Since 1949 the State Historical Marker program has identified and interpreted historic sites across Mississippi. The familiar silver and green tablets stand in practically every city and town in the state, commemorating significant people, events, or movements. Nearly nine hundred markers can be found near buildings, battlefields, cemeteries, churches, temples, forts, homes, schools, and abandoned towns.
Historical markers serve visitors to the state and residents alike. For tourists the markers may be their only glimpses into the state’s rich and varied history. For Mississippi communities the markers can be points of pride that memorialize locally important people and events.
Some markers commemorate subjects of national prominence, while others focus on little-known but significant facts of Mississippi history—such as the birth of Barq’s root beer in Harrison County in 1898 or the site in Vicksburg where the state’s first telephone exchange was installed on January 10, 1881. Other markers spotlight the route of eminent early American naturalist William Bartram down the Mississippi River, the site in Coahoma County of the Chickasaw-Choctaw line, and the 1,100-acre estate owned by President James K. Polk in Grenada County.
State Historical Markers are privately sponsored and funded. Anyone may sponsor a marker. To qualify, a site must have unique historical significance to the local community, the state, or the nation. Generally, events featured on the markers should have occurred at least fifty years ago. Each marker’s subject and content must be supported with primary source documentation and approved by the MDAH Board of Trustees, which meets quarterly every year.
Many sponsors choose to have an unveiling ceremony for new markers. A representative from the Department of Archives and History is usually able to attend.
For more information about sponsoring a marker, contact Jim Woodrick at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History by email or at 601-576-6908.
Markers are made from aluminum to withstand the extremes of Mississippi’s seasons. They measure four feet wide by three feet high. The text is of raised lettering one inch, one-and-a-half inches, or two inches high. Total cost of a marker is dependent on the size of the text.
Marker text is drafted by the Department of Archives and History with advice from the sponsor. The Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History has final approval on all marker text. MDAH works directly with the manufacturer in the fabrication and shipping of the markers. The finished marker is shipped to the Mississippi Department of Transportation district office nearest the site, at which time the manufacturer will bill the sponsor directly.
The most common letter size is 1.5″, but 1″ and 2″ letters are also available with varying prices. The most current pricing can be found here.
If you are interested in sponsoring a marker, please print and complete this State Historical Marker Request Form and send it, along with supporting documentation and references, to State Historical Marker Program, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Preservation Division, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205-0571.
Applicants may suggest text for the markers. Grids may be printed out here for standard format markers with 1.5″-high letters, as well as for 1″ and 2″ letters. The first line on each grid is for the marker title. Punctuation marks and spacing between words each count as one space.