A rich sense of history surrounds and influences Collierville, the second
oldest town in Shelby County.
In the middle 1830’s the settlement was located on Poplar Pike (then State Line
Road) and was once part of Tennessee and Mississippi due to a surveyor’s error
that was corrected in 1838.
In 1836, Collierville received its name because Jesse R. Collier, entrepreneur
laid out a tract of land into lots, bought space in the Memphis Enquirer, and
advertised “The Town of Collier for Sale.”
The town was first incorporated in 1850 (east of its present site) with Richard
Ramsey being the first mayor.
“Sherman’s March to the Sea” caused an end to Collierville’s first town. On
Sunday morning October 11, 1863 Union General William T. Sherman and his Union
solders defended the train depot from the Confederates. The Union and
Confederate soldiers fought one of the bloodiest battles in Shelby County here
in Collierville. The town was burned to the ground with only a few buildings
In 1867, Harrison Irby and Virginus Leake bought approximately ninety acres at
our present town’s location. The acreage was then divided and sold in lots. The
date of Collierville’s second incorporation was February 17, 1870 with James B.
Abington serving as mayor.
The Collierville Town Square was the business center of town and enhanced
Collierville’s ability to become a progressive community following the Civil
War. The Historic Town Square, listed on the National Register of Historic
Places continues to be a major source of pride among all Collierville residents
Confederate Park, in the center of the business district is a monument to the
old style South that has been lost in many larger cities. The Park has served as
the site for various organized events such as the Cheese Carnival, Watermelon
Festival, Fair on the Square, Mulberry Fine Arts Festival, Dickens on the Square
and many others. Around 1876, a two-story bandstand was constructed in the Park
where it stood until it was destroyed by a tornado in 1955. It was replaced ten
years later by a wrought iron, cedarshake, octagon-shaped gazebo.
The 1900’s were a time of tremendous growth for Collierville as it served as the
“trade center” of the cotton industry for several surrounding counties. In the
late 1920’s when the boll weevil visited the area, Collierville began to develop
the dairy industry. By 1933, Collierville’s importance as a dairy center led to
the establishment of a cheese plant by Swift & Co. Soon, Collierville became the
cheese-making capital of West Tennessee.
By 1953, industry was fast becoming a sizable contributor to Collierville’s
economy. Companies such as Hart’s Manufacturing, Wonder Products, Walker Machine
Products and The Bodine Company provided employment for many in the Collierville
Collierville is now a dynamic town with friendly people, outstanding community
services, scenic beauty and prosperous businesses. Home to 44,304 people and
facilities such as Federal Express’s state-of-the-art Information Technology
campus, Helena Chemical, NSA, the Baptist Memorial Hospital, Carrier, Philips
Bodine and several other manufacturing companies, Collierville has become a
much-desired community in which to live and do business.
Throughout Collierville’s history, the commitment to quality living and
dedication to preserving the past of our great community has remained constant.
As our Historic Town Square thrives, it serves as a reminder to each of us that
history is our own to make, one day at a time, even as we keep an eye to the