Established in 1829 as the county seat of Hinds County, Raymond, Mississippi (population 1,664), has a rich and colorful history. As a stop along the Natchez Trace, the town quickly became a bustling trade center, complete with lawyers and physicians. It even boasted a mineral spa.
The magnificent 1859 courthouse, a fine example of southern antebellum architecture, has been called one of the 10-most perfectly constructed buildings in the United States. The site of a decisive battle in the Siege of Vicksburg, Raymond has many antebellum homes and churches that were used as hospitals and headquarters by Grant's advancing army.
The non-profit "Friends of Raymond" was founded in 1998 by concerned citizens, public agencies, elected officials, businesses and other groups dedicated to the preservation, management, and promotion of significant Raymond historical areas. The organization has acquired 65 of the 4,024 acres of Raymond's battlefield and has been diligently working to preserve the site, named by the Civil War Preservation Trust in 2001 as one of the 10-most endangered Civil War battlefields in America.
"Friends of Raymond," with the help of the Civil War Preservation Trust, hopes to purchase more of the historic battlefield, and is using Transportation Enhancement funding to develop an interpretive trail. According to Mayor Isla Tullos, "The rich Civil War history of this State can and should be an engine of economic prosperity for all Mississippians. Civil War history and tourism are natural partners."
Annual heritage tourism events include "A Place Called Raymond—Fall Pilgrimage" featuring tours of historic properties and living history exhibits, and an all-day bus tour of the Grand Gulf/Raymond Scenic Byway (50 miles) exploring the history of the Natchez Trace and Grant's Vicksburg Campaign.
This State-designated route was established through the cooperation of many public and private partners and links natural, historic, and cultural points of interest including the Dillon Plantation, now a National Park Service site.
Raymond, a Certified Local Government, has recently enacted an historic preservation plan, established an historic preservation commission, and designated a historic district.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2004.