Joseph Statue and The Naming of Dothan Historical Marker
A photo of the marker and bronze station taken in 2011.
Backstory and Context
The community of Poplar Head has its origins around the 1830s when settlers from larger cities in the south moved west to find suitable farming land. The community was named Poplar Head after the poplar trees that encompassed the glade that served as the original water source for the village, Poplar Head Spring. The village’s population would grow and shrink through the Civil War, eventually gaining a large enough population to attempt to incorporate in 1885.
When the community of Poplar Head requested a post office to incorporate into a town, their request was denied due to there already being a Poplar Head in Alabama. According to the marker here, the postal authorities gave the town the temporary name Dothan so that the community could still have a post office. Early records testify that the town’s name initially had two spellings, Dothen and Dothan. When the community officially incorporated on November 10th, 1885, the community still needed to decide on a final name. A minister of the community suggested the spelling of Dothan from the Bible passage “For I heard them say ‘Let us go to Dothan’” (Genesis 37:17). The town voted on the new name, accepting the name Dothan and officially incorporated.
In 2001 the historical marker here was erected the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, the Wiregrass Museum of Art, the Houston County Kiwanis Club, and The Downtown Group. The Joseph statue nearby this marker is a 10-foot tall bronze statue that depicts the Bible verse that gave the town its name. It stands as the centerpiece of the small park that encompasses the marker and statue, Millennium Park, which was a project of the City of Dothan on May 30th, 2011.
A City With A Rich History, Visit Dothan. January 1st 2020. Accessed November 27th 2020. https://visitdothan.com/visit-dothan-al-a-city-with-a-rich-history/.
Cox, Dale. Dothan, Alabama - Historic Sites & Points of Interest, ExploreSouthernHistory.com. October 2nd 2013. Accessed November 27th 2020. https://exploresouthernhistory.com/dothan.html.
Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. About Dothan, Alabama, Dothan.org. Accessed November 27th 2020. https://www.dothan.org/474/About-Dothan.
Gaines, David J. Poplar Head Spring, Historical Marker Database. July 25th 2018. Accessed November 27th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=41141.
Gaines, David J. The Naming of Dothan, Historical Marker Database. June 16th 2016. Accessed November 27th 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=41137.
Photo taken by Sandra Hughes. Image source: HMDB.org. Gathered from: https://www.hmdb.org/PhotoFullSize.asp?PhotoID=177348