Fondren’s history can be traced back to 1855 when the Mississippi legislature deemed it the site of the Mississippi Lunatic Asylum. Back then, Fondren was a fork in the road where the city’s northernmost boundaries reached Old Canton Road.
The fork in the road is still there, but the Lunatic Asylum is not. It has been replaced with a bustling and vibrant medical community, home to University of Mississippi Medical Center and St. Dominic’s Hospital.
‘Sylum Heights, as it was known in the late 1800s, became known as Fondren when Richard Fondren relocated from South Caroline, bought almost 500 acres of land in Jackson, and eventually settled in the area that bears the Fondren name.
By the 1980s, the neighborhood was being abandoned with the growth of Jackson’s suburbs. Fondren residents fought for their community by organizing the Fondren Renaissance Foundation. The foundation’s boundaries included a socially, economically and racially diverse area of about 2500 residents and 200 small businesses.
Years later, Fondren has been dubbed “fresh and vibrant,” embracing the creative economy while treasuring its stately, historic homes and history.