Settlement began here after the Choctaws surrendered land claims in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. White settlers were soon drawn here by the 2 large springs. A mill southwest of town provided clapboards, which gave the town its original name, Boardtown.
In 1835, it was established as the county seat and its name was changed to Starkville in honor of Revolutionary War hero General John Stark.
During the pre-Civil War years Oktibbeha County developed into an area of small farms and large plantations. The Civil War was hard on Oktibbeha County as it was on the rest of Mississippi. Large numbers of men volunteered for Confederate service and the farms suffered. Grierson's raiders came through the region in the spring of 1863 and looted Starkville. Another Union raid the following year was turned back just south of West Point by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The 1870s brought the first railroad into Starkville.
Area attractions include the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Association Concert Series, Starkville Community Theater Company, the MSU Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall and the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, now in its 30th season. The popular Lyceum Series through MSU brings all the fine arts together.
Excellence in education is a primary concern from preschool to the collegiate level. Starkville's public schools and a private academy rank among the finest in the state. Both school systems excel in academics and athletics.
Higher education is provided by East Mississippi Community College at the main campus at Scooba and the Golden Triangle Campus in Mayhew, and Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women.
Starkville is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and water skiing are all available. Spanning 47,000 acres, the Noxubee National Wildlife is a developed waterfowl refuge with 2 lakes, nature trails and a bird sanctuary.
Fishing is permitted in all refuge waters with hunting in selected areas. The John W. Starr Memorial Forest, an 8,200-acre natural woodland park, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, offer 1,000 miles of shoreline and 110,000 acres of land and water.
Starkville also maintains 6 public parks with 2 swimming pools, tennis and racquetball courts, baseball, softball and soccer fields and more.
Golfers will find some of the finest greens in the South here. The 18-hole MSU golf course was recently named one of Golf Digest's "Best Places to Play." Other courses include Highlands Plantation Golf Club and nearby Elm Lake Golf Course.