Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

krazeeboi

Your state's largest cities through history

33 posts in this topic

Which cities in your state have at one point or another held the title of the state's largest city? For South Carolina, only two cities could make that claim: Charleston (from our state's founding to sometime in the mid-20th century) and Columbia (from mid-20th century onward).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Mobile was Alabama's largest until around 1900, and Birmingham has been the largest ever since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my home state of Virginia:

1607-1620s Jamestown

mid 1600s-early 1700s Williamsburg

mid 1700s Norfolk

late 1700s-1950s Richmond

1950s-1980 Norfolk

1980-present Virginia Beach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a hard one! Cities are apparently reticent to say "yeah, we were the largest, but then we stopped growing and now we're number 27..."

I compared historical figures for Memphis & Nashville:

Memphis -- Nashville

1830: 663 -- 5,566

1840: 1,799 -- 7,868

1850: 8,841 -- 10,165

1860: 22,623 -- 18,015

1870: 40,226 -- 25,865

1880: 33,592 -- 51,017

1890: 64,495 -- 76,168

1900: 102,320 -- 80,865

1910: 131,105 -- 110,364

1920: 162,351 -- 118,342

1930: 253,140 -- 153,866

1940: 292,942 -- 167,402

1950: 396,000 -- 174,307

1960: 497,524 -- 170,874

1970: 623,520 -- 448,003

1980: 646,356 -- 455,651

1990: 610,337 -- 488,374

2000: 650,100 -- 569,891

2005: 680,768 -- 575,261

So it looks like Nashville was the largest 1830 - 1850. Memphis became largest 1860 - 1870, then back to Nashville 1880-1890. Since 1900 Memphis has been the largest city in Tennessee, although note Nashville's consolidation in the 1960's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at the historical records, and this is what shows in NC from 1820-present.

1820-New Bern town, NC.................. 3,663

1830-New Bern town, NC.................. 3,796

1840-Wilmington town, NC................ 5,335

1850-Wilmington town, NC................ 7,264

1860-Wilmington town, NC................ 9,552

1870-Wilmington town, NC................ 13,446

1880-Wilmington town, NC................ 17,350

1890-Wilmington town, NC................ 20,056

1900-Wilmington town, NC................ 20,976

1910-Charlotte city, NC.................... 34,014

1920-Winston-Salem city, NC............ 48,395

1930-Charlotte city, NC.................... 82,675

1940-Charlotte city, NC.................... 112,986

1950-Charlotte city, NC.................... 134,042

1960-Charlotte city, NC.................... 200,882

1970-Charlotte city, NC.................... 241,178

1980-Charlotte city, NC.................... 314,447

1990-Charlotte city, NC.................... 395,934

2000-Charlotte city, NC.................... 540,828

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dang. so in 1920 Winston-Salem was almost as big as current 2006 Greenville, SC city. Pretty Amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^In terms of municipal population.

I thought Winston-Salem initially snagged the title from Wilmington, and then Charlotte grabbed it, but apparently Charlotte slipped a little in the 1910's then recovered. Interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
^In terms of municipal population.

I thought Winston-Salem initially snagged the title from Wilmington, and then Charlotte grabbed it, but apparently Charlotte slipped a little in the 1910's then recovered. Interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Little Rock has always been the largest in the state of Arkansas.

Pine Bluff used to be second, but Ft. Smith passed it up a while ago. Pine Bluff is now about 6th in the state.

1. Little Rock (185,000ish)

2. Ft. Smith (81,000)

3. Fayetteville (70,000ish)

4. Springdale (65,000)

5. North Little Rock (61,000)

6. Pine Bluff (55,085)

7. Jonesboro (56,000ish)

8. Conway (51,000-55,000ish)

9. Rogers (50,000)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I looked at the historical records, and this is what shows in NC from 1820-present.

