A few weeks back, I ventured to Enterprise, Alabama and saw for myself a profound celebration of the human spirit. It seems that Enterprise, near Fort Rucker Military Base, has a love relationship with the boll weevil, a beetle that feeds on cotton buds and cotton flowers. As the story goes, it also seems that many years ago Enterprise depended on cotton crops for their economy. Cotton was grown successfully until somewhere around 1915 when the boll weevil first appeared in the town. This boll weevil devastated the cotton crops and put a damper on the economy for quite a while.

boll weevil painted on a wall in downtown Enterprise

But, because sometimes adversity is a catalyst for change, the people of Enterprise decided to try their hand at peanut farming in response to this crop devastation. Diversification of crops from cotton to peanuts lead to greater economic prosperity to the area, and in 1919 the people of the town erected a thirteen foot statue of a woman holding up a trophy with a boll weevil on top of it over her head in deference and in celebration to the creature that almost ruined the town’s economy.

The trophy confirms that the town had won the battle against this pest, and the pest was something for which to be thankful. The statue is a celebration of the human spirit and its triumph in times of adversity.

sign near the boll weevil statue monument

Throughout the town today, there are constant reminders of the boll weevil’s importance to the town. In fact, there are many whimsical statues of the boll weevil in front of various businesses.

boll weevil statue near the police station, courtesy of southeastsun.com

a boll weevil in the local art supply store window

mural in downtown Enterprise with peanuts and a boll weevil

As the story goes, peanuts became very important to the town from thereafter, and there are reminders of the importance of peanuts throughout the town and adjacent areas.

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Dothan Botanical Gardens

The can-do spirit of this tiny little town, this work-the-problem-to-find-a-solution mentality is inspiring today, one hundred years later.

Life is good; find a “work around” to whatever problem you encounter today and any other day; find a way. You CAN do it with the same mentality of those spirited and courageous folks in Enterprise, Alabama a century ago.

Life is good; carpe diem, friends……..

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