The three cities of Maury County have distinct personalities, but also share a common bond: a commitment to maintaining a sense of community.
Columbia, the county seat and largest city, has a vibrant downtown with boutique shops and wonderful restaurants. Spring Hill is among the fastest-growing cities in the nation, with shopping and housing springing up rapidly. Much smaller, Mount Pleasant is cozy and filled with natural beauty.
“We still have a small-town flavor,” says Columbia native and downtown resident Harvey Church. “This is a great place for people to live and work, and call home.”
Historic sites such as the Athenaeum and the home of 11th U.S. President James K. Polk lend a sense of history to the downtown area. The region’s major event, Mule Day, also has a historical tie. Each April, the population swells by thousands as the community hosts the festival, with roots dating back to the 1800s.
Church, a third-generation Columbian who walks from his downtown home to his job as Maury County president of First Farmers and Merchants Bank, is – like many residents – involved in several community groups and projects, including the Boys and Girls Club, Maury Regional Hospital Advisory Board and Columbia Main Street.
“It’s a labor of love,” Church says. “It’s easy to be involved in a community like this one.”
Spring Hill, the nation’s 14th fastest-growing city, was founded in the early 1800s and in 1940 had a population of just 543. But when General Motors opened its new Spring Hill automotive facility in 1990, things rapidly began to change. Today, the population has topped 25,000 with more than 8,600 homes.
Recognized as Tennessee’s Most Business Friendly City in 2007, Spring Hill straddles the Maury and Williamson county lines, meaning that it falls within the jurisdiction of two very progressive county governments.
“This is a very energetic community,” says five-year Spring Hill resident Stacy Neisler, who runs her own law firm in Spring Hill. “We have lots of young families and young professionals who want to see the city grow and thrive. We take a lot of pride and interest in our community.”
Neisler is excited about the diversity of the area, which she credits to the influx of other professionals moving to the area because of the Nissan headquarters in Williamson County.
“With the number of young families, there is a lot of interest in parks and recreation and schools. The quality of life is very good here,” says Neisler. “This community has a great feel. It is a positive place to live.”
Mount Pleasant, incorporated in 1824, is the smallest of the three, with just 5,000 residents.
“I like the small-town approach,” says resident Derek Church, a Maury County native who returned to his roots with his wife Robin after college. “We’re glad we can both be back with our families,” he says.
As president of the Mount Pleasant Area Alliance (a division of the Maury County Alliance), Church is enthusiastic about his community. “It’s just like Mayberry R.F.D., with personal touch service. Everyone is trying to help their neighbor.”
The Mount Pleasant Community Foundation supports education and cultural projects benefiting the community. The Kids on Stage Foundation sponsors cultural programs for the city’s young people.
Walking trails and Stillhouse Hollow Falls are among the natural amenities within Mount Pleasant, which enjoyed decades as the nation’s phosphate capital. While that industry has all but disappeared, visitors can learn more about it by visiting the Mount Pleasant Phosphate Museum.