HistoryEnigma 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.
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.
Most citizens of Enigma commute to neighboring towns to work and shop. The town's economy is based primarily on agriculture. The Tree Trunk Restaurant (owned by Bobby Rowan, former senator of Georgia) is its only restaurant, and it has three gas stations - the Quick Stop #2 (#1 is in Tifton), and the Enigma Market, which is also a mini grocery store. Both are located on Highway 82. Also located on Highway 82 is B&G Heating and Cooling, a small business run by Bob Miley and other members of the Miley family which specializes in repairing and installing air conditioning units. Also on Highway 82 is REPASCO, a small business owned and operated by Linda Wiley specializing in restaurant equipment sales, parts, and repair service. The post office, Glass Unlimited, Volunteer Fire Department, City Hall, the salon (Freida's Beauty Barn), and the Bank of Alapaha are all located on Main Street. Just off Main Street is the factory Geo Tex, LLC Plant #2 where screening is made. There is also Berrien Peanut Company two and a half miles outside of Enigma, and there was once a skating rink about a mile from Berrien Peanut Company. There are other buildings on Main Street and Highway 82, but they are currently vacant.