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South Pittsburg, Tenn.
Sunday, March 31, 2013    |   
Downtown South Pittsburg is lined with shops.
Downtown South Pittsburg is lined with shops.
Photo by Tim Barber.

“There’s a lot to say about a small town. There’s more offered in the big cities, but the good outweighs the bad in a small town.”

— Linda Ferrell, resident

Location: South Pittsburg is on the Alabama border in Southwest Marion County.

Size: 5.92 square miles.

Founded: 1886 and 1899 (separate dates of incorporation).

Population: 2,992.

Mayor: The town is governed by a mayor-commission government with five members. They are Mayor Jane Dawkins and commissioners Debbie Hughes, Jimmy Wigfall, Jeff Powers and Ronnie Lancaster.

Attraction: Each April, the town hosts the two-day National Cornbread Festival on the streets of downtown South Pittsburg with contests, music and food featuring the event’s namesake, cornbread.

Schools: South Pittsburg High, South Pittsburg Elementary, Richard Hardy Memorial School.

Place in history: The most notable war event here was the bombing of the Union Army’s earthen redoubt, Fort McCook, in August 1862. Fort McCook, which was located at the mouth of Battle Creek near the present-day location of the Sonic Drive-In restaurant, was continuously bombarded by heavy artillery for 12 hours on the night of Aug. 27, 1862.

Famous residents: South Pittsburg’s most famous native is Jobyna Lancaster Ralston, according to the South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society. She was born in South Pittsburg on Nov. 21, 1899, and after giving her first stage performance as the prince in “Cinderella” at the Wilson Theatre/Opera House in town, she went on to acting school in New York and later danced and sang on Broadway. She also co-starred in the first Marx Brothers’ film, “Humor Risk,” and continued acting until 1931, appearing in more than 100 films.