(IPA: ) is the largest city in and the county seat of Lee County, Mississippi, United States. It is the eighth largest city in the state of Mississippi, smaller than Greenville, and larger than Olive Branch. The Tupelo area — specifically the nearby village of Blue Springs — was selected during the spring of 2007 as the site for Toyota's eleventh U.S. automobile manufacturing plant. As of the 2000 United States Census, the city's population was 34,211. By 2007, the population was 36,058, with a micropolitan area population of 132,245, encompassing Lee, Pontotoc and Itawamba counties. The city is best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley Situated in northeast Mississippi, the city lies between Memphis, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama, along U.S. Highway 78 — slated to become Interstate 22 within a few years.
prior to the American Civil War, supposedly due to the high number of tupelo trees, locally known as
, that grow in the area. The city still hosts the Gumtree Arts Festival
each year. In the post-Civil War era, Tupelo became the northern Mississippi site for the crossing of a railroad, which brought industry to the town, establishing it as the center of commerce in the northern part of the state. Once the town began to grow, Gum Pond took on the name Tupelo, naming the town after the small Civil War battle that took place on the site. That site is now designated as Tupelo National Battlefield. That Battle of Tupelo was in turn named for the tupelo trees of the area. Tupelo was incorporated in 1870 with a population of 618.
Tupelo made national history in 1934 as the first city in the United States to provide its citizens with electric power through the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited this First TVA City.