1820-New Bern town, NC.................. 3,663

1830-New Bern town, NC.................. 3,796

1840-Wilmington town, NC................ 5,335

1850-Wilmington town, NC................ 7,264

1860-Wilmington town, NC................ 9,552

1870-Wilmington town, NC................ 13,446

1880-Wilmington town, NC................ 17,350

1890-Wilmington town, NC................ 20,056

1900-Wilmington town, NC................ 20,976

1910-Charlotte city, NC.................... 34,014

1920-Winston-Salem city, NC............ 48,395

1930-Charlotte city, NC.................... 82,675

1940-Charlotte city, NC.................... 112,986

1950-Charlotte city, NC.................... 134,042

1960-Charlotte city, NC.................... 200,882

1970-Charlotte city, NC.................... 241,178

1980-Charlotte city, NC.................... 314,447

1990-Charlotte city, NC.................... 395,934

2000-Charlotte city, NC.................... 540,828

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I find amazing about this is the difference in Charlotte population in just 50 years. Look at 1950 and look at 2000....more than double. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and in the 50's (though that was before my time) Birmingham was somewhere around 350,000, the city now is lucky to count 225,000 or 230,000.....don't have the exact figures, yet it's metro has exploded and doing very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, Birmingham has always been the "Detroit of the South" IMO. :rolleyes: It has people that have squandered on the city's potential for their own personal gain. It can bounce back, but only with good, strong leadership.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I find amazing about this is the difference in Charlotte population in just 50 years. Look at 1950 and look at 2000....more than double. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and in the 50's (though that was before my time) Birmingham was somewhere around 350,000, the city now is lucky to count 225,000 or 230,000.....don't have the exact figures, yet it's metro has exploded and doing very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New Orleans has been the largest city in Louisiana for at least 250 years, but I'll have to find some official numbers for city populations in Louisiana in the late 1600's and the early 1700's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
New Orleans has been the largest city in Louisiana for at least 250 years, but I'll have to find some official numbers for city populations in Louisiana in the late 1600's and the early 1700's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Galveston was the largest city in Texas until 1900 when a hurricane largely destroyed it. After that Houston replaced it in prominence and is the largest city today, followed by Dallas and San Antonio as distant 2nd and 3rd.

In Arkansas, Little Rock has been the largest city since the 1830s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charlotte's growth is a good example of true growth plus really liberal state annexation laws.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Natchitoches, LA is the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase, established in 1714. I guess that means at one time it was larger than New Orleans...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More research into Virginia yilded this breakdown:

1790 - Richmond - 3,761

1800 - Norfolk - 6,926

1810 - Richmond - 9,735

1850 - Richmond - 27,570

1900 - Richmond - 85,050

1950 - Richmond - 230,310

1960 - Norfolk - 305,872

1970 - Norfolk - 307,951

1980 - Norfolk - 266,979

1990 - Virginia Beach - 393,069

2000 - Virginia Beach - 425,257

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Virginia's cities have a fascinating history due to the "independent city" status of its cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Galveston was the largest city in Texas until 1900 when a hurricane largely destroyed it. After that Houston replaced it in prominence and is the largest city today, followed by Dallas and San Antonio as distant 2nd and 3rd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some people say that Galveston never recovered from the storm, but El-Paso and Forth Worth also have populations of over 600,000. We can have 5 cities with over 1 million people in this state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Galveston was the largest city in Texas until 1900 when a hurricane largely destroyed it. After that Houston replaced it in prominence and is the largest city today, followed by Dallas and San Antonio as distant 2nd and 3rd.

In Arkansas, Little Rock has been the largest city since the 1830s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought San Antonio at one point was the largest city in the state. Houston has been the largest since the 1920's I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one has done Georgia?

1860 - 1900: Savannah*, 14,580 (1860)

1900 - present: Atlanta, 89,872 (1900) and 470,688 (2005 estimate)

*Savannah had been largest since Georgia was declared a British Colony but was officially certified by the Census in 1860.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.