Clinton, MS- hosts Mississippi oldest College and now a Suburb of Jackson

The urban core of Clinton is very small (only .12 square miles) formed by College St. to the South, Clinton Pkwy to the East, West St. to the west and the rail road to the north.

In 1828, the city changed its name to Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton, the former governor of New York who led the completion of the Erie Canal. The first road through Clinton was the Natchez Trace. Clinton has the distinction of hosting’s the state’s oldest college, Mississippi College founded in 1826. Like many towns in the South, Clinton remained small before WWII fluctuating between 350-900 residents between 1880-1940. Clinton’s post war population boomed as it became a rapidly growing suburb in metro Jackson.

While Jackson is a pleasant and stable college town within a 15 minute drive of Dwtn Jackson it has a chilling racist past. In the 1870s during the reconstructionist era White insurgents disrupted a voting rally, attacking blacks in what was called the “Clinton Riot.” It resulted in the deaths of several white men and an estimated 50 blacks and was part of the movement in the south to reverse voting rights and the elections of African Americans.

The small historic core of Clinton is pleasant and generally walkable with several food & beverage businesses, some retail, attractive historic homes and commercial, nice tree lined streets, and convenient access to Mississippi College. It would be nice to see more density in the historic core with the additional of a couple mixed-use buildings catering to college students along with more walkable schools in the historic core. Really no public transit to speak of in Clinton and limited (if any) bus options to Dwtn Jackson.

Click here to view my Clinton, MS album on Flickr


* Great access to Mississippi College, which employees about 1,000 people.
* Good connectivity.
* Great diversity, especially racial and economic.
* Attractive historic residential and commercial architecture. Attractive collegiate architecture as well.
* Excellent Tree canopy.
* Decent park including several sports fields, a pocket park and all the green space in the college quads.
* Culturally a good # of food & beverage bizs, a couple art galleries, a historic museum, a historic home and the performing arts coming from the college.
* Supermarket & Drug store just outside the Clinton Historic Core. Within the Historic Core there are a several boutiques & gift stores, a college bookstore, a bank, several salons, a post office, a couple medical offices, and several churches. Plenty of other retail amenities in Clinton but in the outskirts and not walkable to the core.
* Clinton is one of the most safe communities in MS.
* Nice block and 1/2 commercial node at Jefferson and Main. Good streetscaping and urban form here too.
* Decent pedestrian activity.


* Low Density for an urban neighborhood.
* Decent sidewalk infrastructure but about 1/3 of all streets are without sidewalks and very few proper ADA curb cuts.
* Really not public transit to speak of here. Not even sure if there is a connection to Dwtn Jackson.
 * Dwtn Jackson is only a 20 drive to Clinton but all other modes of transit are very limited.
* No bike infrastructure to speak of here.
* Modern infill is very limited.
* A couple Christian schools within and around the Historic Core. Good public schools in Clinton but all in the outskirts and not walkable.

Belhaven- Jackson’s best Urban District

I included most of the traditional areas of Belhaven but excluded the area west of West St. as this is a rather blighted part of the neighborhood and the sliver between the railroad and highway to the east as this is an industrial area.

Belhaven is named after Confederate veteran Jones S. Hamilton’s house, which became the namesake of Belhaven University. Fortification Street, which runs East and West through Belhaven paved over what was once one of the last Confederate battle lines during the Siege of Jackson. Belhaven Heights is the neighborhood’s wealthiest enclave and noticeably more hilly than the rest of the district. Because it hosts several universities and hospitals many of Belhaven’s residents are either faculty or staff working at these institutions. The neighborhood is one of Jackson’s wealthiest communities.

Urban form is not great in Belhaven and the neighborhood lacks a convincing urban business node as found in Fondren. The most promising area for urbanity is the mixed-use node at Jefferson and Manship and the hospital district to the west. State Ave is very mixed-use but the urban form is uninspiring and autocentric. Most residential areas lack sidewalks but connectivity is still decent. For Belhaven to become an quality urban district it needs to densify and create more mixed-use urban infill along State Ave and around the Jefferson and Manship node.

