heart of the future city of Hattiesburg. When the railroad arrived in the fall of 1883, the signal stop was briefly called Gordon’s Station, but the name soon changed to Hattiesburg once the federal government established a post office there in December 1883. A mere four months later, Hattiesburg became a municipality on March 11, 1884, when the Mississippi legislature approved the citizens’request for incorporation. Oliver Hazard Perry Jones took office as the first mayor, overseeing city limits that extended “to the Leaf River on the East and one mile in all other directions from the railroad depot of the New Orleans and Northwestern Railroad.” Hardy’s imaginative tribute to his wife had become a reality. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the young municipality grew steadily. Although Hattiesburg represented the home of only a few hundred people at the time of incorporation in 1884, the town boasted over 4,000 residents by 1900, and by 1910 the population had burgeoned to over 11,000. A visitor to the town in 1894 offered the following description: “We found Hattiesburg to be much above the average of railroad towns. It has a population of over 2,000, a fine array of excellent business houses—several two-story brick—and now a few first class as to the amount of business being transacted. All of the trades seem well represented and a fine market for all country produce, such as cotton, turpentine, corn, and vegetables, is found in its marts and among its people.” On November 21, 1906, the youthful city of Hattiesburg celebrated the opening of the five-story Hotel Hattiesburg with a grand banquet. Special trains ran from both Jackson and Gulfport along the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, carrying guests including Mississippi governor James K. Vardaman, former Congressman John Allen, Congressman Eaton J. Bowers, and John Sharp Williams. A number of other political and business leaders from Mississippi, New York, and Louisiana also attended, but the two most important guests at the gathering were William Harris Hardy and Joseph T. Jones. These two men were instrumental in the growth and development of Hattiesburg and, to a greater extent, the Piney Woods of South Mississippi, as they forged the rail network of which Hattiesburg became the hub. Hardy founded Hattiesburg, but it was Jones’s night as he celebrated the THE PINEY WOODS 177