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Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society Depot Museum

Caroline Greer, Auburn University
The Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society Depot Museum is a local history museum located in a restored train station in Enterprise, Coffee County. The museum is owned and maintained by the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 7, 1974; it was referred to as the Seaboard Coastline Depot.
Enterprise Depot Museum
The rail line to Enterprise was first laid in 1898 by the Alabama Midland Railway, which was eventually sold to the Plant Railroad System and then acquired by the Atlantic Coastline, or Seaboard Coastline, in 1901. The Enterprise Depot, also known as the Seaboard Coastline Depot, was built in 1903 by the Seaboard Coastline. In 1898, a fire destroyed most of the business section of town, and many buildings had to be rebuilt. The depot was constructed after the fire and is therefore one of the oldest wooden structures in Enterprise. Both the railway and depot were important for the rapid development and growth of the town.
The east end of the building is faced with board and batten and has a gabled roof decorated with wood trim and supported by large brackets. Increased use led to the addition of the west end in 1916-1917; it was used as the passenger depot. This section was constructed on a concrete foundation and then covered with clapboard and has a small gable dormer with a lowered vent on the south side. A small wing houses the passenger agent's office. There are five entrances to the terminal, all with single wooden doors that document the additions made to the building through the years. The building was first used strictly as a warehouse from shipping and receiving. Additions include the office and passenger area, which has two —entrances—one for the clerk and for passengers and a side entrance for those going to the warehouse section. After the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society bought the building in 1974, another entrance was added. There are five double-hung six-over-six windows and four half windows.
The Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society was founded in 1970 and opened the museum in 1974. The museum houses artifacts related to local history, including a spinning wheel, military uniforms, a bell used at Clintonville Academy, and a mill wheel built and used by the Prestwood family at the Roeton gristmill. It also displays medical tools and physicians' memorabilia, including medicine bottles, a painting of the first Coffee County hospital, the Fleming Sanitarium, antique farm equipment and tools, period clothing, antique furniture, weaponry, and the original topper of the Boll Weevil Statue. One of the most beloved attractions is a 1949 fire truck. The museum also assists people with genealogical research, both with on-site sources and information on families from the area and online information for visitors.
The museum is located at 106 Railroad Street, directly behind the Pea River Historical and Genealogical Society Research Library and Gift Shop at 108 South Main Street. The hours are Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to noon, though staff recommend that visitors call ahead to make sure the museum is open and to schedule a tour. The cost is $2. Nearby are the Boll Weevil Monument and the Rawls Hotel (ca. 1903), both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Members of the Rawls family came to Enterprise to take advantage of the extensive timber supply and built several turpentine stills and a sawmill as well as the Spanish Mission-style hotel. It is considered one of the most elaborate buildings in the county.
Published:  April 3, 2019   |   Last updated:  April 3, 2019