Click here to view my Belhaven album on Flickr


* Great access to Dwtn being just north of it.
* Decent connectivity.
* Excellent racial and economic diversity. Decent generational diversity.
* Belhaven is generally a safe area but the western edge is a bit rough.
* Several excellent schools along the northern border of Belhaven. A couple other schools throughout the neighborhood.
* No 1-bed homes but decent diversity elsewhere. 2-beds sell btwn 75K-300K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 130K-350K.
* Decent park amenities including a playground, recreational trail, a couple medium sized parks, decent quad open space in the two universities, and the expansive LeFleur’s State Park is on its Northeastern border.
* Good cultural amenities including a good # of food & bev businesses, a community theater, cultural amenities from the two universities, a couple live music venues, a College Art Museum, and several historic homes.
* Okay retail amenities too including a supermarket, a couple drug stores & banks, an interesting general store, a couple gift shops, a couple dessert joints & gyms, and convenient access to 3 hospitals and medical offices.
* Attractive first half of the 20th century architecture with some nice historic university buildings as well.
* Good tree canopy, especially north of Fortification.


* Low density for an urban neighborhood.
* Nice recreational path along the eastern boundary of Belhaven but not really no other bike infrastructure here.
* Other than the colleges, pedestrian activity is limited here.
* Rentals are pretty limited. Few 1-beds. 2-beds lease in the low-mid 1Ks. 3-beds lease btwn the mid 1Ks to 2K.
* Missing a local library & post office, few churches, and no department or big box stores.
* Most of modern in-fill is pretty ugly and auto centric but some decent urban infill around the Baptist Hospital.
* Urban form and streetscaping are generally sub par. Some hope at Jefferson and Manship with some mixed-use business opening and close proximity to the Baptist Hospital.
* Other than State Ave and Fortification, and a couple other spots, sidewalks are largely absent from the neighborhood.

Fondren- Jackson’s wealhiest community and home to the City’s highest concentration of hospital

I excluded the portion of Fondren north of the Eubanks Creek as this is the most suburban part of the neighborhood and most disconnected from the urban node along State St.

Fondren has an interesting history as it was once home to the Mississippi Lunatic Asylum and known as ‘Sylum Heights’. It was annexed by the city in 1925 and the Asylum was eventually replaced with a bustling and vibrant medical community, (i.e. University of Mississippi Medical Center and St. Dominic’s Hospital). The Neighborhood’s commercial district along State and Mitchell was built up by the 1930s and residential areas filled in by WWII. Like most of Jackson, Fondren was started to decline in the 1980s with the region’s intense movement away from the City into the suburbs. Fortunately Fondren residents rallied and were able to reverse course with a strong community organization (called Fondren Renaissance Foundation) and the neighborhood stabilized. Fondren along with Belhaven to the south are Jackson’s most prosperous neighborhoods and still manage to have good racial and economic diversity.

Fondren isn’t great from an urban perspective. The Mitchell and State Ave road is a decent two block urban commercial district and there is some urbanity in the hospital district, but most residential areas, albeit developed between the 1930s and 1950, lack sidewalks and have the density and connectivity more similar to a suburb. There has been some mixed-use infill along State Street. I hope this continues and connects to the Fondren Hospital district helping to create a real urban node in the neighborhood.

Click here to view my Fondren Album on Flickr


* Good access to Dwtn given Fondren is only 2 miles away. Fondren also hosts an expansive Hospital Complex.
* Nice two block long commercial node along State St.
* Good diversity statistic especially economic and racial.
* Other than the western edge of the neighborhood Fondren is very safe.
* Decent # of rentals especially 2-beds. 1-beds lease around $850, 2-beds generally in sf homes lease btwn 1K-1.5K, and some 3-beds that lease for a bit more.
* No 1-bed homes but decent diversity elsewhere. 2-beds sell btwn 75K-225K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 125K-500K. Some larger homes sell for more.
* Very dense tree canopy outside of the hospital district.
* Good cultural amenities, especially for Jackson, including many food & beverage business centered around Mitchell and State Ave., a couple live music venues, a historic movie theater, a couple art galleries, and several museums along Fondren eastern border.
* Good retail amenities including a Piggly Wiggly, a couple grocerias, several drug stores & banks, some boutiques/clothing stores, good number of gift shops and unique retail options, a couple florists, a local post office, and several major hospitals and tons of medical offices


* Sidewalks existing on about a1/3 of the neighborhood and ADA curbs are even less frequent.
* Biking infrastructure is almost non-existent.
* Public Transit access is so so.
* Limited # of schools within Fondren but some excellent ones along its southern border with Belhaven.
* Only one smaller park within Fondren. Expansive state park on the SE corner of the neighborhood but located across a highway.
* Very low density for an urban district.
* Missing a local library, few churches, and no department or big box stores.
* Much of the retail is along auto centric roads and not terribly walkable.
* Much of the modern infill is auto centric strip development but some decent infill at Mitchell and State and the Hospital architecture is ok.