Some excerpts were taken from Weakley County by Virginia C. Vaughan (1983) and
the Life and Times of Greenfield, Tennessee by Dixie Eldridge Prins (1965)
1873, Greenfield was a small farming community known as Old Hall. With the completion
of the Illinois Central Railroad, just east of the community, the residents of Old Hall were drawn
closer to the tracks. A new town was soon planned and surveyed upon the lands of Joseph H.
Ward and Samuel Baker. Once the land was made available to the public the population boomed
and within one year it jumped from 150 to 550 residents (1874). The conductor of the first train is
credited with naming Greenfield. The story goes that the conductor was so impressed by the
fields of green wheat in the vicinity he bestowed the name Greenfield to the new town. By the mid
1880's, there were five general stores, two dry-goods stores, six groceries, two drug stores, three
saloons, one grist/saw mill, two steam cotton gins, two box factories, one hotel, a livery stable and
several small industries and businesses. Greenfield was initially incorperated as a city on November
9, 1880 (according Goodspeed s history of the region) but may not have been officially
incorporated until April 7, 1905.
the early and middle part of the 20th century, the city prospered from the rail
transportation business and related services. An area of Greenfield that received much notoriety
locally was early Soup Street. It
was on this
old city block where shady characters and unsavory groups gathered.
The most acclaimed gang from Soup Street was the Dirty Dozen which was a
group of petty thieves who operated in northwestern Tennessee. The Crack
was the name of their establishment and was reputed to have been a source of
illegal alcohol sales during the prohibition days. Currently, Greenfield
has a population of 2,105.
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