Cordele, Georgia
Cordele City Hall
Cordele City Hall
Nickname: 
Watermelon Capital of the World
Motto: 
Gateway to South Georgia[1]
Location of Cordele in Georgia (left) and in Crisp County, Georgia (right)
Location of Cordele in Georgia (left) and in Crisp County, Georgia (right)
Coordinates: 31°57′51″N 83°46′38″W / 31.96417°N 83.77722°W / 31.96417; -83.77722
CountryUnited States
StateGeorgia
CountyCrisp
Area
 • Total10.51 sq mi (27.21 km2)
 • Land10.42 sq mi (26.99 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.22 km2)
Elevation
315 ft (96 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total10,220
 • Density980.62/sq mi (378.61/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
31010, 31015
Area code229
FIPS code13-19616[3]
GNIS feature ID0312971[4]
Websitewww.cityofcordele.com

Cordele is a city in and the county seat of Crisp County, Georgia.[6] The population was 11,165 at the 2010 census,[7] and 10,220 in 2020.

Cordele calls itself the watermelon capital of the world.[8]

History

19th century

Cordele was incorporated on January 1, 1888,[5] and named for Cordelia Hawkins, eldest daughter of Colonel Samuel Hawkins, the president of the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway.[9]

In November 1864, the area that is now Cordele served as the temporary capital of Georgia. During the last days of the Confederacy, Georgia's war governor Joseph E. Brown used his rural farmhouse to escape the wrath of Sherman's March to the Sea. During that time, the farmhouse, which Brown called "Dooly County Place," served as the official capital for only a few days. It was replaced in 1890 by the Suwanee Hotel, located in what became downtown Cordele. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in late 1994 and was rebuilt.

Cordele was founded in 1888 by J.E.D. Shipp of Americus. The town was located at the junction of two major railroads – the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery line, and the Georgia Southern & Florida. As the railroads brought more people and business to the newly settled territory, Cordele experienced phenomenal growth. Before 1905 Cordele was located in southern Dooly County, 9 miles (14 km) from the county seat in Vienna.

20th century

With Cordele's continued progress, many in the community felt the need for a seat of government to be closer than Vienna. Crisp County was formed in 1905 by taking a portion of southern Dooly County, and Cordele became its county seat.

By 1915, Cordele was home to several industries including an ice-making plant, mills for processing cotton products into cloth and oil, a fertilizer factory, and other small manufacturing outfits.[10]

By August 1930, Cordele housed the Crisp County Hydroelectric System, the first county-owned electric system. Located on the Flint River, the hydroelectric plant continues to operate, and the resulting Lake Blackshear has attracted residents to its waterfront properties.

On April 2, 1936, a tornado struck Cordele, killing 23 people.

Geography

Cordele is located north of the center of Crisp County at 31°57′51″N 83°46′38″W / 31.96417°N 83.77722°W / 31.96417; -83.77722 (31.964178, -83.777277).[11] U.S. Route 41 passes through the city as Seventh Street and leads north 9 miles (14 km) to Vienna and south 20 miles (32 km) to Ashburn. U.S. Route 280 (16th Avenue) crosses US 41 in the center of the city and leads east 29 miles (47 km) to Abbeville and west 31 miles (50 km) to Americus. Interstate 75 passes through the east side of the city, with access from exits 99, 101, and 102, and leads 65 miles (105 km) north to Macon and 103 miles (166 km) south to the Florida state line. State Route 300 leads from the south side of the city 37 miles (60 km) southwest to Albany.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cordele has a total area of 10.2 square miles (26.5 km2), of which 10.2 square miles (26.3 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.82%, is water.[7]

Climate

Cordele has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with mild winters and hot, humid summers.

