A historical marker dedicated to the significance of boiled peanuts in Dothan’s culinary and agricultural history was unveiled Wednesday morning on the Dothan Campus.
Provided by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s Hungry for History Marker Program, the marker commemorates boiled peanuts as an important food identified as part of Dothan’s history and heritage.
After local historian Dale Cox brought the grant opportunity to the attention of the Troy-Dothan faculty, Rachael Cox, enrollment coordinator, and Dr. Marty Olliff, professor and director of the Wiregrass Archives, successfully applied for the grant.
“The William G. Pomeroy Foundation has multiple projects to commemorate folklife at the local level,” Olliff said. “Hungry For History provides free permanent markers that link localities with iconic foods. For Dothan, that’s boiled peanuts. The sales and distribution methods have changed over time, from young kids hawking bags on the streets of downtown to roadside stands catering to cars, but the product and its identification with the Wiregrass has remained the same since the early 20th century.”
In order to qualify for the grant, food dishes must: be a prepared, ready-to-eat dish that has existed prior to 1970; be composed of at least two ingredients; be identified with the specific locality; be available to eat today; and have historical significance to the surrounding community.
“By the early 1950s, Dothan was recognized, in the southeast at least, as the Peanut Capital of the World,” Olliff said. “It’s not a matter of claiming it yourself, it’s getting other people to agree to it. Even earlier than that, Dothan was recognized as specifically the Boiled Peanut Capital of the World. The first documentation of this link was in 1907 in the very first extant issue of The Dothan Eagle in an advertisement for Lee’s Lunchroom, which served ice cream, milkshakes and boiled peanuts.”
The marker reads, “Boiled Peanuts. As early as 1907, salted green peanuts boiled in brine were sold during the summer months throughout Dothan, AL, “‘Peanut Capital of the World.'” It is located on the east end of Adams Hall.
In addition to the unveiling, boiled peanuts were provided by Todd Farms and Smith Brothers Feed, Seed & Produce of Headland.
The Pomeroy Foundation was founded in 2005 in Syracuse, New York and works to support the celebration and preservation of community history and to improve the probability of finding appropriate donor matches or other life-saving treatments for blood cancer patients.