Board of Directors
Georgia V. Fleming, 1st Vice President and Librarian
Rex Addison, 2nd Vice President
Scott Smith, Secretary
Brian J. Fleming, Treasurer
Rex Everage, Editor of Pea River Trails
Jack Oden, Past President
Jerry T. Evans
The Pea River
Historical & Genealogical Society
from Pea River Trails, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Fall 1999)
In 1970, seventy-four years after Enterprise was incorporated on April 27, 1896, the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society was organized, its purpose being to collect, record, and preserve the history and genealogy of those who came to these piney woods to settle and make their home. Shortly after its organization, the Pea River Historical Society acquired the old Atlantic Coast Line Depot in downtown Enterprise in which it operated the Society and began collecting items of interest to house in the museum. Among these items is the original Boll Weevil Monument. This is perhaps Enterprise's most notable claim to fame, for it is the only monument in the world dedicated to an insect pest -- the boll weevil. It was erected on December 11, 1919, in the center of downtown Enterprise. The Mexican boll weevil had wrought destruction on "King Cotton," the principal money crop of the area, forcing farmers to diversify their crops. Many found unexpected prosperity growing peanuts, which became their main crop. The Depot is located immediately behind the historic Rawls Hotel, although the entrance next to the railroad was originally the front entrance. The passengers coming in on the train only had a short walk into the hotel lobby.
One of the Society's members, avid historian and genealogist Miss Alla
James, donated a plot of land on US Highway 84 Bypass to the Society. The
Society built a log structure on the site as a rest stop and information center
for travelers and newcomers moving to Enterprise to make their homes. Souvenirs,
books, maps and brochures of interest about places and things to do in Alabama
are available. Home Builders of Enterprise devoted a great deal of time and
effort in constructing the Welcome Center of the Society, and the City of
Enterprise assisted with the paved parking lot. The Welcome Center is located on
an access road across by Bypass from Arbys and Winn Dixie. Thousands pass
through the Welcome Center each year. Maizie Stanley, a faithful volunteer at
the Welcome Center, maintains and beautifies the landscape at the Center. A rose
garden gracing the front of the site is dedicated in honor of her late husband,
Dr. James F. Stanley, Sr.
Update: The welcome Center was forced to close early in 2014 due to lack of staffing.
After the celebration of the Enterprise Centennial, the Society was given a replica of an old one-room schoolhouse which was placed on the Welcome Center lot. Nearby, the Boy Scouts have built replicas of an old outdoor privy and an old-fashioned open well, structures quite common a few generations ago. Groups are taken through the facilities when requested. This facility, like the other facilities of the Pea River Society, are staffed by unpaid volunteers. The Society has no paid employees, and is supported by donations, membership dues, and profits from books and novelties sold in the Gift Shop and Welcome Center. The Little Red Schoolhouse is very popular with children and young people who have never experienced saying their lessons before several classes.
A few years ago, the Pea River Society was fortunate to be able to buy
a building on South Main Street in which is located their Gift Shop, Office and
Library. This building is their center of activity. The Library contains many
historical books, family sketches, photographs and other memorabilia about days
gone by. Researchers may spend hours looking through the materials, and
learning about their ancestors who once lived in the area. The Gift Shop offers
souvenirs including pins, caps, shirts, mugs and magnets, along with historical
and genealogical books by local authors.