Enterprise was first settled by the McIntire family in 1773, five years before Shinnston was permanently settled, which makes 2023 be its 250 the Anniversary. First a farming town, then a coal mining community, it has now become a small bedroom community. In the center of the accompanying image can be seen a horizontal row of two-story double coal company houses. These were constructed between the railroad tracks and the river, with the fronts facing the railroad. Originally, a boardwalk ran along the front of each home, parallel to the RR tracks with a sidewalk leading from it to each home’s front porch.
The boardwalk extended down to the Coal Company Store, a photo of which is submitted in this edition’s Out of the Past image. The train depot was next to the store. Early churches in the town consisted of a Union Church at the Laurel Run intersection, as well as several Methodist denominations: Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal-South (a division due to the result of the Civil War), and Free Methodist, the latter two located on the town’s west side. The M.E. Church is now known as Enterprise United Methodist and just celebrated its 125 th Anniversary. Family Life Fellowship and Faith Baptist Church are among Enterprise’s churches today.
One of the earlier schools in Enterprise was converted into a still-standing house at the Bethlehem Rd intersection. Later, a one-room brick schoolhouse was built on west side and in 1900 the Enterprise Public School was built on the east side. Originally built as a six room structure with a bell tower, the school was used until 1990 when consolidation forced its closure. It has since been razed.
Did you know? … Enterprise once had its own newspaper? It was a monthly publication during the 1930’s. …a dam was constructed at Enterprise? Located just south of the two-story company houses, it was built about 1820 to help make the West Fork navigable; I have seen its remains. …there were milling operations along both Laurel Run and the West Fork River? My parents have a rolling pin made at one of the Laurel Run mills. …there was an old baseball diamond? It was used by not only the community, but also by the ball teams of the grade school and the coal mine? …the Pigott, Harrison, and Sturm families each operated dairy farms with the Sturm’s also having a strawberry farm. …there was once a covered bridge over Bingamon Creek?
The oldest structure to nearly always house a business is the IOOF building, a two-story structure with a basement, built in 1912 (after this image was taken) and located at “the dip” along Rt. 19. The Odd Fellows, one of at least six lodge organizations in town, had their meeting hall on the top floor, which was also used by scout troops. During the 1930’s-1950’s, Raymond Satterfield had a barbershop in half of the ground level of this building while the other half housed Garrett’s Grocery. Later, Fred Hamilton had a grocery store. In recent years, the Post Office has rented the entire ground level space.
For many years, the Saunders Family operated a popular eating establishment named “Cathy’s Place” in the basement of this building. The Odd Fellows also used to show movies in this building that the community could come to watch. In the space where the post office parking lot is now, used to be the site of a WWII Honor Board that listed 100 names of local men and women who served our nation. On the south side of the IOOF building, and across the alley, was Stewart’s Service Station and ice cream parlor.
Across Route 19, is a street once referred to as both Bridge and Main Street, which led to the old iron bridge. At the head of this street was the J.W. Tetrick Feed Store. Several other businesses were located along this street over the years: Stewart’s Meat Market, Tetrick’s General Store, Maplehurst Tourist Home, a confectionary, Laulis Store, and Scudere’s to name a few. Cathy’s Place and the post office were also once located here before their move to the IOOF building.
Enterprise has had its share of tragic events. John and Rachel Rose McIntire, oldest son and daughter in law of the original settlers, were scalped by Indians in 1791. They’re buried in unmarked graves a short distance south of Bice’s Greenhouses. When Joneses Confederate Raiders swept the West Fork Valley in April 1863, they spent the night on the old Harrison Farm near the Bethlehem Rd intersection. The women of the Harrison family were forced to cook for them. Also during Civil War times, a man named John Short was killed by Union Home Guards, supposedly for being a Confederate sympathizer in retaliation for guerillas killing a Union supporter at Adamsville a few days prior.
On December 16, 1911, the coal company’s Enterprise Mine blew up, killing one man; this was a day when the mine was not working. Seven months later, on July 9, 1912, a cyclone ripped through Enterprise, taking roofs off of many houses and barns, uprooting several trees, and wrecking streetcar properties. One of the largest fires in Enterprise occurred New Year’s Night 1944 when an automobile struck a gas meter near the old iron bridge. An occupant of the car used his cigarette lighter to see what was hit, causing an explosion, which burned to the ground both the Tetrick Store and the adjacent tourist home. In 1974, a nearly naked man calling himself “Irving from the Universe” was responsible for setting fire to the former Saint James United Methodist Church (visible in the photo, near center) when he said the fire was needed to purify the earth and air.
Do you remember? The following are some locally-owned businesses that have existed in Enterprise during the twentieth century: DeMary’s General Store as well as DeMary Brothers Transfer, Guy Bice’s Filling Station, Dick Clise’s Garage, Edwards’s Garage, Tetrick’s Hardware & Feed Store, Farmerette (now Casey’s), Mouser Supply, Allen’s Discount Station, Heldreth’s Lumber & Sawmill, Hawkins the Shoemaker, Robinson’s Store, the pool hall, Bart & Harriet Lorentz’s Store, Robey’s hot dog stand, Pop’s Restaurant, Rockwell’s Christmas Trees, Inwood Park with a gazebo where square dances were held, Shingleton’s Ship built with wood from all around the world, Satterfield Cabins, The Spa, the popular Mill Club, and of course Ace Welding and Hyde’s Meat Market.
Once known as a large Indian territory, it was during the first half of the twentieth century that Enterprise became referred to as “The Greenhouse Valley”. The Tetrick, Rockwell, and Bice families each operated greenhouse establishments with Bice’s just completing their 98 the year of operation.
Notable events for Enterprise include a parade welcoming “Mother Jones” prior to her speaking to a crowd of 400 as the featured speaker for the UMWA in 1902. Also, famed boxer Jack Dempsey camped out several nights near the still-visible coke ovens of the old coal mine. In 1933, a large monument was erected in the IOOF Cemetery with a plaque memorializing Revolutionary War soldiers Jacob Bigler and Elisha Griffith. Lodge Officers furnished materials and labor while the Daniel Davisson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Clarksburg sponsored the plaque.
The last street car through Enterprise was on April 27 th , 1947 (the stop was at the west end of the old iron bridge). Much more could be written with detail devoted to the settlement and early families. No historical representation of Enterprise would be complete without credit given to the ones who worked hard to assure information and stories were passed to the next generation. W. Guy Tetrick, James Morris, and L.E. “Skip” Tichenor are just a few of those individuals. And that’s the story behind the photo!