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The Boll Weevil Monument

Boll weevils are vicious critters that destroy crops by the acre. The beetles, which are only a quarter of an inch long, nearly ruined the nation’s economy. They found their way into Texas around 1895, and by the early 1920s had devastated cotton production, one of the largest industries.

You would think that farmers in a farming town would want nothing to do with the critters, but at the height of the epidemic in 1919, Enterprise, Alabama erected 13-foot high sculpture celebrating this pest, right in the middle of the town’s business district.

Why would farmers salute their hated enemy in this way? Well, the emergence of the boll weevil actually forced farmers to diversify. Rather than fight off the weevils, many farmers turned to peanuts, which they quickly found even more profitable. Others began to rotate crops, which increased the productivity of their land. All of Coffey County, Alabama was blessed with an economic resurgence following the boll weevil disaster. And that’s the story behind one of the nation’s most unusual monuments.

Thank the Weevil

Check out the Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama.  It's the only statue in the nation dedicated to a bug.  Short story: When the boll weevil invaded the southeast, farmers began to grow other crops such as peanuts. The peanut crops were so profitable that farmers were grateful to the bug for presenting the opportunity.  Weird?  Yup. –Kimberly Barnhart

Forced Bug Tourism

All elementary students in Alabama are forced to take a field trip to Enterprise to see the statute of the Boll Weevil. The teacher spouts off how in 18-something the beetle destroyed Alabama's economy and in 1919 they built this big ugly statue to honor it. Then the big yellow buses take the kids to McDonalds and they all go home.  –Teresa Davis

Weird Alabama

 

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