Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wetumpka inhabits both shores of the Coosa River, churches and houses on the west bank and shops and government buildings on the east, connected by this concrete bridge.
The Barber Shop and Little Sam's Cafe were packed on this dreary Saturday morning in Wetumpka. I peeked into the shopfront windows and saw a much brighter scene indoors where neighbors were talking and laughing.
I found a very interesting story about Wetumpka's ambitions. A New York newspaper declared in 1836, "Wetumpka, Alabama and Chicago, Illinois are the most promising two cities in the West." In the mid-1800s, a shift in population and economic growth called for a shift to a new state capital, more centrally located than Tuscaloosa. The contenders were Wetumpka and the new settlement of Montgomery. Just prior to the election, citizens of Montgomery lured a French chef to the hotel where state representatives would stay while visiting and advertised "good eating" in Montgomery! They won the capital by a few votes. Later that year, a fire broke out in Wetumpka's business and warehouse district, adding insult to injury. Charred bricks were salvaged and sent downriver to help build to burgeoning new capital at Montgomery.