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Enigma, Georgia
Enigma City Hall
Enigma City Hall
Location in Berrien County and the state of Georgia
Location in Berrien County and the state of Georgia
Country United States
State Georgia
County Berrien
 • Total 3.28 sq mi (8.50 km2)
 • Land 3.25 sq mi (8.42 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
305 ft (93 m)
 • Total 1,058
 • Density 325.24/sq mi (125.58/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-27596
GNIS feature ID 0313955

Enigma is a town in Berrien County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,278 at the 2010 census. The origin of the name "Enigma" is obscure; the name is itself an enigma. Enigma has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.


Enigma is a small town in South Georgia located in the northwest tip of Berrien County, 9 miles (14 km) east of Tifton, on U.S. Highway 82. The town was founded between 1876-1880 by John A. Ball. It did not start out named "Enigma". Originally a settlement, it was commonly referred to as "Gunn and Weston" until Ball decided he wanted a real name for this town. Two names, "Lax" and "Enigma", were proposed to state officials for review. Lax was already taken by another nearby settlement, and so "Enigma" became the official name. Enigma is an odd name for a town; by definition it means a puzzle or mystery. Ball said, "It was a puzzle what to name it anyway." The town was incorporated on August 21, 1906.

Enigma, Georgia (circa 1900)
Enigma, circa 1900

Ball and his family originated in Raleigh, North Carolina, traveling to Georgia on the Brunswick and Western Railroad. He became the town's first postmaster, and not long afterward, Capt J.B. Gunn from Terrell County, Georgia, came as an assistant. Ball and his son Jim started a turpentine business around 1878. Ball returned to Raleigh to bring back a man named Tubb Daughtry and his family to help run the business. He gave them land to live on and permission to worship as they pleased. The turpentine business soon dwindled, and lumber became the main focus. Capt. J. B. Gunn and Capt. S. R. Weston built a sawmill two miles east of Enigma. H. F. Stewart came to work in the sawmill.

Other businesses opened in Enigma throughout the years, including a grocery, merchandise, and hardware stores. E.F. Bussey set up a merchandise store in a building owned at one time by Gunn. This building also housed the U.S. Post Office and sold coffins on its second story. It was located on the south side of the railroad. The railroad's closest depot was in Brookfield, 4 miles (6 km) away. Enigma had a doctor's office run by G.R. Parker. There have been three banks in Enigma throughout the years. Two banks were started around 1915 to 1917, and the other one was started in 1973. The People's Bank opened in 1915 and closed in 1916, and the Ambrose-Enigma Banking Company opened on June 5, 1917, and closed around 1920. The Bank of Alapaha opened a branch in Enigma on March 1, 1973, and is still in business.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2), of which 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 1.14%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 338
1920 340 0.6%
1930 360 5.9%
1940 529 46.9%
1950 499 −5.7%
1960 525 5.2%
1970 505 −3.8%
1980 574 13.7%
1990 611 6.4%
2000 869 42.2%
2010 1,278 47.1%
2020 1,058 −17.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 869 people, 313 households, and 231 families residing in the town. The population density was 267.2 people per square mile (103.2/km2). There were 348 housing units at an average density of 107.0 per square mile (41.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 77.79% White, 10.36% African American, 0.12% Asian, 0.92% Pacific Islander, 9.32% from other races, and 1.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.85% of the population.

There were 313 households, out of which 43.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 35.4% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $25,268, and the median income for a family was $27,375. Males had a median income of $22,202 versus $16,964 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,498. About 20.9% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.4% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.

Annual events

The park holds the town's annual Fourth of July celebration, consisting of vendors, exhibits and the Miss Enigma Firecracker Pageant, each year. The town also hosts a Halloween Trick or Treat and a Christmas Parade each year.


The Enigma school was located on the north side of town. It started as a one-room school house, then moved to a three-room school house. A large brick building was built in 1926 to serve as a new school, also on the north side, just across from Highway 82. In the 1950s all county high schools were consolidated into Berrien High in Nashville, the county seat. The original Enigma school building was still in use as part of the elementary school when it burned in October 1973. The gymnasium and cafeteria were still standing, and portable classrooms were brought in so the school could continue until it was rebuilt. The school merged with the other schools in the county in the 1980s to form Berrien high, middle, elementary, and primary schools. Northwest Berrien School was closed in 1995 and children were bussed to schools in Nashville. The Northwest Berrien school grounds now serve as the Enigma City Park.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Enigma (Georgia) para niños

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