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Welcome to the Town of Centreville! Our town is defined less by boundaries on a map than by the sense of shared values our residents hold dear. We take pride in maintaining a wholesome lifestyle, rich in cultural history, along with a deep commitment to the preservation of our environment and a progressive approach to local business.
Centreville is a small town in rural southwest Mississippi that developed in the late nineteenth century on either side of the railroad tracks laid by the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. The community that evolved to become the railroad town of Centreville began as a settlement known as Elysian Fields or Amite Courthouse. United States Postal Records provide the following information, "Amite Court House or Elysian Fields established September 3, 1814." On July 27, 1824, the name of the post office was changed to Centreville. The name of the town derives from its geographic location in the center between the county seats of Liberty and Woodville and between the larger cities of Natchez and Baton Rouge. About 1880, rumors began to spread about the coming of a railroad to link Memphis to New Orleans by way of Vicksburg and Baton Rouge. Railroad engineers staked out the railroad, and residents of Centreville found that they had been bypassed by about one-half mile. The coming of the railroad marked the end of the settlement that began as Elysian Fields or Amite Courthouse and would later become known as Old Centreville. The new town of Centreville was laid out on either side of the railroad tracks. Local resident E.J. Capell wrote in his diary on April 16, 1884, "Today I witnessed the arrival of the first locomotive at new Centreville on the M.V. Railroard. It arrived there at half-past three o'clock in the afternoon, and was used by the railroad in laying track." Only a month earlier, on March 8, 1884, the new town of Centreville had been incorporated. The railroad tracks ran northeast to southwest, but Centreville interpreted them to run north and south in the naming of its streets. The town divided its main street, which cross the tracks, into East Main and West Main, and the streets that crossed East and West Main were divided north and south.
Soldiers from all across America were introduced to Centreville in 1942, when Camp Van Dorn, the nation's third largest armed services training camp was established. Located only three miles from downtown Centreville, Camp Van Dorn encompassed 41,844 acres and had barracks to accommodate 39,114 enlisted men and 2,173 officers. Camp Van Dorn bolstered the local economy during the war years. Surprisingly, the impact of approximately 40,000 soldiers on the physical appearance of the town was minimal.
Centreville has now been abandoned by the railroad which created it, and the town has unfortunately lost its depot building. A park in memory of Louis Gaulden and Riquita B. Jackson replaces the tracks and depot buildings. East and West Railroad Avenues, the two streets that flanked the tracks have been renamed East and West Park streets with north-south directional variations (East Park Street South, etc.) A remant of the town's railroad history is found within the park area. Just north of Main Street, east from where the passenger depot stood, is a low concrete wall with raised letters that spell Centreville set at a forty-five degree angle. Just south of the concrete wall is a small monument to the memory of Centreville soldiers killed in World War I.
Reference: Mississippi Department of Archives and History