150 Feet Long by 31 Feet High
Bruce Rickett and Susan Tooke
Because of its significance to the entire Wiregrass region, the peanut was selected as the subject of the first mural commissioned by The Wiregrass Festival of Murals. Featured in this mural is Dr. George Washington Carver (1864-1943), professor of agriculture at Tuskegee Institute, who developed more than 300 uses for the peanut. Dr. Carver is shown on the left looking at the beaker. The bleachers in the background are on Third Avenue, where the first Peanut Festival was held.
Prior to Dr. Carver’s many developments, the peanut was eaten by farm families fried, boiled or roasted, but were primarily used as hog food. His developments made the peanut a valuable cash crop for the farmers, and a good replacement for cotton. Repeated planting of cotton in the same fields year after year had exhausted the land. Many crops were tried to replace cotton, but it wasn’t until a market for the peanut was developed by Dr. Carver that a suitable crop was found.
Dr. Carver was featured as a speaker at the first Peanut Festival held in Dothan on November 11, 1938. He is show in the left foreground of the mural at Wiregrass Stadium on Third Avenue, the original site of the Peanut Festival.
This mural depicts the farmer from the early days of peanut growing to modern day harvesting. The painting shows early-day harvesting of peanuts when the vines were plowed from the soil and then stacked by hand around stakes to dry.
The right side of the mural is a typical scene from The National Peanut Festival, which has played a significant part in recognizing the peanut and peanut farmer for the important role they have played in the progress and economy of the Wiregrass region.