Tunica Timeline

1541

Hernando DeSoto discovers "Rio Grande" the Mississippi River at Leatherman's Mound in Tunica County.

1830

Chickasaw Cession gives Mississippi Territory to United States.

1832

Treaty of Pontotoc creates 14 northern Mississippi counties including Tunica County.

1834

County opened to settlers, Town of Commerce founded at Commerce Landing.

1836

February 3 - Tunica County was one of ten counties created from Chickasaw Indian territory ceded to the U.S. in 1816. Commerce named as first county seat.

1839

February 15 - Commerce, the first town in Tunica County, was incorporated. With a population of 7,000, Commerce was larger than the city of Memphis in 1839.

1842

Flood washes half of Commerce into the Mississippi River. County Seat is moved to Peyton. After six months County Seat moves back to Commerce into brick courthouse and jail. They remain standing today.

1847

Austin becomes County Seat.

1861

Union army raids Austin taking food and livestock

1863

Union army burns Austin except for two houses.

1871

The town of Austin incorporates

1882

During a flood, the Mississippi River moves two miles west of Austin leaving a giant sandbar that makes steamboat landings impossible.

1884

White Oak Ridge becomes Tunica. Louisville, Texas and New Orleans Railroad comes through Tunica County. EL Harris deeds land to the railroad in exchange for a permanent stop in Tunica. Carnesville changes its name to Dundee.

1888

March 3 - Town of Tunica is incorporated, beating Dundee, Hollywood and Evansville by 65 votes to become County Seat.

1918

Historic Hotel Marie opens in Downtown Tunica.

1980

The total farm population for Tunica County was 670 persons, with a non-farm population of almost 9,000 persons.

1986

Tunica County reported to be one of twenty-five counties in the United States with the lowest per capita income.

1990

Mississippi legislature legalized gaming for the state.

1991

The residents of Tunica County approved gaming without opposition.
The Mississippi River Amusement Corporation filed the first notice of intent to apply for a gaming license in Tunica County.

1992

October 19 - Tunica's first casino, Splash, opened its doors, at Mhoon Landing.

1993

September 18 - Lady Luck Casino opens at Mhoon Landing
November 4 - US News & World Report ranks Mississippi number one in the nation for economic recovery from the 1990 recession - they site gaming as the major reason.
November 25 - Harrah's Casino opens in North Tunica County
December 6 - President Casino opens at 10:00 a.m. and Bally's Casino opens at 6:00 p.m., marking the first time two Mississippi casinos have opened on the same day and in the same county.

1994

February 19 - Southern Belle Casino opens (now Harrah's).
March 30 - Mississippi legislature establishes Casino Road Fund with Hwy. 61 to be expanded to four lanes.
May 10 - Treasure Bay Casino opens in Tunica.
May 25 - Sam's Town opens as Tunica's largest casino to date.
June 6 - Fitzgeralds Casino opens.
July 8 - President Casino closes its doors at Mhoon landing.
August 1 - Tunica Roadhouse, previously the Sheraton, Casino opens.
August 8 - Hollywood Casino opens.
August 29 - Circus Circus (Gold Strike) opens.
August 31 - Southern Bell closes.
September 5 - Splash Casino welcomes its three millionth visitor.

1995

February 4 - Methodist Clinic opens in North Tunica County.
February 13 - Horseshoe Casino opens.
May 12 - 5-lane Casino Strip Boulevard opens
June 8 - Tunica County becomes debt-free by setting aside $4 million in escrow.
June 10 - Treasure Bay Casino closes.
October 17 - Tunica County is featured on Good Morning America - Growth of Gaming Industry outside of the state of Nevada.
December 18 - Bally's Casino re-opens in North Tunica County.
December 30 - Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn and Key West Inn have opened in Tunica County.

1996

February 15 - Sam's Town announces a $40 million expansion with convention facilities and 350 new hotel rooms, bringing their total to 860 rooms.
April 8 - Harrah's Casino opens old Southern Belle - operates two casinos in Tunica.
June 18 - Horseshoe Casino breaks ground on $60 million expansion including Bluesville, Blues & Legends Hall of Fame Museum, a 300 all-suite hotel and parking garage.
June 24 - Grand Casino opens a $450 million facility - the largest in Tunica at 340,000 square feet on 2,200 acres.
July 22 - Fitzgeralds opens a $34 million, 507-room hotel.
September 12 - Hollywood Casino opens 352 new rooms and 15,000 square feet of convention space.
October 22 - Hwy. 61 opens as a four-lane route from Tennessee to Hwy. 304 in Tunica.