Climate data for Cordele, Georgia (1991-2020 normals, extremes 1892–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
(29)
85
(29)
90
(32)
96
(36)
100
(38)
106
(41)
104
(40)
104
(40)
101
(38)
99
(37)
89
(32)
83
(28)
106
(41)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 59.1
(15.1)
63.3
(17.4)
70.7
(21.5)
78.4
(25.8)
85.9
(29.9)
90.8
(32.7)
93.0
(33.9)
91.6
(33.1)
87.0
(30.6)
78.6
(25.9)
68.6
(20.3)
60.7
(15.9)
77.3
(25.2)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 36.5
(2.5)
39.5
(4.2)
45.6
(7.6)
53.0
(11.7)
61.7
(16.5)
69.2
(20.7)
71.7
(22.1)
70.9
(21.6)
65.6
(18.7)
54.5
(12.5)
43.8
(6.6)
38.7
(3.7)
54.2
(12.4)
Record low °F (°C) −3
(−19)
9
(−13)
15
(−9)
30
(−1)
36
(2)
45
(7)
57
(14)
56
(13)
37
(3)
27
(−3)
9
(−13)
8
(−13)
−3
(−19)
Average rainfall inches (mm) 4.67
(119)
4.33
(110)
4.88
(124)
4.39
(112)
2.98
(76)
4.86
(123)
4.54
(115)
4.09
(104)
4.54
(115)
2.61
(66)
3.20
(81)
5.04
(128)
50.13
(1,273)
Source: NOAA[12]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18901,578
19003,473120.1%
19105,88369.4%
19206,53811.1%
19306,8805.2%
19407,92915.2%
19509,46219.3%
196010,60912.1%
197010,7331.2%
198011,1844.2%
199010,321−7.7%
200011,60812.5%
201011,147−4.0%
202010,220−8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
Cordele racial composition as of 2020[14]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 2,601 25.45%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 6,816 66.69%
Native American 6 0.06%
Asian 156 1.53%
Pacific Islander 4 0.04%
Other/Mixed 304 2.97%
Hispanic or Latino 333 3.26%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,220 people, 3,874 households, and 2,453 families residing in the city.

Cordele City Commissioners

Five citizens of Cordele are elected to serve as the City Commissioners.

The current Cordele City Commissioners are: Jeanie Bartee, Wesley Rainey, Royce Reeves, Vesta Beal Shephard, and Chairman John Wiggins[15]

Representation in the Georgia State Legislature

In the Georgia State Senate, the City of Cordele is represented by Sen. Carden Summers.[16] In the Georgia House of Representatives, the City of Cordele is represented by Rep. Noel Williams Jr.

Representation in the United States House of Representatives

In the United States House of Representatives, the City of Cordele is represented by Rep. Sanford Bishop.

Georgia Veterans State Park

Boeing B-29 Superfortress exhibited at Georgia Veterans State Park

To the west of Cordele town centre and located on Route 280 is the large Georgia Veterans State Park, which lies on the eastern edge of Lake Blackshear. This facility includes campgrounds, a resort hotel, and a golf course. There are also interesting displays of preserved military aircraft and helicopters and army tanks and other fighting vehicles. These displays are open to public viewing during daylight hours [17]

Arts and culture

Cordele was featured in the eighteenth episode of the Small Town News Podcast, an improv comedy podcast that takes listeners on a fun and silly virtual trip to a small town in America each week, in which the hosts improvise scenes inspired by local newspaper stories.[18]

Annual cultural events

Cordele hosts an annual Watermelon Festival each June.[19]

Museums and other points of interest

Titan I
Titan I

In 1968 a Titan I missile was erected by the Rotary Club of Cordele at the intersection of I-75 and U.S. 280 East.[20]

Sports

Cordele is home to Crisp Motorsports Park, a 3/8-mile asphalt oval. It is home to the annual pre-season race known as SpeedFest, which is sanctioned by the Champion Racing Association (CRA) organization and run in late January. The event features a 125-lap race for the CRA Jegs All-Star Tour (crate late models) and a 200-lap race for the ARCA/CRA Super Series (super late models).

Education

Crisp County School District

The Crisp County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.[21] The district has 266 full-time teachers and over 4,337 students.[22]

Infrastructure

Major highways

The Cordele Inland Port is operated by a private company, Cordele Intermodal Services, which offers rail service via the Heart of Georgia Railroad and Georgia Central Railroad, from their rail ramp in Cordele to the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah. Two class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern pass through Cordele. Shortline Railroad, Heart of Georgia currently interchanges with CSX in downtown Cordele.

Notable people

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "City of Cordele Georgia Website". City of Cordele Georgia Website. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Cordele". Georgia Gov. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cordele city, Georgia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  8. ^ City of Cordele official website
  9. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
  10. ^ https://pubs.usgs.gov/wsp/0341/report.pdf Underground Waters of the Coastal Plain of Georgia. Stephenson, Veatch and Dole, 1915, p. 213
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Cordele City Commissioners https://www.cityofcordele.com/city-commissioners.html
  16. ^ "Georgia General Assembly".
  17. ^ Ogden, p. 221-222
  18. ^ "Small Town News".
  19. ^ "Watermelon Days Festival | Cordele, Georgia". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
  20. ^ "History of the Cordele, Georgia Missile Tourist Attraction". Archived from the original on August 10, 2006. Retrieved July 26, 2006.
  21. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  22. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  23. ^ "Buster Brown". all music. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  24. ^ "Mac Hyman (1923-1963)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  25. ^ "Joe Williams". all about jazz. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  26. ^ "Noel Williams, Jr.'s Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  27. ^ O'Neal, Erica (May 2, 2018). "House of Representatives Candidate: Noel Williams Jr". cordeledispatch.com. Retrieved March 10, 2021.