Dothan, Alabama

Day 1747

     When we entered Dothan to walk the town, we saw these children frolicking in the sunshine.

     Between 1763 and 1783, the region that is now Dothan was part of the colony of British West Florida. You remember from Day 352 and Day 529, one of the 15 colonies that wasn’t. During the American Revolution, British West Florida decided not to join those rabble-rousers.

     The first permanent white settlers consisted of nine families who moved into the area during the early 1830s to harvest the abundant timber. Their settlement was named Poplar Head. For nearly 30 years, the Poplar Head community changed little. By the late 1870s, however, with the rise of the lumber, turpentine, and naval stores industries in the area, more settlers came to the area for work. They began clearing the surrounding land for farms and built more homes. Soon, they asked for their own post office. 

     So imagine this: It is November 11, 1885, the town fathers are sitting around the pot belly stove discussing what to name their town after they were informed that the Post Office cannot use their name of Poplar Head, as it was already the name of another town in Alabama. “Well,” says one, “since we are a lumber town, why don’t we name it Bunyan, after Paul Bunyan?”  “How about Colfax, after Schuyler Colfax, the 17 Vice President of the US?” “How about Irvin, after Irvin McDowell, the famous confederate General?” “How about Jumbo, the star attraction in P. T. Barnum’s circus?” And the most timid town father suggested “Kisimova after Eugenia Kisimova, Bulgarian feminist, philanthropist and women’s rights activist?” No, they all decided, they would name the town Dothan (דֹתָן), after the biblical city in Egypt where Joseph’s brothers threw him into a cistern and sold him into slavery. Yes, they all agreed, that is it. Go tell the Postal Authorities. 

     The above Joseph statue at Millennium Park is a ten-foot cast bronze sculpture in the downtown area. It represents the Bible verse “For I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan” (Genesis 37:17).

     Following the devastation of the cotton crops by boll weevil infestation in the 1910s, the area embraced peanut farming and has developed into one of the largest peanut-producing regions in the world.

     Eventually, farmers turned to peanut production, which was successful and brought financial gain to the city. It became a hub for the production and transport of peanuts and peanut-related products. Today, one-quarter of the U.S. peanut crop is harvested within 75 miles of Dothan. Peanuts Around Town is a public art project organized by The Downtown Group, consisting of 5-foot-tall peanut sculptures decorated in various fashions and displayed around Dothan.

     Ok, you are in downtown Dothan and you want to go from College Drive to Appletree Street? You take Troy Street, of course. The smallest city block in the United States.

     Boy, it is a hot summer day:

     Cones are to protect Barbara from cars.

     Wow! I didn’t realize we were in town that long.

Technical Stuff: 

Milledgeville, Georgia to Dothan, Alabama: 230.9 miles

5 hours 10 minutes

10.4 MPG

Diesel: $2.89