1997

January 3 - Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau opens.
February 20 - Grand Casino announces plans for $18 million Cottonwoods to be designed by Hale Irwin - Tunica's second world-class golf course.
March 6 - Supervisors vote to increase Town of Tunica gaming tax from 3% to 8%.
July 24 - Grand Convention Center opens its 48,000-square-foot facility.
August 15 - Tunica County Museum Committee is formed. 
Town of Tunica budget is set at $3 million with a 25% cut in property tax.
August 20 - Gold Strike opens 31-story hotel and entertainment facility, making it the tallest building in Mississippi.
December 4 - Tunica Roadhouse, previously the Sheraton, Casino opens 140-room all-suite hotel.

1998

May 3 - Blues & Legends Hall of Fame Museum opens in Horseshoe Casino.
August 1 - Tunica County Courthouse completes $1.5 million in renovations, while another $5 million in construction begins on the Tunica County Justice Complex and $1.8 million for Phase I of the Tunica County Recreation facility.
October 15 - Willows Sporting Clay Range opens at Grand Casino.
November 6 - River Bend Links opens a 6,900-yard world-class golf course at Casino Strip.
December 31 - Bluesville Nightclub opens at Horseshoe Casino.

1999

March 26 - Grand Casino opens the $72 million, 600-room Terrance Hotel.
June 15 - US Supreme Court opened door to full broadcast gambling, complete with pictures of bettors at the tables.
July 6 - Tunica CVB opens the Welcome Center and Office Complex on Hwy.61.
July 7 - GW Henderson Recreation Center opens in Tunica.
November 23 - Casino Factory Shoppes opens several retail stores in North Tunica County.

2000

April 8 - Tunica County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Tunica are accepted as a Mississippi Main Street Community.
August 4 - Tunica Arena and Exposition Center opens in Tunica.
September 12 - Town of Tunica adopts a 0 municipal real property tax and flat-rate water billing system.
October 10 - Horseshoe Casino begins a $40 million expansion.
October 12 - Phase II of the Casino Factory Shoppes opens with an additional 60,000 square feet of retail space.
November 10 - Tunica CVB wins the "Gold Star for Service Award," the first bureau from the state of Mississippi to win the award in its 17-year history.

2001

January 23 - Tunica County breaks ground on $40 million airport expansion. 5,500-foot runway by 2003, 7,000-foot runway by the end of the first quarter of 2004.
April 2 - The Tunica County casino industry, Tunica CVB and Premier Transportation of Memphis, TN, join forces to accommodate the millions of guests who visit Tunica by providing a casino shuttle service, Casino Shuttle.
October 29 - Tunica breaks ground on $22 million, 168-acre eco-park, museum and interpretive center, the Tunica RiverPark.
November 14 - MS State Tourism Department announces results from its Motor Coach survey, indicating Tunica as growing destination, with 21,929 tours, bringing a total of 845,568 visitors to Tunica County.

2002

June 30 - Tunica County Museum opened its doors.
April 16 - Lennox Lewis and challenger Mike Tyson chose Tunica for their training camp, in preparation for a match to take place in Memphis, TN.
November 11 - Oliver North is guest speaker for dedication of the new Veteran's Memorial in Downtown Tunica.
September - Isle of Capri sold to neighboring Sam's Town. The casino is closed, but the hotel and entertainment center remain open.
October 17 - Tunica County unveils plans for a new museum, park and interpretive center to be constructed on land adjacent to Fitzgeralds Casino. The newest of the County's reinvestment into it's future, Tunica RiverPark, will offer people from all walks of life an up-close and personal interaction with the driving force of nature which has shaped and molded so much of this entire country's history, the Mississippi River.
October 29 - The Mississippi Employment Security releases the latest unemployment figures, ranking Tunica County in a four-way tie for first place with the lowest unemployment rates in the state. Tunica County's unemployment rate is at an all-time low at 3.1%

2003

U.S. Census Bureau estimates the population of Tunica County to be 9,575, and increase of 3.8% from the 2000 census.
June 23 - Tunica Queen arrives to dock at the Tunica RiverPark.
June 30 - Tunica Airport opens 5,500-foot runway.

2004

February 17-21 - US Olympic Boxing Team Trials held at 
Tunica Arena 
March 18 – Tunica RiverPark celebrates their grand opening
May 18 – Tunica National Golf & Tennis held their grand opening
August – 7,000 feet expansion completed at Tunica Airport

2005

January - Tunica Airport announces all-weather capability 
June 2 -5 – Tunica Air Races held for first time

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