Tribute to a Pest in Enterprise, Alabama
America’s first monument to an insect stands at the intersection of Main and College Streets in the heart of downtown Enterprise, Alabama.
The Boll Weevil Monument pays tribute to the tiny pest that devastated cotton crops across the South in the early 1900s. Enterprise and Coffee County, like other cities and counties from Georgia to Texas, depended on cotton production for their survival. The boll weevil infestation showed the danger of basing economies on a single crop. Intense human suffering followed the tiny beetle as it destroyed the cotton fields of the South, bringing poverty and hunger to those who depended on the crop for their survival.
Dr. George Washington Carver, the famed Tuskegee scientist, recognized the need for agricultural diversity and focused on the development of commercial products that could be manufactured using peanuts, soybeans and other crops. His work created new markets for farmers and opened the door for new, stronger economies in cities like Enterprise.
Wiregrass farmers responded to Dr. Carver’s efforts and modern, diversified agriculture came to the region. Peanuts proved to be an especially profitable crop and by 1919 Coffee County produced more of the legumes than any other place on the planet.
To thank the destroyer of cotton for making this new prosperity possible, the people of Enterprise dedicated the Boll Weevil Monument on December 11, 1919. A sculpture of the insect itself was added to the top in 1949.
The unique monument causes many to call Enterprise the “Boll Weevil City” and draws tourists from around the world who come to see the community that praises a beetle!
To learn more about the Boll Weevil Monument, enjoy this free short video from Two Egg TV’s Rachael Conrad: