21.8 square miles (56 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.00%) is water. Neighbors include Flowood, Brandon, Richland and the state capital Jackson.

According to its 2008 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, Pearl's drinking water comes from the Sparta Sand Aquifer via nine wells that draw the water from it.[6]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 21,961 people, 8,608 households, and 6,025 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,005.9 people per square mile (388.4/km²). There were 9,128 housing units at an average density of 418.1 per square mile (161.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.18% White, 16.24% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.03% of the population.

There were 8,608 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,617, and the median income for a family was $42,013. Males had a median income of $30,860 versus $24,610 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,136. About 9.2% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.


Municipal government[]

Community Center wall featuring the city's seal

The City of Pearl is led by an elected Mayor and Board of Aldermen. Each serves a four-year term.[7]

Law enforcement within the city limits of Pearl is handled by the Pearl Police Department. The City has no jail facilities and instead utilizes the Rankin County Jail, which is operated by the Rankin County Sheriff's Department.[7]

Fire protection and prevention within the city limits of Pearl is handled by the Pearl Fire Department. The department currently operates four stations throughout the city.[7]

State representation[]

The Mississippi Department of Corrections Central Mississippi Correctional Facility is in an unincorporated area in Rankin County, near Pearl.[8][9] In 2007 the Mississippi Highway Patrol opened a driver's license facility across the highway from the prison.[10]

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality operates the Central Regional Office and the MDEQ Laboratory in unincorporated Rankin County, near Pearl.[11][12]


Air travel[]

Pearl is served by Jackson-Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, at the Pearl city limits in the city of Flowood in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN. The airport has non-stop service to 12 cities throughout the United States and is served by 6 mainline carriers (American, Delta, Continental, Southwest, Northwest, and US Airways).

While technically Jackson-Evers International Airport is located in Flowood, it is city of Jackson property and Jackson is responsible for everything within the airport's defined grounds.

Underway is the Airport Parkway project. The environmental impact study is complete and final plans are drawn and awaiting Mississippi Department of Transportation approval. Right-of-way acquisition is underway at an estimated cost of $19 million. The Airport Parkway will connect High Street in downtown Jackson to Mississippi Highway 475 in Flowood at Jackson-Evers International Airport. The Airport Parkway Commission consists of the Mayor of Pearl, the Mayor of Flowood and the Mayor of Jackson, as the Airport Parkway will run through and have access from each of these three cities.

Ground transportation[]

Interstate highways[]

I-55.svg Interstate 55 (I-55)
Runs north-south from Chicago through Jackson towards Brookhaven, McComb, and the Louisiana state line to New Orleans. Pearl is roughly halfway between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee. The interstate connects to U.S. Interstate 20 in Jackson.

I-20.svg Interstate 20 (I-20)
Runs east-west from near El Paso, Texas to Florence, South Carolina and is the main interstate to Pearl. Pearl is roughly halfway between Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. highways[]

US 49.svg U.S. Highway 49
Runs north-south from the Arkansas state line at Lula via Clarksdale and Yazoo City, towards Hattiesburg and dead ends at the Gulf of Mexico in Gulfport. From Gulfport going north back towards Jackson, this highway ends at Pearl where it is bypassed via Interstate 20 to Interstate 220 (I-220) to U.S. Highway 49 again towards Yazoo City.

US 80.svg U.S. Highway 80
Roughly parallels Interstate 20. It is the main corridor through the heart of Pearl.

State highways[]

Circle sign 25.svg Mississippi Highway 25
This highway is known as Lakeland Drive in the metro-Jackson area and runs northeast towards Carthage and Starkville.

Circle sign 475.svg Mississippi Highway 475
This highway runs from Mississippi Highway 25 in Flowood, though Pearl crossing U.S. Highway 80 and ends at Mississippi Highway 468.


The City of Pearl's public schools are served by the Pearl Public School District whose Board is appointed by the City of Pearl Board of Alderman.

Colleges and universities[]

  • Hinds Community College Rankin Campus (state two-year college not a part of the Pearl Public School District)

Public high schools[]

  • Pearl High School (Grades 9 through 12) Built in 1989; Expansions* in 1997, 2003 and 2005[7]
  • Pearl Junior High School (Grades 6 through 8) Built in 1932; Expansions* in 1982, 1989, and 2004.They also rebuilt their gym throughout the 2012-2013 school year.[7]

*Expansions include anything from adding a new wing or classrooms to adding new administrative offices, to adding a press box to the baseball field.

