Mendenhall is a city in Simpson County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 2,555 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Simpson County. Mendenhall is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Mendenhall was originally called Edna, to honor the wife of developer Phillip Didlake, but a town with that name already existed, so the city had its name changed to Mendenhall to honor Thomas Mendenhall, a citizen and lawyer from Westville, Mississippi. Mendenhall is the county seat of Simpson County. The Simpson County Courthouse was built in 1907 by architect Andrew J. Byron. Mendenhall Public School mascot is the Tigers. Also located in Mendenhall is Simpson County Academy. The school mascot is the Cougars. Mendenhall's zip code is 39114.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2), of which, 5.3 square miles (14 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.37%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,555 people, 938 households, and 678 families residing in the city. The population density was 480.4 people per square mile (185.4/km²). There were 1,039 housing units at an average density of 195.4 per square mile, (75.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.23% White, 27.98% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
There were 938 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 50.0% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.9% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,944, and the median income for a family was $32,656. Males had a median income of $30,335 versus $17,328 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,340. About 23.6% of families and 26.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.3% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
Mendenhall had a movie theatre called the Star Theatre, built by Edgar French, Ben Slay and Lonnie Burnham. Located on Main Street, the building boasted a 1 screen auditorium complete with balcony. It also featured a pool hall and three offices upstairs, one of which housed the city's Chamber of Commerce.
The Star Theatre opened for business on November 9, 1938 with the western, Born to the West.The price of admission was 11 cents and a box of popcorn was a dime. A man from Prentiss was initially hired to run the theatre, but he was soon "sent packing" and Edgar French informed his son, George Lewis French, that "You're taking over that picture show." Lewis French, who had worked in his father's ice plant growing up and was trained as a bookkeeper at Clarks Commercial College in Jackson, had no experience in running a movie theatre. He went to New Orleans to learn how to book movies and run the projection equipment. Aside from time spent serving in Europe as a radio man during World War II, French continued to operate the Star Theatre until he decided to close it in 1971.
During the late 1960s, the Star Theatre had problems with vandalism and growing racial tensions among its young patrons who objected to maintaining segregation. Under Jim Crow customs, black customers were required to sit in the segregated balcony and wanted this changed after national legislation to end such practices. In October 1979, a newly remodeled and fully integrated Star Theatre reopened under the ownership of Danny Collins, a young local entrepreneur. Its first movie was the Chuck Norris', A Force of One. The theatre enjoyed revived popularity until competition from video arcades and cable TV forced Collins to close some three years later.
The Star Theatre was repainted when used as a location for the film My Dog Skip. Heavy rains caused the roof to collapse in April 2008. The theatre burnt down in 2016.Stephen Hobbs, professional football player
Larry Hardy, professional football player
Clint Rotenberry, politician and businessman
Paul Ramsey, ethicist
Jessica Upshaw, politician and lawyer
Pauline Braddy, drummer