Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cedartown, Georgia

Tonight I'll put her on a train for Georgia.
Gonna be a lot of kin folks squallin' and a-grievin',
'Cause that Cedartown gal ain't breathin'.

Spooky stuff from Waylon Jennings. That's from his 1971 album, Cedartown, Georgia, and I bring it up because did I mention that I was going to be in Cedartown today?

Cedartown is the seat of Polk County in western Georgia, hard on the Alabama line. The purpose of today's trip was to visit a facility at which I've worked for a number of years, but I'm preparing to do a larger environmental clean-up, excavating several tons of contaminated soil.

Peter (with whom I had crossed Siskyou Pass last year) and I drove out to Cedartown today, ending at Wissahickon Avenue. According to our client, "Wissahickon" is the Cherokee name for "River of Many Cedars," fitting enough for Cedartown, but according to Wikipedia, "Wissahickon" is Lenape (Delaware) for "Catfish Creek" or "Stream of Yellowish Color," which sounds rather urinary.

Cedartown does not have the most glorious history. In 1838, under the direction of Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, a fortification was built at the white settlement of Big Springs for the purpose of forced internment of the Cherokee people, who were then forcibly migrated down the Trail of Tears to Indian reservations in Oklahoma. The town of Big Springs became Cedar Town in 1852, but the city was burnt to the ground by Union forces in 1865, repotedly leaving only one mill standing on the outskirts of town. The Rome Plow Company, headquartered in Cedartown, later produced jungle-clearing vehicles used during the Vietnam War, although now it produces agricultural vehicles. Waylon Jennings' 1971 murder ballad is the town's only cultural/artistic landmark.

But Cedartown's karma may have worked itself out by now. Everybody was kind and pleasant enough, and we took our client out for a nice little lunch of country fried chicken at a local, family-owned restaurant. The weather was great and all in all it was not an unpleasant day. I was back in the office before the workday was over, and will probably be back out in Cedartown, Georgia once the actual soil removal project begins.

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