Public elementary schools[]

  • Pearl Lower Elementary (Grades K and 1) Built in 1932; Expansions* in 1999 and 2005[7]
  • Northside Elementary (Grades 2 and 3) Built in 1970; Expansions* in 1992, 1999 and 2007[7]
  • Pearl Upper Elementary (Grades 4 and 5) Built in 1965; Expansions* in 1999[7]

*Expansions include anything from adding a new wing or classrooms to adding new administrative offices, to adding a press box to the baseball field.


Pearl High School is currently rated a 5, which is the highest education level a school can reach in our Nation's Standard as set down by the No Child Left Behind Act, signed by President George W. Bush. Schools ratings are based on the Mississippi Curriculum Tests, which are issued every year to determine a school's effectiveness on its students.

Extracurricular programs[]

The Pearl Junior High School and Pearl High School athletic teams compete in football, baseball, soccer, track & field and softball. The school's mascot is the pirate. The sports' teams have participated in and won many state and district championships such as Track & Field, Baseball, Soccer and Cheerleading. For the past 5 years Pearl High School has won the 4-A State Championship in Soccer. The football team has won numerous district titles, its latest being in 2008.

Other organizations have also competed in state and district championships in Band, Choir, Dance, and Drama. The school's band is a worldwide known band. They performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1999. They won the 2008 and 2012 Mississippi Indoor Percussion Circuit Championships and are 2009 and 2011 5A state marching champions. They are the Pearl Pirate Band and have a partial reputation for performing at theme parks such as Disney World and Six Flags.

Private schools[]

  • Faith Academy - Grades Pre-kindergarten though 8 (served by the Mississippi Private School Association)
  • Park Place Christian Academy - Grades Pre-kindergarten through 12. PPCA graduates its first senior class in May 2012.


Pearl is home to many parks and recreational facilities.

  • Center City Complex - softball, baseball, soccer, and offices of the Parks and Recreation Department (has been the site of several United States Specialty Sports Association Regional and National Tournaments)
  • Pearl Activity Center (Old Boys Club) - baseball, meeting room, and gymnasium
  • Bright Park - A 2/3 mile physical fitness walking trail through nature and picnic areas
  • City Park - A family recreation area which includes, picnic areas, reserveable pavilion, children's playground, tennis courts, basketball court, and covered stage
  • Jenkins Park - A family recreation facility, children’s playground, picnic areas, pavilion, 1/2 mile walking trail, and softball field
  • Old Library Walking Trail - A 1/4 mile walking trail
  • Henry F. Shepherd Field Walking Trail - A 1/4 mile walking track around the old Pearl High School football field
  • Center City Walking Trail - A 1-mile (1.6 km) walking trail winding through the scenic wooded terrain
  • Pearl Municipal Golf Course - An 18 hole public golf course with a Club House and short order restaurant

Noteworthy natives[]

  • Tommy Aldridge - drummer
  • Justin Jenkins - NFL Buffalo Bills player
  • George Kersh - athlete
  • Ty Tabor - singer, guitarist for King's X[13]
  • Eric Washington - former NBA player

Professional sports[]

Trustmark Park in Pearl

The Mississippi Braves or M-Braves, a Class AA minor league baseball affiliate of the Atlanta Braves moved from Greenville, South Carolina to Pearl before the 2005 season. The M-Braves play in the Southern League. The team had their first game in the brand new Trustmark Park on April 18, 2005, losing to the Montgomery Biscuits.

High profile crime[]

  • On October 1, 1997, Luke Woodham went on a shooting spree that ended at Pearl High School, killing two and injuring seven, after earlier stabbing to death his mother.


  1. ^ "The City of Pearl Mississippi". The City of Pearl Mississippi. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "History of Pearl". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ 2008 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report; City of Pearl; PWS ID# 0610017. City of Pearl Water Department. 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h City of Pearl, Mississippi 2009 Comprehensive Plan; Pages 25-28; Accessed May 06, 2009
  8. ^ "State Prisons." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  9. ^ "MDOC QUICK REFERENCE." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  10. ^ "New Driver's License Facility Opens In Pearl." WAPT-TV. April 23, 2007. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  11. ^ "Central Regional Office." Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved on September 21, 2010.
  12. ^ "Locations and Driving Directions to MDEQ Offices." Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved on September 21, 2010.
  13. ^ King's X Lyrics and Biography

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