Though a vibrant and forward-moving community, New Albany continues to value the traditions which have shaped its quality of life throughout its history. As the birthplace of celebrated author William Faulkner and as the adopted home of Morris Futorian, father of the Northeast Mississippi furniture industry, New Albany’s industrious and enthusiastic spirit has cultivated and nurtured a variety of local talents.
Organized in 1840 at the site of a grist mill and a saw mill on the Tallahatchie River near the intersection of two historic Chickasaw Indian trade trails, the town developed as a river port and as a regional center for agriculture and commerce. The Civil War interrupted this progress, however, as Union troops swept through the city and burned all but a few buildings.
Known for its resiliency, the community rallied, and Union County was formed from parts of neighboring Lee, Pontotoc, and Tippah Counties in 1870, with New Albany designated as county seat. The city’s new role as a center of government led to renewed economic activity. Citizens’ efforts in the late 1880’s to secure a railroad through New Albany were rewarded with two railroads connecting the community to points north, south, east and west. Interestingly, depot clerk for one of the railroads was none other than the father of William Faulkner. Born in 1897 in a single-story clapboard house, Faulkner went on to write 19 novels and 75 short stories, winning the coveted Nobel Prize and the Pulitzer Prize twice for his work.
In 1909, the Union County Courthouse was completed, and highway growth during the 20th century assured the community’s status as an important point on the Mid-South’s transportation and trade routes. In 1946, the Union County Development Association was formed, and in 1948, Russian emigrant Morris Futorian built the first assembly-line furniture plant, shaping North Mississippi’s meteoric furniture industry growth that has continued today. Industrial development and diversification efforts have resulted in the recruitment of companies beyond furniture manufacturing, and today includes approximately 30 industries that produce everything from medical uniforms to automobile engine parts to high-tech industrial equipment. New Albany has also emerged as a regional healthcare provider with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County, a modern medical facility which continues to expand its services and physician base.