Only in the Wiregrass
Standing in the center of downtown Enterprise, the Boll Weevil Monument, dedicated in 1919, stands as a testament to man’s ability to overcome adversity. The Junction in Geneva, reflects on the days when steamboats and barges on the Choctawhatchee were the main method of transportation south to the Gulf of Mexico. Or visit the Working Cows Dairy, in Slocomb, to see the milking process or Sessions Peanuts, in Coffee County, to get shelled peanuts, crude peanut oil, peanut meal, peanut seed and peanut hulls.
Ed Lisenby Public Lake, in Ozark, offers 92 acres of fishing. Coffee County Lake covers 80 acres and offers three fishing piers. Lake Tholocco, on Fort Rucker, is a prime outdoor recreation spot. Geneva County Public Fishing Lake is another great spot where two lakes combine to offer 65 acres of water fun.
Ride ’Em Cowboy
The annual South Alabama Pro Rodeo Classic, in August in Ozark, features bull riding, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing, calf roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc and more.
The U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker maintains a collection of more than 150 military aircraft, including one of the largest collections of military helicopters in the world.
Muse on the Murals
A Salute to Rucker, in downtown Enterprise, tells the story of Fort Rucker’s past, present and future from its beginnings in 1942 as Camp Rucker to today as the Home of Army Aviation. Nearby, the Boll Weevil Mural, by artist Wes Hardin, pays tribute to the boll weevil, which gave rise to the peanut industry that still flourishes in the Wiregrass. On your art stroll, visit the fiberglass boll weevil statues on Weevil Way. Geneva Wings was painted by Shane and Kristin Joelle Mixon-Davis on the side of the Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio building.
Bama Slam, in New Brockton, includes a water park with a slide and pools, plus camping, golf, ATV trails and more. Ozark Community Swimming Pool is ready for competition with shallow areas for non-swimmers.
Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society, in Enterprise, keeps the history of early settlers. The Old Coffee County Jail, in Elba, was built nearly a century ago and has seen its share of tragedy, including the murder of a sheriff. The Coffee County Civil War Battlefield Marker, in Enterprise, marks the site of the only Civil War battle in Coffee County. Elba United Methodist Church is the first of any denomination in Elba and is still active today.
Tributes to Individuals
Located in downtown Elba, the birthplace of Gov. James E. “Big Jim” Folsom is designated as a state historic landmark. The Aviator Monument, in Enterprise, honors aviators past, present and future. The Veterans Memorial, at the Geneva County Courthouse, honors the armed services with special events on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Enterprise Farmers Market offers food from local farmers, along with arts and crafts and an event venue. Ozark Farmers’ Market offers fresh local produce and fresh flowers from mid-May through July.
Coffee County Courthouse started life near the river but was moved to the heart of downtown later. The Stinson House in Elba, the home of the African American couple Pauline and Martin Stinson, was built in 1903 for $1,000. The Rawls Building, in Enterprise, was founded in 1903 as a hotel that surpassed any of its kind. It is now home to business offices, a fine dining restaurant, bar and an event venue. Claybank Church was built in 1852 of logs with fat lightwood stumps serving as a foundation. Eagle Stadium / B.F. Williams Field was built in 1946 as home to the Ozark Eagles, a class D minor league team in the Alabama-Florida League. This baseball stadium is the only one in the region still in use that was built during the grand era. Geneva Panthers Football Stadium was home to the Geneva Red Birds, a St. Louis Cardinal affiliate, from 1946-1951. Ozark’s Carillon and Bell Tower was built in 1975 to honor all military and civilian personnel who served at Fort Rucker since 1942. The Kenan Home, in Geneva, is an example of Victorian cottage architecture built approximately in 1887 by W.K. and Emma Knox Kenan. The Emma Knox Kenan Public Library was named in her honor. The Samson Log House Museum is a pioneer home in “dog trot” design. Piney Grove Farmhouse is a 119-year-old restored farmhouse and event venue in Samson with original barns, grain bins and large pecan trees. Fink’s Mill, built in 1932, is a Depression-era grain mill just west of Samson and still operational. Dalton Pharmacy, in Slocomb, was founded in 1903 and later was among the first to have gasoline pumps.
