Daleville Avenue first historic district in city

The 100-300 Block of Daleville Avenue is the first historic district in the City of Enterprise and has its own unique history relating to the forefathers of the city.

Kim McIntyre, who lives on the street, spear-headed the push to get Daleville Avenue added to the list of the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Through her research, she has learned a lot about the history of the street starting at the beginning.

The street dates back to the 1800s where it was originally called Park Place. It was later renamed Daleville Avenue because, at the time, it was the only road to Daleville, according to McIntyre.

The history of the street goes all the way back to the founding of Enterprise and the Washburn Law family.

“Washburn and Melinda Law owned all this land here (Daleville Avenue) all the way over to Sessions Cleaners and back,” McIntyre said. “They had come over with (Enterprise founder) John Carmichael and they started selling off lots, which would now be considered Daleville Avenue.”

Washburn Law was a banker and later vice president at First National Bank. When he died, he left all of his estate to his wife Melinda.

“In those days, at the turn of the century, it was very uncommon for women to hold positions of power,” McIntyre said. “But she did. She owned a lot of commercial property down the middle of Main Street and she owned a lot of land.”

Melinda Law helped in financing the later farmers with peanut seeds in response to the boll weevil. During the Great Depression, the government reclaimed most of her property except for her house and 1,000 acres of farmland.

One of the people who bought a lot on Daleville Avenue was Dr. WC Peacock.

“Dr. Peacock was a dentist in town and his hobby was building homes,” McIntyre said. “So if you look at the houses on Daleville Avenue, even though some of them have changed structurally, they’re all basically the same house. You’ll see the same houses spread all down College Street, Lee Street and all throughout town.”

Over the next centuries, the street would become home to many of the town’s influential families including the Sessions, Brunsons, Lewis’, Hildreths, Searcys, Byrds and Boyds, according to McIntyre.

In fact, the street has also been called “silk stocking avenue” because the women who lived on the street were the first in the city to be able to afford silk stockings, according to McIntyre.

There have been changes over the centuries. McIntyre gave the example of how 201 Daleville Avenue has changed.

“Fort Rucker came and said, ‘We have all these soldiers coming into town, can all the homeowners and neighbors in Enterprise open up their homes to help accommodate these soldiers?’” McIntyre said. “They (Sessions family) went and remodeled this house to where it is apartments upstairs. Down stairs remains the same but they expanded the house to accommodate all these soldiers.”

The street has also lost three houses over time. The first is the former Boyd funeral home, which burned down. The other two were torn down to make way for Citizen’s Bank.

On Dec. 26, 2019, the street was officially recognized as a historical district. This was also the same year as the centennial of the Boll Weevil Monument.

“I think all the stories of these families that lived on this street are so instrumental in the founding of the town that when we were able to get the designation and it be the year of the (Boll Weevil Monument) centennial, it was just the icing on the cake,” McIntyre said.

The street is a historical district inhabited by residents, who McIntyre says care about maintaining the homes and the history of the area.

“The people that live on this street are very dedicated to keeping these homes this way and restoring them,” McIntyre said.

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