Located in the Mississippi Delta region, Greenwood (population 18, 425) was founded as a trading post on the banks of the Yazoo River in 1830. Incorporated in 1844, the settlement was named for Choctaw Indian Chief Greenwood Leflore.
Strategically located, Greenwood served as a cotton shipping point for New Orleans, Vicksburg, Memphis, and St. Louis during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Downtown’s Front Street bustled with cotton factories and other related businesses, earning that section of town the name Cotton Row. The area is now one of Greenwood’s six historic districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
During the Civil War, Confederate forces sank the captured Union ship Star of the West in the Tallahatchie River near Greenwood to block passage of the Union Navy’s advances on Vicksburg. Artifacts from the vessel are among the collections interpreted at Greenwood’s Cottonlandia Museum.
The historic Keesler Bridge (1924) is a gateway to the historic downtown. Spanning the Yazoo River, the bridge is one of six Greenwood structures that are designated Mississippi landmarks. Threatened by potential demolition in 1999, the bridge instead received a $1.3 renovation through the efforts of a public-private partnership determined to preserve it.
Greenwood has several historic sites associated with the birth of blues music, including the burial site of Robert Johnson, a seminal figure in the history of this musical genre. Greenwood is participating in the development of the Mississippi Blues Trail, which will place interpretive markers at key associated sites throughout the state.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2006.