The Bridges at Tartan Pines Golf Club winds its way through picturesque homes and across bridges through the protected wetlands of the Tartan Pines community in Enterprise. Enterprise Golf and Country Club offers 18 holes on varying terrain, plus a pool and dining. River Oaks Golf Course offers nine holes, a lighted driving range and a banquet facility.
About the Arts
Dowling Museum/Ann Rudd Art Center, in Ozark, offers a rotating display of art exhibits. Coffee County Arts Alliance has been bringing big-name performances to the Wiregrass for nearly 50 years. The Atlanta Pops Orchestra, the Blues Brothers Revue, the Lettermen, Jay & the Americans, and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder have all played the venue. Southern Broadway Dinner Theater, in downtown Enterprise, delivers original historical plays in a dinner-theater format.
Go to the Park
Veterans Memorial Park, in Elba, was built to show appreciation to all veterans for their efforts to preserve peace and freedom. Donaldson Park, in Enterprise, features ballfields, tennis, a pond, playground and walking trail. Robert Fowler Memorial Park, in Geneva Park, is home of the oldest Live Oak in Alabama and is located at the junction of Chocawahatchee and Pea rivers. The park features boating, camping, playground and more. Johnny Henderson Park and Enterprise Recreational Complex consists of a lake, fishing pond, walking/jogging trails, playgrounds, splash pad, bark park, sports fields and a tribute to our military and allies with the Wall of Freedom, Huey Helicopter and German-American friendship marker. Tiger Town Park, in Elba, provides a playground, art project and outdoor amphitheater. Sam Dale Park, in Elba, is part of the
lake complex, with picnic areas and more. Steagall Park, in Ozark, has picnic pavilions, playground and a splashpad, along with athletic fields, tennis courts and basketball court. And Ozark’s Police Memorial Park features ball courts and fields, picnic areas and more.
Venues for Fun
Enterprise Civic Center houses a ballroom, dance floor, performance stage and more. Ozark Civic Center supports concerts, expos, pageants, fairs, circuses, wrestling, boxing events and much more. The Flowers Center for the Performing Arts hosts high school plays, concerts, pageants and meetings. Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, on the high school campus, hosts numerous local and national events, plays, ballets and musical performances throughout the year. Vintage Room event venue, in Geneva, opened in 2017 in a historical building and can host up to 250 people. J&J’s Place – The Springs is available for events in Coffee Springs. Holman House is a neoclassical structure available for weddings and more.
Geneva State Forest is Alabama’s largest, with 7,120 acres of longleaf pine, fishing, hiking and more. Mason Community Education Forest, in Ozark, has walking and driving trails and lots of information stations.
Remembrance of Tough Times
Enterprise Tornado Memorial honors eight Enterprise High School students and a nearby resident who died March 1, 2007, in a tornado outbreak.
Roses and Roses
The City of Samson is known as “the city of a million roses,” dating back to the first plantings downtown in the 1930s.
Get some Exercise
Ozark Community Archery Range is open to the public. And Ozark Mountain Bike Trail is nearly complete, offering biking near Ed Lisenby Lake. Oben Everett Park, in Ozark, features basketball courts and more.
Festivals & Events:
Mardi Gras Ball | Geneva | February Mardi Gras Ball is sponsored by the Geneva County Historical Society each year.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and 0.5K Race | Enterprise | March The world’s smallest St. Patrick’s Day parade followed by the world’s smallest
Piney Woods Arts Festival | Enterprise | April One of the oldest juried arts and crafts shows in the area.
Crawdad Festival | Ozark | April Cajun food, a taste of the Caribbean, plus arts, crafts, music and children’s activities.
Festival on the Rivers | Geneva | April Live music, car show, parade — even a 5k run and a baking contest.
Festival in the Park | Enterprise | May Food and fun at the Johnny Henderson Family Park, followed by fireworks at the lake.
Tomato Festival | Slocomb | June Tomato Trot, music, pageant and more.
Boll Weevil Fall Festival | Enterprise | October This annual festival spotlights a variety of artists and talent.
Claybank Jamboree Arts and Crafts Festival | Ozark | October A quilt show, ats, crafts, fine arts and fun.
Christmas at the Junction | Geneva | November Robert Fowler Park is transformed with lights for Christmas.
Christmas Parade | Enterprise | November or December The largest Christmas parade in the Southeast.
Whoville | Enterprise | December All of downtown is transformed into “Whoville for the Holidays.”
This article appears in the March 2023 issue of Business Alabama.