The initial settlement that would become the city of Enterprise occurred in 1881 when John Henry Carmichael opened a small store on what would later become North Main Street. In the following year, as settlers began moving to the area, the post office was moved from Drake Eye into Carmichael’s new community. In 1896, Enterprise became incorporated with a population of 250 people. A spike of growth occurred two years later when the Alabama Midland Railway Company began operating in Enterprise, and, by 1906, the population was nearly 4,000. The early settlers quickly developed a deeply rooted passion for their community, as evidenced by their rallying cry – “Pull for Enterprise, or Pull Out!”
In 1915, a dark cloud in the form of hundreds of thousands of Mexican Boll Weevil insects shrouded the area and destroyed 60 percent of the cotton crop. As farmers reached the brink of bankruptcy, the community teetered on economic devastation. Determined to overcome adversity, the community would survive and even prosper through the ingenuity of farmers and businessmen who quickly turned to a crop that would come to define agriculture in the region—peanuts. Within two short years, Coffee County would become the top peanut-producing county in the nation, spurring peanut production throughout South Alabama and Southwest Georgia.
In gratitude for the lessons learned from the Boll Weevil, and to celebrate man’s ability to overcome adversity, the citizens of Enterprise erected the world’s only monument to an agricultural pest in 1919. The Boll Weevil Monument still stands at the intersection of Main and College Streets, a fitting reminder to all that even the toughest challenges can be overcome. This lesson would serve as inspiration through other times of challenge and opportunity.
Today, Enterprise has diversified its economy with a wide range of agricultural commodities, industries, retail, services and the military. Even as Enterprise has grown into a modern progressive community, it still holds the warmth and charm of Deep South traditions.
Coffee County enjoys a rich history. The first evidence of human occupation goes back to an archaeological find near Blanket Creek that indicates the area was used as a migration route from approximately 8500 to 700 B.C. In modern times, the region became known as the Wiregrass area, named for the grass that grew profusely in the region. During the European settlement, the Wiregrass area was the border county between the Spanish, British and French. The first federal land sale that was to become Coffee County was in 1812. The county is named after General John Coffee, Alabama commander in the Creek Indian Wars and the Battle of New Orleans.